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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7432
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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After my Dad died my Mum remarried and she and my Stepfather

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After my Dad died my Mum remarried and she and my Stepfather now live in her house. She has a will leaving the house to me, my sister and brother. She has now said that she wants to change the will so our stepfather would be allowed to live there indefinitely after her death, if she died first. He does however still own a property which was rented out, but his son has just moved into it. I do think that it would be insensitive of us to ask my stepfather to leave if this happened, but had always hoped that he would maybe feel better moving back to his own house or selling it and buying something more suitable. This would then allow us to sell my Mum's house, without having to wait for him to die; which seems all wrong, but we don't have the same feelings for him and would be practically wishing him dead to get our inheritance. How best should I advise my Mum.

What would your stepfather's thoughts on moving back to his property be?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He hasn't told us, I think it has been discussed between him and my Mum, but I know they avoid the issue. However, now that his son has moved into his house, it isn't an option as it was before and it will also makes it more difficult for him to sell it. His son is a single man in his late thirties and I don't think that my stepfather would like to move in with him. It seems that as a result of this latest development my Mum has been thinking more about him being able to stay on in her house.



Thanks for your reply.


The starting point is that it is obviously your mother's choice as to what she directs in her Will. You must be careful to avoid any acts that may be construed as coercion as this could complicate things and possibly invalidate any replacement Will she makes.


You can explain the consequence of her decision to her and make her aware of your concerns and how it shall impact upon you and your brother, but I would stop well short of suggesting what she might otherwise like to do to take account of your position.

If she does not wish to change her Will there is little you can do about I'm afraid.


The alternative is to reason with the stepfather and hope that he is amenable to some alternative arrangement once your mother has passed.

Sorry it could not be better news .


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Kind regards,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This doesn't really help me any more than I already know. I appreciate it is a difficult situation that many more people than myself find themselves in as a result of not discussing it beforehand. I was however hoping there was some clause that could be put into place as an alternative to my Mum allowing him to live there indefinitely. He would be inheriting some money and could have his house or the proceeds of it to sort himself, given a very reasonable amount of time to do this. The house that they share is afterall a large house for one person on their own anyway.

You can discuss it with your mother and explain that there are more options than the one she has selected but, as I say, it is ultimately her choice, not yours.


Those clauses can be drafted to take account of cohabitation, so if your stepfather started cohabiting or remarried then his life interest would cease and the house would then pass to you.


You can suggest that she may wish to consider giving him a percentage share of the residuary estate rather than a life interest in the property which would delay your practical inheritance. This would allow him to rehouse himself.


The most you can do is make sure she is aware of how her choices will impact you and your family and make her aware of the alternative available options together with suggesting that she speak with her husband to see what his position is, I'm sorry there isn't more that can be done than that.


I appreciate it is frustrating.


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