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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11436
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Our stepmother has been left life rent of the house and contents

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Our stepmother has been left life rent of the house and contents in our father's will. My sister is the fiar. Our step mother has denied any access to the house since just after my father's will became clear (5 months agao). He died on the 27th September 2012. Since our father's funeral she refuses to speak or meet with my sister to discuss anything and has returned some random contents of her own choosing, dumped in bin bags in a damaged state in a fit of temper. The last time my sister asked to be allowed into the house she pushed her off the steps. Our step mother has recently admitted to the executor that she has disposed of our father's things and also items belonging to my sister which were in the house again in a fit of bad temper.

Is there any right of redress or compensation for what has been disposed of and how can the life rent proceed when the renter is so malinclined towards the fiar and the contents of the house?
Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately the fiar is not entitled to access to the house whilst the liferent is in operation. The liferenter is entitled to occupy the house and make use of the contents.

However the liferenter has to keep the subjects of the liferent in reasonable order and is accountable to the fiar. Accordingly she would be liable to pay damages for anything disposed of or negligently cared for.

Any property which is neither hers nor the subject of the liferent should be handed over. If she doesn't an action of delivery of these items can be raised with a crave for damages representing the value of the items in question.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your answer regarding the missing /damaged contents that part of the answer was most helpful. However, I'm not sure the life rent has actually started yet as the contents and terms of the life rent have yet to be agreed and there's been no formal acceptance that our step mother wishes to benefit from the life rent despite being asked by the executor - she refuses to answer but continues to stay in the house. So perhaps a better worded question is, if the potential renter is refusing to meet with or speak to the fiar in order to negotiate the terms of the life rent can it still proceed?

The liferent started on the death of your father. It doesn't have to be accepted in any formal sense as it arises by virtue of the will.
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