CUTTING HER OUT
MY son has been separated from his wife for many years but is making no moves towards a divorce. How can I draw up my will so that any money I leave my son cannot at some future date be claimed by my daughter-in-law? THIS is a common problem for parents with divorce on the increase. You must persuade your son to seek professional advice and preferably obtain a divorce and a clean break settlement. As things stand, even if you both make wills specifically excluding your daughter-in-law, she could still make a claim on the amount your son receives if they are not divorced at the date he inherits. You could consider setting up a trust but these have to be administered properly and can be expensive, so you would need to seek specialist advice to make sure it was worthwhile.
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
I’M 79 and decided to sell my house and move into retirement apartments. I was asked to pay a deposit to reserve one of these apartments, but when I read the form later it seems the reservation lasts only until the end of July. If my house isn’t sold by then I stand to lose £250 of my deposit and by September I’ll have lost the lot! OBVIOUSLY the builders of the apartments can’t be expected to wait for ever for prospective purchasers to sign up. They’ve set the ‘booking fee’ at a level which is affordable but will make people wanting to buy hurry up! You could take out a bridging loan, but if your house is slow to sell the interest on the loan could outstrip the amount you will lose by forfeiting your deposit. I’d strongly advise against exchanging contracts for your purchase until your house sells.
LENDERS WON’T LET GO
I WAS divorced last year and my ex-wife took over the house and the mortgage payments. Unfortunately the property is still worth less than the mortgage, and the bank won’t agree to transfer the house into my ex-wife’s sole name. This means I can’t get a mortgage to buy a house of my own. THE bank won’t agree to offer a mortgage to your ex-wife while the property is in negative equity. This is likely to remain the case until such time as the value of the house increases or the balance outstanding on the mortgage reduces, which could occur if your ex-wife has capital with which to pay some of it off. If the house were to be sold then the bank would pursue either or both of you for any shortfall. You need to ensure your ex-wife pays the mortgage each month as otherwise you can be pursued for any arrears too.
A HOUSE opposite mine has been boarded up for over five years. I was wondering if it was possible to have it compulsorily purchased, or make it subject to an Empty Dwelling Management Order. I’m looking to sell my house and the boarded-up property is affecting the value of mine. DISCUSS this with your local councillor and also with the council department dealing with empty properties - 0161 234 5004. The council can help an owner sell an unwanted property, or arrange with a not-for-profit landlord, such as a housing association, to buy it, bring it up to standard and rent it out. Compulsory purchase is also an option. These days you can petition the council to bring about changes to your area, so if you can get everyone in the street involved, your petition may carry more weight. If the council contacts the owner of the house about his plans for it, it might at least prompt him into action.