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NSW Can Executor of Will Refuse Improvements Made on House?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Alexander_Descartes, 1 July 2016.

  1. Alexander_Descartes

    Alexander_Descartes Active Member

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    I was in a de facto relationship with a lady for 6 years. We had no children. She died in 2011 and left me a life tenancy in her house. I was also appointed as an executor of the deceased estate. The brother of my de facto was also appointed as an executor of will.

    Apart from the house, the remaining assets were distributed between her sisters, her brother, her mother and me. On my death, the house is sold and the proceeds go to the principal beneficiaries or their heirs if they are deceased.

    I wish to make some improvements to the house - specifically a carport. This will increase the value of the house by about $50,000. Can the other executor refuse to allow this improvement to go ahead?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alexander,

    It depends what type of life tenancy is given to you by the will - which will be determined based on the terms of the will. If it is simply a residential tenancy agreement that is for the term of your life - and it has the normal terms of a lease and whereby the owners act as landlords and are paid rent - then you may need permission to make changes to the house.

    Alternatively, the life tenancy may be such that you have full possession of the property, you do not pay rent and are entitled to let the property and collect rent if you wish. In these cases, the owners do not act as a landlord but rather a remainderman - or someone who is simply entitled to possession of the property when you die.

    This will determine your rights.
     
  3. Alexander_Descartes

    Alexander_Descartes Active Member

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    Edit to my original question: The carport will be built at my expense entirely. There will be no expenses incurred by any other parties.
     
  4. Alexander_Descartes

    Alexander_Descartes Active Member

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    Hi Sophea, no I don't pay any rent. Not only that, under the terms of the will, I can actually reside somewhere else and lease the house out. I presume that means I can go ahead without the formal approval of the other executor?
     
  5. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    I can't say "yes - you don't require formal approval from the other executor", because I don't know all the circumstances. All I'm saying is that the law recognises two types of life tenancies which both have general rights that attach to them - as explained above. This site has more info: Life tenants | Tenants' rights manual: a practical guide to renting in NSW, 4th edition

    What you are entitled to really depends on whether any terms of your life tenancy are spelled out in any document such as the will or otherwise. In the absence of any specific terms, if you want to make sure that what you are doing is okay i would seek specialised legal advice from a lawyer.
     
  6. Alexander_Descartes

    Alexander_Descartes Active Member

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    ok, thanks.
     

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