Legal disputes between family members can turn ugly pretty fast, and two siblings who fell out over a family home have learned this the hard way after getting caught in a row so bitter one sibling has been forced to pay the other over a quarter of a million dollars.
Virginia Woolf, from Auckland, New Zealand, has been ordered to pay her brother Alwyn Kaye NZ$273,000 (AU$249,000) and move out of the $2 million home she has occupied for 36 years, following a nasty feud between the pair, stuff.co.nz reported.
The siblings, who are both in their 60s, took their fight to the courts after Woolf claimed the house was purchased as a family project by her parents, herself and Kaye.
The court heard Kaye agreed to buy the three-bedroom property in November 1981 for $89,500, before moving to Canada in July 1982, but unbeknownst to his sister, his name was the only one on the property title.
According to Stuff.co.nz, Woolf moved into the property in 1982 with two flatmates, who paid $45 each, while she paid $55, which she claimed led to her fair share equity interest in the property.
By 1988, Kaye had paid off the mortgage on the property and Woolf ceased having flatmates and making “rental” payments herself.
Kaye claimed his sister had been living alone in the property and “rent free for 30 years”.
In August 2006, after their mother died, Woolf lodged a caveat on the title of the property claiming a beneficial interest. In August 2014, their father died and Woolf was appointed executor under her father’s will.
The sister claimed she and her father’s estate were co-owners of the property and had a combined interest of at least 50 per cent and wanted the property to be sold. However, there was no mention of the property in the father’s will and Kaye refused her claim saying there was no family agreement to purchase the property and that it was always his.
In the end, the High Court in Auckland sided with Kaye and ordered Woolf to pay her brother $273,165.01, and vacate the house within two months of the judgement.
Property disputes between brothers and sisters can get messy pretty quick and it’s not the first time they’ve made headlines. In August two American expat brothers living together on the New South Wales north coast were caught in a row so ugly one sibling demanded the other to be sent back to the United States.
Brothers Larry and Carl Halquist live together in the home their late mother left them in Sapphire Beach, near Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. However, Carl, who was made executor of their mother’s estate, wants to sell, while Larry is vowing to stay put. As a result, he’s now calling for Carl to be deported back to the States.