Property destroyed by Fire


My clent was bequeathed a property in 1990 on the death of his father.

The will stated he was 'directed to allow his mother and his sister to reside in the property as long as they lived".

His mother died the following year in 1991.

He received the house in a decrepit state of repair.

He took in his sister to live with him and repaired the house, in addition to effecting extensive upgrades over the period of time. He rented the property and shared the proceeds of same with his sister.

His sister returned to live at an apartment at the house in 2002, and the rest of the property was occupied by tenants. He continued to utilise all the proceeds of the house to maintain the premises and share the proceeds with his sister.

He did further upgrades the the house at his own expense and insured the property for the new appreciated value.

In 2011, the house was completely destroyed by fire.

The insurance company however, paid him only 35% of the insured amount claiming the that foundation, steps and pillars could have been reused in rebuilding the replacement unit.

He chose instead to mortgage his home, demolish the entire structure and replace it with a block of four (4) townhouses.

His sister is now suing him for a. a share of the insurance proceeds (she made no contribution to that instalments over the period) and also to take possession of one of the townhouses.

How do I advise him?

Richard Small