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Deceased parent

#1
Evening guys,

A guy I know recently lost his mother who was his only parent, inheriting her entire estate as a result. Before her death she ordered a conservatory and signed a contract for the work to be done. The conservatory has been built, not delivered or erected, but the company concerned is chasing my friend for the remaining money.

I don't know what deposit was paid, how much is outstanding or what they plan to do with the conservatory, but what is the law regarding this?

Trying to find some good news for the poor soul.

Cheers,

FBG.
 
#3
That is my thought exactly.

Does the vendor have a legal right to the outstanding amount, or are they trying their luck?

Anyone got a definite answer?

FBG
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
Alright this is from a quick google

They file a claim against the estate in probate court with proof of the debt.
I only know this from aspects of my work, they can claim the build costs but not the fitting.

(no end of old folk die before you can finish their dentures!)

Also a wee mention of media involvement (Cruel builder try to make dead mum pay for conservatory they never put up type headline)
 
#9
Is it not the case that the executor of the mother sorts out creditors before the estate is handed over to him, after all why should the windows firm take the loss?
 
#11
The contract would appear legal unless at the time of the agreement it could be proved (to a degree) that she was not of sound mind. Otherwise if the contract is broken then the company could take the 'estate' to court (and I believe they would win). The death does not of itself void any contract (IMHO). It would be advisable to seek legal advice should you wish to try and break this contract.
 
#16
The contract would appear legal unless at the time of the agreement it could be proved (to a degree) that she was not of sound mind. Otherwise if the contract is broken then the company could take the 'estate' to court (and I believe they would win). The death does not of itself void any contract (IMHO). It would be advisable to seek legal advice should you wish to try and break this contract.
It would really depend on the details of the contract and on what has already been paid as a deposit and any interim claims the company has put in. Its highly unlikely the contract was to build the thing and not fit it. They would if they have any sense have something in the contract to deal with cancellation after the build but before the installation, as thats whats basically happening.

If thats what the deposit is for and the deposits been paid then happy days. If same but deposit not paid in full then pay the deposit balance and tell them to do one. If the purchaser is liable for the total cost of the build in the event of cancellation then you dont really have a choice other than to pay that.

If they have nothing in the contract to cover cancellation after build but before delivery then tell them to ram it. You could also go down the route of either entering negotiaitions to pay a reduced amount and cover their overheads or argue that the contracts not complete until the work is finished, ie built and installed.

Short version is that the devils in the detail, but the contractor should be happy with not making a loss and avoiding a long legal process so will probably be open to negotiation.
 
#18
If you look at it from the contractors point of view, a product has been built and the materials have been paid for by them. The conservatory is worthless to him now in its present state. Morally is it right to let a firm suffer for something that is not their fault? Let them complete the job, pay them the agreed amount less deposit paid and increase the value of your inheritance. Would you like it if the circumstances were the other way round? As ex serv and now upvc fitter feel free to pm if need be.


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#20
What happened to frustration of the contract due to death? Has contract law changed that much in the last 20 years?

I've just fished this off t'interweb which suggests there might be no liability. How long before her death was the item completed? had they approached her about installation after the kit had been built? I think there isn't a liability but ymmv.


Contract - Frustration
The legal effects of frustration

    • At common law: the contract is automatically brought to an end at the time of the frustrating event.

    • The relevant statute is the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943. It only applies where there’s no express provision in the contract for what happens if it’s frustrated. The key provisions are:

      • If some sort of pre-payment or deposit has been made, the buyer can get that pre-payment back, minus any expenses incurred by the seller.

  • If the contract has already been partly performed, it’s a bit more complicated. You have to pay for any benefit you’ve already received. Suppose the contract is for a complete garden makeover, and at the time of the frustrating event, the contractor has already installed a swimming pool in your garden. You have to compensate the gardener for the expenses he’s incurred in installing your pool.
 

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