Two adult brothers have failed in their attempt to be given a share of their deceased father’s estate after being left out of his will. The High Court ruled that it was clear that the father had made provision for them while he was alive and did not want them to receive anything further. The
Co-ownership disputes arise where two or more co-owners of a property cannot agree on either (a) when a property should be sold, or (b) who is entitled to what share of the proceeds of sale. In some circumstances, co-owners are unable to agree on either of these issues!
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Often co-ownership disputes arise when an unmarried couple purchase a property in their joint names and later separate, or where co-investors purchase a property in joint names (for example an investment between two siblings) and one wants to realise the investment earlier than the other.
Disputes also arise where a property is purchased in one individual’s sole name, but someone else believes they are entitled to a share in the property by virtue of an agreement between them or because they contributed to its purchase.
These cases are known as “TOLATA” cases. “TOLATA” refers to the Act that governs this area of law (the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996).
When the Court is faced with a TOLATA case and is deciding what order to make, it will consider a variety of factors including what the parties intentions were when they purchased the property, the purpose of the joint ownership, the welfare of any minor who occupies the property, and the interests of any mortgage company if there is a mortgage.
Our recent experience includes:-
- Acting in a claim for a share in a property purchased in joint names over 30 years ago;
- Advising in a TOLATA dispute that involved complex issues involving bankruptcy;
- Acting in a TOLATA claim which involved working closely with the Family Law team to make a Schedule 1 Children Act application; and
- Acting in a dispute with his brother over various investment properties purchased over 20 years ago.
If you find yourself in a co-ownership dispute, we can provide clear and practical advice about your options, details about the court process if proceedings become necessary, and advice about the likely outcome. We understand that often these disputes arise following a relationship breakdown, whether that be a romantic, familial or business relationship, and we are sensitive to the emotional issues that may be involved. We also work closely with our experienced Family Law team if there are peripheral issues regarding child contact or maintenance that need to be resolved.
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