New Year’s Resolution…

9 January, 2015
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy new year!

If you are looking for a new year’s resolution why not take this as an opportunity to assess your estate and prepare it for any eventuality. By this I mean starting to think about how your estate will pass following your death or who really owns your property.

On this latter point, the very recent case of O’Kelly v Davies [2014] highlights that the way in which a property is registered does not necessarily determine who is the owner of that property. In this case, a husband and wife owned two properties. Whilst they both intended to have an interest in both properties, they had transferred both properties into the wife’s name to fraudulently claim benefits. Following a dispute between the parties over the properties the Court found that the husband had an equal interest in the properties with his wife, not because the transfer of the properties was unlawful but because it was their common intention to both benefit from the properties. The conduct itself gave rise to a constructive trust.

I recently published an article on this legal principle in the Kent and Sussex Courier, in which I highlight a few common examples where a property is registered in the name of one person but, in the eyes of the law, is actually owned or partly owned by someone else. If you would like a copy of this article please contact my colleague Dino Sikkel at dino.sikkel@crippspg.co.uk.