Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you are married please or have any children together?
I apologise for the delay in reverting to you. Unfortunately I had to step into a long meeting and 9 o'clock and have only just returned to the office. I would be delighted to continue to assist if you are content for me to do so?
from what you say, you purchased his property from him and he subsequent the transferred at least some of that money to your account to enable you to purchase the property in Spain. Was anything agreed and if so written down as to whether the money that he transferred to you for the purchase of the property in Spain was a gift or loan or was nothing of that nature discussed?
Thanks. Because you are not married and have no children then the position is that in the event you decide to split up each of you are only entitled to what you own personally and neither has a claim on the others property.
In English law if one person gives another property - for example transfers money into anothers bank, or transfers a house into anothers name without payment - there is no presumption that transfer is a gift. Rather there is a presumption that the arrangement is a loan or in the case of a property that the property is held on trust for the person giving it.
Accordingly the position here from what you say would appear to be that if you purchased his house for market value then his house would naturally belong to you. If he then gave you money to buy a house in Spain this would in English law at least be considered to be held on trust for him although I believe I am correct to say that Spain does not provide for trusts though it will recognise foreign trusts. However even if it is accepted that he was entitled to the Spanish property because you used the money he gave you from his house sale to purchase it, from what you say you gave him £45K to buy a truck and put down the deposit on his house which you subsequently bought. Again unless you gave him this money expressly as a gift it would be considered a loan and he would owe you this back. This could be offset agaisnt any interest you accept he may have in the Spanish house which would presumably go some way to cancel each other out depending upon the cost of the Spanish property.
Could you confirm if you are now domiciled in Spain or still in the UK?
What was the approximate cost of the villa and how much did he transfer to your account towards the price of the villa?
How much roughly did you transfer out of the joint account in Spain into your account and how much of this money originally came from him?
Thanks. Do you want to keep the villa or have you given consideration to selling the same?
As discussed above the position for unmarried couples is relatively straightforward in the UK (although many do not consider it to be fair) in that each party is entitled to what they own or can show the own back and neither has a claim on the others property. Based on what you say net of repayments to you of the money you loaned for the truck and deposit for his house he may be entitled to some of the equity in the Spanish villa (i.e. £90K less return of your £45K less mortgage payments you have made to the villa). You are entitled to be given credit for mortgage payments you have made in respect of the villa.He would not based on what you say be entitled to the villa absolutely unless he is able to buy out your share and even then from what you say he cannot take a transfer of the villa due to his circumstances and you would presumably not want to have any form of linked financial affairs going forward. As to how to proceed, in a sense it is for him to bring a claim against you rather than vice versa as it is he that is seeking monies from you. Therefore you could consider at present doing nothing. You could if you felt able to do so consider using his tax position as leverage - i.e. if he were to bring a claim against you you would feel obligated to raise the issue of his potential tax evasion as part of the claim process. This may dissuade him from proceeding with a claim against you as depending upon his actions longterm tax evasion could result in criminal penalties and certainly civil recovery for unpaid taxes and penalties which could cost him dear in terms of his inheritance. However you may or may not feel able to pursue this approach.
Otherwise if he is entitled to some of the equity in the villla net of your various entitlements which on the face of the above would appear to be likely albeit you are as discussed above entitled to credit for your payments towards the mortgage and outgoings if you have both had use of the property then if he cannot buy out your share you may have to give consideration to selling the same in order to pay him such equity. However he is not entitled to a better position than you. You are entitled to claim monies for all payments you have made to him and the villa as above.
It may however be that you can consider using his rather vunerable position regarding his taxation affairs with HMRC to your advantage in seeking to stall or dissuade him from making a claim against you if you felt able to adopt this approach.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
You can make a report anonymously to HMRC however as above it may be that you may wish to consider using this as leverage to attempt to dissaude him from making a claim against you in the first instance. You can make an anonymous report online or by phone. HMRC will not reveal that you have done so and you do not even have to give you name
If you are concerned about your safety it is possible for you to apply for a non-molestation order which is an order preventing him from contact with you though you would need evidence of violence or intimidation or the like to obtain such an order.
If considering the above approach re tax office, just be careful how you frame what you say. You would consider saying if he proceeds with a claim you would be forced to raise concerns you have regarding his tax affairs to ensure that the claim is dealt with based on your respective circumstances as you would be concerned if there was a later question regarding his tax affairs by HMRC which may impact upon you or words to this effect. You would want to avoid any suggestion of blackmail which the above approach would preclude
Is there anything else I can help you with?
A pleasure. I hope youa re able to resolve the matter without the need for court proceedings.
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