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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33311
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My wife financed the purchase and partial restoration of a

Customer Question

My wife financed the purchase and partial restoration of a classic VW camper for her late husband. He also owned a classic VW Beetle. He gifted the camper to his elder son and the beetle to his younger son in his will. However he sold the beetle to finance the completion of the camper, but did not alter his will. My wife is unsure of her claim on the vehicle as she assumed that they were joint owners of it. Six years after her husbands death the elder son is now showing an interest in the camper, whilst the younger seems to have "lucked out".

Does my wife have a claim on the camper as I understand one cannot gift an item that is jointly owned.

Many thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Who are the executors and when was Probate obtained?
Whose name is on the paperwork of the Camper?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My wife was executor and the V5C is in her name. She is out of the country until Tuesday night so not sure when probate was granted. Will confirm when I speak to her in the morning.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Was the Camper Van always in her name?
How much is it worth?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No it was in her husbands name until probate was granted in 2008. Value 6.5 k

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How did she finance the vehicles?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She inherited the money from her late father.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Are his sons also her sons?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The elder is from his previous marriage the younger is theirs.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
When she was dealing with the Will why dis she decide to ignore the bequest
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As she was joint owner of the camper she assumed sole ownership passed to her. It was always her intention to leave the vehicle to the elder son in her will. The family have used it for holidays and the elder son has had free usage of it whenever he wanted it. She has paid to tax, insure and maintain the vehicle and we replaced the engine recently as the old one was beyond economical repair.


I go back to my original question, is it correct that an item that is jointly owned becomes the property of the joint owner on the demise of one party?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
If the asset is held in joint names then yes it does pass to the survivor automatically
However in this case the Van was Registered in her Husbands name and that raises a question as to actually owned it - after all its inclusion in the Will suggests that her husband thought it was his alone
There is no simple answer to this.
Your wife may well be able to prove that she was indeed a joint owner and that her husband was not entitled to leave the van elsewhere
However the fact that she was the Executor and didi not discuss this potential conflict with her stepson could raise a question as to her behaviour.
However assuming that she can show that she paid for it and it was not a gift to her husband then all should be well
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The name on the vehicle registration document, if you read it, is the name of the keeper not proof of ownership. Every vehicle my late wife and I owned had me as the registered keeper but as the family car was jointly owned.


 


As my wife bought the camper with her own cash I would say she had at least an equal claim of ownership. It was not a gift it was for family holidays and used as such.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I do not disagree with what you say about the Registration - hence I said it raises a question - when taken together with the Will - as to ownership.
Has your wife not also been the executor then there could be no issue - as it is there is a question - no more and no less
Clare

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