Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
Normally, spouses would hold any jointly owned property as what is called "joint tenants", which means that upon the first spouse dying, their share in the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse. Therefore, if your parents held the proeprty as Joint tenants, your Mother's share would have passed automatically to your Father upon her death, meaning that the property then became his and his alone.
You would need to instruct a local Solicitor to ascertain if the above was the case, but my feeling is that your parents probably did hold the property as joint tenants. If they did not, then they would have held it as "tenants in common" which means they both hold a separate 50% share in the property, which share they can leave to whoever they like in their Will, or if they did not leave a Will, their share would pass to their next of kin (in your Mother's case, her next of kin would have been your Father). Hence, it is more than likely that your Mother's share would have passed to your Father in this scenario also, unless she had made a Will leaving her share to you children for example. If so, then her half share would have legally belonged to you children upon her death.
I am guessing that especially as your sister is a Solicitor, that the whole of the property belonged to your Father at the time he transferred it.
On the basis that your Father owned the whole of th eproperty following your Mother's death, the property was his to do with as he so wished. He was therefore entitled to transfer it to whoever he wished, whether that be a relative or indeed he could have sold it and passed all the money to Charity, if indeed he had wanted to.
Whenever a party transfers a property, they must be advised of any pitfalls by their own Solicitor, who is under a duty to advise the client of the implications of such a Transfer. Transfers to relatives can of course cause family upset and for this reason, we Solicitors have to make sure our client fully uinderstands the nature of what he is doing, and also that no third party has exerted undue pressure on him to execute the Transfer. Your sister, being a Solicitor, would no doubt have made sure that your Father received independent legal advice before proceeding with signing the Transfer.
The only grounds you therefore have to dispute the Transfer is if you have evidence that your sister exerted undue influence on your Father to transfer the property to her son. This is going to be quite hard for you to prove, bearing in mind no doubt a Solicitor dealt with the Transfer on behalf of your Father.
I hope this assists you and sets out the legal position you find yourself in.
My father never received any independent advice and it is very clear that my sister used her undue influence to transfer at a very low value to her son.
Has she commited any crime for transfering at below market value.
Thanks for your reply.
Your sister has not committed any crime in "making sure" the property was transferred at an undervalue. If your Father had wished, he could have gifted the property to your sister's son, without any monies changing hands, if he had wanted to.
The issue, therefore, is whether or not your sister is guilty of undue influence. As I have mentioned in my first answer, this may be very hard for you to prove.
What step can we take to ensure that my sister has used undue influence. What do we do now, who do we contact, what is the next stage.
Would it be to contact a local solicitor and take the matter to court??
What is the cost approx in this type of situation?
Would it be appropriate if I informed the law society regarding my sister's professional conduct.
You would need to instruct a local Solicitor with a view to taking the matter to Court.
If you discuss matters at length with him, he will e able to advise you as to your case.
before any proceedings are issued, it would be normal fo ryour Solicitor to write to your sister/her son advising of such Court action.
I wouldn't advise contacting the Law Soc at this stage- discuss matters with your Solicitor first.
Sorry for asking few more questions.
My father at present is abroad, if he send me a power of attorney to deal with this matter and says he never transfered the property, will this suffice for me to take matter further and get the property back in his name, or will there be complications now.?
Your Father will need to take action himself, I'm afraid. Any Solicitor would not be prepared to liaise with you, as his Attorney, in instances of this kind, as it will be your Father's evidence that is crucial.
All the Best
It just come to light my father was not even aware that the house had been transfered to some one else.
Would my father still need to go to court or can he notify land regisrty to change it back to his name.
What can my sister or her son do to cause delay or problem now or later after my father death.
Can we take any action now to stop her in the future.
Thanks for your note.
Your father should therefore speak with a local Conveyancing Solicitor, who in turn will contact the Land Registry with a view to setting aside the Transfer, on the basis that the Transfer was a fraudulent transaction. It is then a matter for the Land Registry to consider and for them alone, so your sister can't possibly do anything to slow down the investigation.