Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Am I correct to understand that you lived at the property at the time you made the payments please?
If so when did you move out? What was agreed regarding your investment in the property both at the time you made it and at the time you moved out?
I was living at the property at the time. I withdrew from my savings account at the Halifax. The cheque I believe was made out to my ex-partners father. When the solicitor drew up a contract it stated that when both parents died the property would go to my ex-partner and his sister. I am trying to find out if I have any right to claim back what I paid without having my name on any legal document. The cheque I think would have gone to the solicitor making up the contract. Now I am no longer with my partner and have two children by him I am wondering if they could get the contribution I made. Not sure how I would go about getting proof as this was quite a few years ago. Would the solicitor still have records. I want to see if it is worth pursing.
You refer to a contract. I appreciate it was a long time ago but do you recall signing this contract?
When did you move out of the property?
I did not sign anything. I think we moved out in 1988. My partner and I.
Thank you. Finally do you recall why you did not ask to be placed on the title deeds at the time of your contribution? Did you expect anything in return for your payment at the time do you recall? e.g. did you expect to buy a share of the house or anything like that? I apreciate it was a long time ago.
I thought I would always be with my partner and would receive half the house when his parents passed away. His mum is still alive but me and my partner divorced.
The starting point in respect of the money you paid is that this does not amount to a gift and the money remains yours and therefore you own a share of the property commensurate with your investment at the time. if other parties can produce evidence that shows this was not your intention but it was in fact your intention to make a gift of the money then they can rebut this presumption but the important point is that the presumption is that the money was not a gift and the burden of proof is upon third parties to show otherwise if this is their view.
You mention reference to a contract though based on your memory, you do not recall signing that contract. If you have signed a deed or contract that provided that the money you are paying was a gift or something other than an investment, this could be prejudicial to claim for a share in the property but, again, as above, the above is the presumption in the absence of evidence to the contrary
Accordingly, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, as discussed above, the starting point is that you will have a financial interest in the property commensurate with your investment. There is however a further potential hurdle which may or may not be relevant. The property is still owned by one or both of the same parties then this is less likely to be an issue but if the property has been sold more than six years ago, you may not be able to pursue a claim. This would be because selling the property and transferring the proceeds to parties other than yourself may amount to a breach of trust and you only have six years to claim for breach of trust from the point it occurred. As above, if the property is still owned by one or both of the same parties then this is less likely to be an issue but given the extreme passage of time, if you intend to make a claim against the property, at this stage, the sooner you act the more likely you are to meet with success. In particular, you will need to be able to show evidence of your payment in order to establish your interest
Can I help you with anything else on the above or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?
Thank you. Do you know how I can provide proof of the cheque payment. Would I need to contact the solicitors that was acting back then. Would the bank be able to trace my cheque that was issued from my savings account at the time if I contacted them?
You would need to consider contacting your bank though they may no longer have records.
Alternatively you may contact the solicitors who may still have deeds or documents relating to the transaction.
Finally if all else fails, and you do not have your own records, you may need to rely on witness statements on the matter from family or friends that have knowledge.
Ideally you would be able to track down documentary evidence of your payment rather than having to rely on witness statements but witness statements can be a safety net to fall back on in tandem with your own statement if documentary evidence is impossible to produce given the amount of time that has elapsed.
Is there anything else I can help you with?