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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10458
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My father and step mother used to own their house jointly.

Resolved Question:

My father and step mother used to own their house jointly. Last year, father moved into a care home. Step mother arranged for the title of the house to be transferred to her solely in October 2014. It is not clear that father knew what he was signing. She died 2 weeks ago and father is left with no assets but a small fund to cover care costs.
Are there any grounds for contesting the transfer?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. You can contest this transfer on two grounds. Firstly, if your father did not know what he was signing he can contest the transfer on the basis of a lack of legal capacity to sign the transfer. secondly, as there was no money value or consideration give for his transfer of his half interest, it is a voluntary transfer in law and can be set aside at the option of your father. However, in either situation, your father will only be put back into the position her was in before the transfer took place. Namely, with a half share interest in the house. However, this will ensure that there is some money available for his care. I would advise you to see a solicitor with him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for this advice.

You say that my father could get back to a position of having a half share in the house. This would be great. Would that mean that, if the ownership of the house prior to the transfer was as joint tenants, he would be in a position to automatically inherit the other half share?

Regards

Kate

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
2. Dear Kate, No, I regret to say that your father would not be made absolute owner of the property, whether on the basis of some assumed joint tenancy or otherwise. Essentially, the actions of your stepmother essentially severed any joint tenancy for all time, if one existed. So your father will not be given full ownership. Only half, I regret to say.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi

Thanks.

Does that still hold in the event of your first option "if your father did not know what he was signing he can contest the transfer on the basis of a lack of legal capacity to sign the transfer"?

Cheers

Kate

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
3. Yes, this still holds true even if your father did not know what he was signing. Essentially, a joint tenancy is severed any time one part evinces a unilateral intention to treat ownership as separate. Here your stepmother was bringing any joint tenancy to an end. A court will not remake reality to favour your father and give him everything.
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10458
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
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