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JustAnswerKM, Solicitor
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Experience:  Court of Protection, civil litigation, divorce and inheritance
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I have a question regarding my mum who will be 70 this june.

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Hi I have a question regarding my mum who will be 70 this june. she has been living seperate from my father for 30 years or so. She has received a letter from a solicitor who is acting on my father's behalf stating that she is the joint owner of the property he is living in. My mum wasn't aware of that and she didn't sign any papers when the house was bought as she was not in u.k.
My mum receives pension credit and also state pension, she claimed for the housing and incapacity benefits when she came to U.K. If she doesn't sign the property papers and the case goes to court can the court force her to attend and what will be the consequences for her if she doesn't attend? Will it affect her pension credit?
Many Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 1 year ago.
Good morning Thank you for your message. I will do my best to help. When you refer to the case going into Court, do you mean if the Council or DWP take her to Court for receiving benefits without disclosing details of the property? Firstly, to answer your first question, if your mother fails to attend a hearing, the Judge may grant what's called a 'default judgment' in the Claimant's favour. Essentially this means the judge may make judgement in your mother's absence. A County Court Judgment (CCJ) will be registered which will affect her credit rating. I would suggest, if your mother cannot make a hearing, that you instruct a legal representative to go on her behalf, to ensure a default judgment is not ordered. According to the information you have given me, your mother's benefits can only affected if the level of income she receives changes or she is in receipt of liquid money. I'm guessing she has not received income from the property or proceeds of sale therefore her level of income is unchanged. Your mother's circumstances have not changed so her benefits are not affected at this time. I would suggest that, you make the DWP or local authority in charge of your mother's benefits, aware of this property ownership. It helps disclosing this information as soon as possible and advise them of the steps you and your mother are taking to rectify the issue. I hope that helps. Best luck Kind regards Krystel
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi KrystelThank you for your response. My mum was not even aware of the property so she is not interested in what happens to it and the money. Why are mother's signature required at this time when she didn't have anything to do with the house, she didn't even live in it or knew she was the joint owner. Can she or her representative state that in the court? In terms of her credit rating getting affected how will it impact her as she does't have a credit card,mortgage and any loans. She only has a current account where her pension credit is paid into.
If they have been living seperate for more than 30 years is she still legally married?Thanks
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon Thank you for that information. I appreciate that your mother does not want anything to do with the house but unfortunately as the paper work stands (with the Land Registry), she is registered as a joint owner therefore changes need to be made. I also appreciate that your mother does not want to sign anything and incriminate herself (i.e. by signing the paperwork agreeing to transfer her share back to your father would be admitting to the fact she was a legal owner). Have a word with your father's Solicitors and explain that your mother does not want anything to do with the property but for the sake of logisitics and to avoid conflict, your mother will agree to the amendments on the provision that a document is placed on record stating those points. Consider having something in writing and on record that states that your mother is agreeing to sign the papers so that your father is the sole owner of the property. It must mention that your mother was not privy to the contract when the property was first bought and most definitely did not sign any papers at the time or anytime thereafter. That way with this document on record, if the case was to go to Court, it is evidence that your mother was not aware of the property, but agreed to the amendments by signing the papers/transfer to show your father as sole owner. You could have what's called a 'statutory declaration' drafted up stating those points mentioned. You will need a Solicitor to draft it. It's a bit more official than just a statement but it's entirely up to your mother how she wants to do it. In regards ***** ***** credit rating issue, only if she applies for credit will the CCJ show up. Please bear in mind if a default judgement is ordered against your mother and she does not attend, costs against her may be awarded which means she could end up paying any costs incurred by the Claimant for making the claim. In defense, yes your mother or the representative can state that she was not aware she was a joint owner and present evidence to support her stance. Yes, your parents are still legally married. Being separate for over 30 years is a strong ground for divorce so if you mother wishes to apply (even without your father's consent) she can do so. Please let me know if you need anything clarified further. Kind regards Krystel
Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 1 year ago.
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JustAnswerKM, Solicitor
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Experience: Court of Protection, civil litigation, divorce and inheritance
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Expert:  JustAnswerKM replied 1 year ago.
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