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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2848
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My Father purchased a property on a mortgage in 1963 which was fully paid off 25 years ago

Customer Question

My Father purchased a property on a mortgage in 1963 which was fully paid off 25 years ago. My mother and Father acrimoniously divorced but my mother carried on living in the house. My Father died Intestate in 2004. I am the eldest of 2 brothers from the marriage. We had assumed that mother owns house, but Land registry shows no records. We suspect Father had deeds but destroyed them after divorce. What now ? Does house belong to me and my brother ? How do we proceed to regularise situation so house can be sold ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required:-Was the divorce finalised (was Decree Absolute granted) and when did this take place?-Have you checked the land registry title to see whose name the property is in?-Did they reach a financial settlement which was approved by the court as part of the divorce?
Harris and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Degree Absolute 31/12/1986
Nothing on Land Registry for property currently occupied by Mum.
No other info - mum has dementia and I have POA - no papers exist at property or existed when Dad died without making a will on 13/08/2004. I cleared his council flat.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Did your father remarry after the divorce?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. In the event that there was no financial settlement transferring the property to your mother, which would appear to be the case as if they divorced in 1986, the settlement would be around that time and implementation of a transfer of the property will be reflected on the land registry. As he has died intestate with no spouse, his estate will be divided equally between his surviving children, ie. you and your brother if you have no other siblings. If you have any siblings that have passed away, their children will also inherit under intestacy rules.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I know all this thanks. The question is what do I and my Brother need to do now to regularise the situation so if we need to sell the house we have proper title to do so ?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Who was the administrator of his estate when he passed away?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
me
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - as administrator, and as long as you have the letters of administration you will be able to deal with the selling of the property and there is no need to have your name on the title to do this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I have the probate office letter that states that my Father died Intestate and that I have been granted the the role of administrator of his estate. This whole matter has come to a head due to my Mums worsening condition and her maybe needing long term specialist care. If the house was hers it would need to be sold to fund this. If it is ours, and has been since 2004 then this puts a whole new complexion on what happens should Mum need to leave her home of 50 years and go into care. When I finalised my Fathers affairs I had no idea that the former matrimonial property was still his as I found no documents at all in his flat to prove or disprove this. So you are saying that my Brother and I need do nothing and the probate deed and facts are sufficient for any prospective purchasers' solicitor to establish our good title to the property from ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Remember - my Fathers name is ***** ***** the land registry - there is no information at all for the address.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
I see. As the property is unregistered, and you have inherited it under intestacy rules, you will need to apply to the land registry to register it. You can read the guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/registering-land-or-property-with-land-registry/register-for-the-first-time This outlines how you go about registering the land and you should follow each step fully.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have seen this form before but it all seems too simple and it seems to me there are loads of buts what ifs....I am assuming that when Dad purchased the house in 1963, good title was established by his solicitor at the time - trouble is I don't know who the seller or his solicitor was. There is no information at all at the land registry, he his dead and a) as he was the sole purchaser, my mum had nothing to do with it ( as many wives of that era did not ) and b) she wouldn't be able to tell me if she did !Also it bothers me, what if some court settlement ( made, say when they divorced ) exists that I do not know about ? Is it the case that if the property was given to my mum at the time, she would be named in the land registry ? Do I need to worry about it ?I don't want to register the property at the land registry only to find out something was wrong later - I suppose making the registration unchallenged ( by who ? ) would "prove" that my Dad was indeed the rightful owner and that my brother and I have inherited it ?Would registration be an end to the matter ? I don't want something to leap out of the cupboard, as it were, later down the line.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
The only person that would be contesting it is your mother given that it was the matrimonial home she would have been entitled to make a claim to it as part of the divorce. It is difficult to find out whether such a settlement was made or not, especially as the divorce took place three decades ago, and the courts are unlikely to have any record of the financial order (if any) from so far back. Have you checked your mother's documents for this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes nothing exists and unfortunately Mum cannot remember anything after the war anyway !
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
That is unfortunate - I feel that my previous information will still stand in the circumstances