How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joshua Your Own Question
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
35043042
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Joshua is online now

My husband was buying a property with his sister. He died in

Resolved Question:

My husband was buying a property with his sister. He died in July last year and there is still a mortgage on the house which I still pay his share of. I also have his insurance money to pay off his share of the mortgage. However his sister does want to pay it till later this year when she has some money available. I have phoned the mortgage company and they said they cannot talk to me even though I'm his widow and in charge of his affairs. Do I have any legal rights to the property?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Please accept my sympathies on the loss of your husband.

Joshua :

May I ask if your husband left a will? If so did he make you an executor and beneficiary of the house in question please?

Customer: No he didn't leave a will but I spoke to probate and they have informed me that I can act as excutor and deal with matter.
Joshua :

Thank you. Do you have any children together?

Customer: No
Joshua :

Thank you. IN that case as you will likely be aware everything comes to you as his wife under the intestacy rules and you are in deed entitled to act as his administrator. Have you yet applied for a grant of probate?

Customer: No because probate said I didn't need to. Yes I am aware that everything goes to me. I just wondered what would happen if anything happened to his sister as she is living in the house and I am not. Even though his mother is aware that Chris entendded to leave his share of the house to me. Also why the building society will not talk to me even though I am his widow.
Joshua :

Thanks. The probate registry are not correct as far as the house is concerned that is in your husband and sisters names. You will need a grant of probate in order to deal with that. As regards XXXXX XXXXX you owned, they may will be correct if you owned everything jointly in the main.

Joshua :

My last question if I may have you confirmed that the house is owned by your husband and his sister as tenants in common rather than joint tenants - if you are unsure as to what I refer to please let me know.

Customer: As far as I am aware it was tenants in common. So if I get a grant of probate will the building society talk to me.
Joshua :

Thats good - as you probably know if it is joint tenants then his sister may have inherited automatically.

Customer: Yes I am aware of that.
Joshua :

So the position is that you will require a grant of probate in order to deal with the property. You can speak to the building society. It is a common mistake that banks and other institutions make in refusing to talk to administrators. You have a right to any and all information about the account as was your husband by virtue of s1 Administration of Estates Act. Consider writing to them to inform them that you act as administrator - you will need to supply a copy of your husbands death certificate and request that they update their records and confirm that information will be supplied to you as per their obligation under the above legislation.

Customer: My main concern is why the building society will not talk to me. I am continuing to pay my husbands share of the mortgage in the mean time but by direct debit to his sister into what was a joint account ran by my husband and his sister. However it is now in her name only as she has taken in the death certificate to the bank and they removed his name. Not sure if legally she was allowed to do that.
Joshua :

If you disagree with his sister about whether to sell the property now or otherwise you could ultimately force a sale under the provisions of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act though ideally you would be able to reach an agreement over the issue.

Joshua :

Have you confirmed that the property is held as tenants in common?

Customer: Ok thank you. The building society have already received a copy of the death certificate via my husbands sister. Which clearly showed that I was his widow and present at his death but I will now obtain the grant of probate so they can talk to me.
Joshua :

Providing the property is held as tenants in common - you can check this(please let me know if you would like to know how) then the lender must discuss the account with you. It is not optional. s1 AoEA (above) gives you authority in respect of all your husbands assets and you become the legal controller of them. Having ssaid that is is very common to run into problems with call centre staff - they typically do not receive training in respect of succession laws and the Data Protection Act and so incorrectly advise they cannot discuss with you.

Joshua :

The issue is resolved by writing to the bank;s probate team with a copy of the grant of probate. The probate team are normally better trained and will update the account with your name which means that call centre staff will happily deal with you.

Customer: I think it is held as tent ants in common but cannot check with the building society as they will not talk to me. All paperwork is still in the property. My husband said it was tenants in common. Even though I have keys to the property don't really feel right just going round there are going though things.
Joshua :

Thanks. I would recommend you confirm. It is very easy. You can obtain a copy of the title entries for the property using the following link for £3:

Joshua :

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-ownership

Customer: Thanks
Joshua :

Once you have the title entries for the property case your eye down to section B where you should see your husband and his sisters names. You are looking below that for an entry that states "RESTRICTION: No odisposition by a sole proprietor..."

Customer: Ok thanks.
Joshua :

If there is such an entry then they held as tenants in common and all the above we have discussed applies. If there is no such entry this suggests the property was held as joint tenants which may mean that you would need to consdier appointing a solicitor to assist you in asserting your husbands interest as notwithstanding his sister would be entitled to inherit by succession. I am sure this will not be the case though from what you say.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer: No that's fine.
Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Joshua :

Thanks. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Joshua and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you