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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We live with our mother-in-law and have done so .

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We live with our mother-in-law and have done so for approx. 6 years. About 4 years ago she decided to hand over 1/2 the house to us which was all done through a solicitor. She has now decided that she wants to move into a home and is going to sell the home. She says that we will have to move out and that all proceeds will legally be hers. We cannot afford to move out. We pay 1/2 of bills each month and have spent a considerable amount of money on various bits of the house (sorry could not say how much as never realised that we would need to keep a record of such things). Can you tell us how we stand legally.
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. May I ask are your names now also on the title deeds to the house please?If not do you recall what was signed with the solicitor - a deed or declaration of trust for example?Do you have copies of any of the documents you signed to hand?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes my husbands name is ***** ***** deeds and we do have copies of the documents.

Thank you. So the title entries show your busband and MIL's names jointly. In that case a document called a TR1 would have been prepared and signed by your MIL and perhaps also your husband. Do you recall if they agreed to hold the property jointly in equal shares? This would have been shown in the panel on the TR1 headed "Declaration of Trust" if youhave a copy of the TR1.If not do you have a copy of the title entries from land registry to hand? If you do are you able to forward me a copy of them - please note this thread is not secure so if you are concerned about confidentiality it may be better to email them directly rather than upload them to this thread
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Unfortunately I do not have a copy handy at present but I do know that everything was agreed as as jointly - equal shares. Unfortunately hubby is not here at present.

Thats fine. on the basis of what you say, your mother-in-law and husband of joint legal owners of the property and are likely to be joint equitable owners - where there is a transfer of legal title, there is a presumption in law that each legal owner owns an equal share of the equity in the property. If the position were different, it is for your mother-in-law to rebut this presumption by producing evidence that a different equity share was agreed between her and your husband. This is typically done by agreeing a declaration of trust between your mother-in-law and your husband whereby they agree between them what shares each will own on the property. If no such declaration of trust was provided for specifying unequal shares in the property, then as above, the legal presumption will be that each owns a 50% share in the property. This being the case, your mother-in-law will need your husband's permission in order to sell the property and his signature on a contract and transfer deed as part of the sale process. She cannot proceed unilaterally. If your husband and mother-in-law cannot agree has two when to sell the property or what price to sell it out or how to divide the proceeds of sale between them, then on the above basis, neither can sell without the others permission and either one of them would have to apply to the court for an order under the trusts of land and appointment of Trustees act for an order as to the sale of the property and what price to sell it out and how to divide the proceeds of sale. If possible, it is best to avoid making an application to the court and the above legislation because such applications cost money and a typical application would cost between £1-2000 to resolve fully assuming it is not overly complicated. Neither party can on the above basis unreasonably delay or prevent the sale of the property though both parties can require that a fair price is achieved for the property and the court would not order a sale at less than market value. As above, based upon what you say providing no declaration of trust was agreed between your mother-in-law and husband that they should share the property other than on a 50-50 basis, your mother-in-law is incorrect to suggest that she is entitled to all of the proceeds of the property sale but rather those proceeds would on the above basis be shared equally between her and your husband. Because your husband must be involved in any sale of the property as his signature will be required, he will have a good measure of control as to the terms and speed of any such sale which should allow you time to find and tie in a new property purchase or alternatively, funds permitting, you could make an offer to buyyour mother-in-law's half share the property at market value raising the necessary mortgage to do so if required. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you will rate to finish. Can I just clarify that this means that we do not have to sell the house if we wish to stay here even though it was originally hers. She seems to think that there is a law that says because of her age (86) and the need to use the money to pay for an old peoples home we would be expected to hand it all back even if we are on the streets. Sorry to be a pain. Many many thanks for all your help.

May I be rude enough to ask your and hour husbands ages? I promise it is relevant rather than me being nosey!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We are 53 and 57 respectively. As you can see a little late for mortgages plus we have an appalling credit rating due to past errors.

Thanks. Your mother in law is correct that the local authority are able to make a claim against her property if she enters into a care home. The reason I asked you ages is that if a relative of your mother-in-law lives in her property who is over the age of 60 than the local authority have to disregard that property. Unfortunately, that is not the case here so the local authority can look to make a claim against your mother-in-law's share of the property but it cannot make a claim against your husband's share of the property pproviding your mother-in-law transferred it to him as a time prior to knowing she was likely to have to enter into care which I suspect is the case from the timeframe you refer to above. In addition because your husband owns half of the property based on what you say above, the local authority have to value your mother-in-law's taking into account the fact that your husband owns the other half of the property and therefore must assess a market value for your mother-in-law's share accordingly for means testing purposes. This means that the local authority after value mother-in-law's share at less than its true market value of the property was sold. in terms of what this means for you, if your mother-in-law's principal concern is paying for her care rather than selling the property in its own right, you can ask the local authority to defer payment of her care fees and apply a statutory charge to the property. What this means is that aas regards ***** ***** of the potential claim the local authority has to the property which is above is likely to be less than 50% of its value, you can ask the local authority to secure a charge against the property for future payment of these fees following your mother-in-law's eventual passing. This means that rather than the local authority seeking money from your mother-in-law's half share in the property now, they can delay doing so until after her death which gives you some considerable leeway in terms of how much time you have to decide how to proceed. based on what you say above, you should be able to retain more than 50% of the value of the property against any care fee claims. It may be sensible to contact the solicitor that acted in the transfer to ascertain whether any further provisions were provided for to protect the remainder of the property from carefree claims. It is possible to arrange affairs so as to protect the entire property from care the claims though it is too late to do that now if it is not already been done whch it may have been of course. I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much. I think it explains things for me. You have been a great help. Kind regards Julie.

I am glad I could be of some assistance. Best wishes
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