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SolicitorRM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2949
Experience:  Director and Principal Solicitor. UK
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I have a query about a wife who has been left by her

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I have a query about a wife who has been left by her husband, leaving a lot of debt. She wants to sell a (recently erected) garage to me but I'm not sure on what basis she can do so. The receipt for it went with the absconder. He has left many £1000s of debt; the garage is worth about £3k. She says he paid for it with her cash. Is it legal for her to dispose of the asset to help with paying off debt?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: North East England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Attempting to locate original bill of sale by contacting companies that sell this type of building (there are about a dozen in the country).
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: What's the charge?
JA: The Expert's answer will cost $10 to $100, depending on the issue type and time to respond. You'll see the exact amount on the next page and can decide then. It's way less expensive and more convenient than any face-to-face visit.
Customer: $ or £?

Hi thank you for your enquiry and your patience. She can sell it as it seems its a movable chattel as a fixed immovable garage if she can show that she owns it or she has the right to sell it on behalf of the owner. If she knows that she funded its purchase and that it was not bought on credit then she should be able to sell it. Have they divorced? and has there been a settlement agreement of how the assets are being shared between her and her husband?If the debts are not joint debts she really should not have to worry about them unless their property is jointly owned in which case she has to be concerned about possibility of being forced to sell should they secure judgments against him. I hope this is useful to you. I would be grateful for your rating at your earliest convenience by clicking on the row of green stars at the top on your screen. All the best

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Thanks for the response. A couple of clarifications... "he can sell it as it seems its a movable chattel as a fixed immovable garage" [it's a log cabin type garage - timber, therefore classed as a non-permanent building (as far as planning is concerned) - hence movable] if she can show that she owns it [no, she gave him the cash to buy it, I think he maxed out a card, one of many, and spent the cash elsewhere] or she has the right to sell it on behalf of the owner [this is the key - does she? if it was bought on a card, does title lie with him as card holder, the card company? Or her?].
No divorce - he only took off about 10 days ago - so no agreement. I guess the issue is, can she dispose of an asset that he bought on a card in his name, to settle debts he ran up? Lots of hidden debt is now coming out the woodwork, the poor soul had no idea he was up to his neck. He's now in Belgium where he came from, which may make it harder to pursue him, esp with Brexit, but that's a separate matter. My plan is, if this is inconclusive, to get a letter / receipt from her stating that she funded the purchase and that she has had to dispose of the asset in order to meet living expenses and deal with debt demands. What I don't want is a card company or even him turning up and saying it's not my garage and if I've bought it from someone who didn't have the right to sell it, it's stolen property. What do you think?

Hi, thank you for your further information. If they are not divorced and they have their assets in community of property - so jointly then she can sell it as one the family assets. She will have to do a receipt for you that she signs and you sign, she would not have to write the reason for selling it. If their assets are clearly not jointly owned then that is when you would have a concern, however she is telling you that she gave him money to buy for her, she can do a statement in addition to the receipt and if you want it to have more authority she could have it drafted as an affidavit and a solicitor can witness it stating she paid for it by giving cash for him to purchase it and therefore she owns it and has the right to sell it.

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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
OK - short of a receipt that has both their names on hence proving her right to sell, I reckon that's my best shot. Thanks.