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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 24559
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My question is a bit complicated. I wanted to buy a flat

Customer Question

Hello Pearl , my question is a bit complicated. I wanted to buy a flat from an elderly family friend, but on different conditions. We agreed on my low payments and fixing some things in the flat and the flat would become mine after his death only. Is there a way of doing it legally? Thank you
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None. Verbal agreement but needs to be on document
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The person I want to buy from has a daughter who doesn't want the flat. How can I assure she won't be able to change her mind later
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Why doesnt the daughter want this property?

are you getting a mortgage?

and is the present owner going to be paying you rent?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
The owner won't be paying me as the amount I'll be paying him will be very low. He will be responsible for the bills though. I will be responsible for bringing his flat to decent livable conditions (I'll fix the boiler, change the windows, clear out etc...)
I won't be getting a mortgage.
His daughter does not want to live here and just doesn't want to have anything to do with the flat (and doesn't help her father at all), but I know if she changes her mind after his death I won't have any rights if this agreement now isn't legalised. Would she have to sing documents stating that she won't have rights to the flat?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi, am I able to get some answers by messages?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

The person writes a will leaving the flat to you.

They do a letter of wishes saying why they have done what they have done and explaining the work that you have done on it.  The letter of wishes is not part of the will and is not attached to it, but kept with it.

You need a letter of intent confirming what the person is doing for you so that if they decide to change their will without telling you, you can produce the letter because then you have a claim in estoppel.

Promissory Estoppell. This is a technical legal doctrine not used very often. It says that if anyone has been promised something during the lifetime of a person and they relied on that promise to their detriment  then they are entitled to have whatever was promised. The classic case is indeed the young man on the farm, who is told by the old man “don’t go off to seek your fortune son, but stick with me and work on the farm and I will leave it to you when I die,”.

So the young man doesn’t go off to seek his fortune and stays and works on the farm and it turns out that when the old man dies he leaves everything in his estate to the prize cow, Daisy or his new girlfriend, who is 30 years younger than he is.

In that case, the young man having given up a future (to his detriment) on the basis that one day (he was promised) the farm would be his and he believed it and relied on it, he can get a court order that the farm is transferred to him. Such claims are not cheap or quick to bring in do require a large burden of proof of the promise and reliance to detriment.

There is also Proprietary Estoppel.  Another technical legal doctrine, not used very often which is similar but it’s not in respect of the promise but in respect of a reasonable expectation.  So you live with someone in the house is in their name and you do a whole load work on the house (act to your detriment) on the expectation that when the other person eventually pulls off the mortal coil, you would have a shared of it.

The difference between Promissory and Proprietary is that Promissory is based upon an expectation arising from a promise and the other one is an expectation arising from actions.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your help. However I do have one more question. If I get either of the Estoppel's does that mean that my friend's daughter wouldn't be able to claim anything or does she needs to sign legal documents while we're getting our agreement legally signed?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

It’s always better if the daughter has knowledge of this and joins in any agreement.  Otherwise she will allege that this person has been got at by you to leave everything to you.  Better locking the gate before the horse bolts.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you very much
Are we able to sign those documents by ourselves or do they need to be constructed by a solicitor and signed in his presence?
Sorry for many questions. I'm taking into account that I would have to go to see a legal advisor face to face, but I'm not sure where to start.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

Any kind of legal document is better done by a solicitor but there is no reason why you can do it as a simple letter

Customer: replied 10 days ago.

Thank you.

Could you just advise me what type of solicitor I need to look for, please ?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 days ago.

It is called a Private Client solicitor.