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Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9587
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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My late husband had a boat and told me that he paid for it.

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My late husband had a boat and told me that he paid for it. His son's trustees are now claiming that money from the trust fund was used to purchase the boat and they want me to hand over any documents. Before I do this, I would like proof that the money was released and used specifically for the purchase of the boat, including any paperwork from my husband. Am I allowed to ask for this? My husband (no signed will!) wanted me to have the boat so that I had a place to live.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None yet. I need to ensure that what I do is legal. When my husband died (in May) I inherited his entire estate, I changed ownership of the boat into my name as I intended to live on it and I paid the insurance. We live(d) and cared for his son, in the son's house. Now they want me to move out in the next few weeks and I was counting on living on the boat.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have a copy of the sales agreement - it is in my husband and his first wife's name. First wife died in 1999 and my husband inherited her entire estate. No mention of the son's name on the agreement nor where the funds came from. The trustee has asked me to hand over any documents but I am not going to do so until I know why they want it. I mean, if the money came from the Trust account 30 years ago, can they claim for repayment if there is no signed paperwork? I don't want to be saddled with a huge claim - otherwise they can keep the boat in settlement. The boat requires expensive repairs but I haven't told them anything. Value without repairs will be around £5K. Boat cost £45K in 1992.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Added extract of email from the Trustees and a copy of the sales agreement for the boat.
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hello. I’m happy to wait for an answer but need one as soon as possible please as I’m facing the real possibility of becoming homeless in the next few weeks! Thank you.

Hi thank you for your message, please note that I will look to provide an accurate but nevertheless speedy reply to your inquiry. I am sorry to hear about your situation but I will endeavour to help you today.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you Jeremy.

Firstly, yes you can ask them to prove the trust funds were used to purchase the boat as that is the basis for their claim. Secondly, even if trust funds were used to pay for the boat it does not automatically make the boat trust property for example the funds may have bee paid out from the trust to your late husband as a beneficiary who then used the funds to pay for the boat at which point the boat belonged to him not the trust because the moment the money was paid out they ceased being trust funds and become the your late husbands funds. The same would apply to any other beneficiary. I trust this assists

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thanks! If this can be proved, can they claim back all/part of the money? Or would they only be entitled to a % of the current value of the boat?

If they can prove it they would be entitled to the boat, or if they agreed payment for the current value of the boat to sell it to you, I trust this assists

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you for that. What if they paid say £20K and the boat is now only worth say £10K, can they claim the difference?

No they cannot claim the difference they can either have the boat back as is, or you pay the current value of the boat to them to buy them out. I trust this assists

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Brilliant! Thank you so much. They’ve now asked me to leave the house within the next few weeks, saying that I am akin to a licensee. I’ve paid £500 per month towards the house (not a mortgage) for 16 years so I don’t know how they came to that conclusion. Can they force me to leave or do they have to give me a specific notice period? Asking because my leaving the house depends on the resolution of the boat. Sorry to be such a pain…

Well if you are paying money towards the house you could say this is rent and therefore claim tenants rights which would mean they would have to give you at least 2 months notice and then seek and eviction order if they want you to leave which will take another few months most likely. I trust this assists

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Great! You’ve been brilliant help. Thank you so much.

Happy to help, take care

Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9587
Experience: Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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