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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.
May I ask how old you children are and how long you have been married please?
You mention you paid for a loft conversion. Roughly how much capital have you spent on improvement works to the property over the years (excluding maintenance and bills)?
married 8 years in march. children are 2 and 5.
Thanks. Is there a mortgage on the property and are either of your husband or MIL prepared to consider adding you to the deeds?
Finally what is the approximate value of the house would you think?
mortgage is in my husbands name
to be honest i asked my husband to add my name to the deeds, however he is reluctant to do this as he feels this would dillute his monthers share of the house investment which he thinks is 50%.
value of the house is potentially £600K if slightly higher
Mil invested £300K approx.- this is what he tells me
Thanks. The starting point here is although your name is ***** ***** the deeds, providing you can evidence that you have paid money to the house for capital improvements then you will own a percentage of the house commensurate with those contributions by way of something known as a constructive trust. The burden of proof is upon you to evidence money paid as above and this excludes any money you have paid for bills, maintenance or rent but based on what you say providing you retain evidence of contribution you can evidence a money share in the house under a constructive trust.
Notwithstanding this in the even of a divorce you would have no claim on your MIL's share of the house. As regards ***** ***** share, courts have significant discretion as to how to settle divorces which will turn on the financial circumstances but in general terms there are different rules for short marriages as opposed to long marriages. For shorter marriages, the courts will typically start from the point whereby the various assets they held before marriage are returned to the individuals with assets acquired during the marriage being split 50-50 the courts have considerable powers to depart from the starting point. For longer marriages such as yours, the courts will typically start from a presumption of splitting everything on a 50-50 basis but again have considerable powers to move away from the starting point and will do so particularly when there are children involved to ensure the parent with custody of the children has sufficient resoures for their well being
If your husband passes before your MIL away then the house will either pass to your MIL if he owns with her as joint tenants or to you (and/or your children) if he owns as tenants in common with your MIL. He should for this reason confirm that he owns the house as tenants in common with your MIL and if not change the ownership which is easy to do with a solicitor for a small fee.
how would my MIL share of the house be calculated? So, by adding my name to teh house deeds she would not loose out?
If your MIL passes away before your husband her share will similarly either pass to your husband if they own as joint tenants or under her will if they own as tenants in common. As you say her will can be changed.
...by her before her death if she wishes
Regarding your MILs v your husbands share, unless a specific agreement was entered into between them they would own the house 50/50 though if either you or your husband or MIL can show that you have made financial contributions to the property as above then each of you respectively can seek to make a claim for a larger pecentage (exactly as you could potentially as discussed above).
what would be better tenants in common?
In my view it would be better for your husband to ensure that he owns the property as tenants in common with your MIL and that both your hsband and MIL ensure they have reviewed their wills to ensure they are as they wish them.
how much would it cost approx to add my name to the deed as tenants in common as well as my husbands and MIL with allocated percentages?
...as tennats in common
is it a lengthy process?
You would need to seek your lenders consent - this should be forthcoming providing you have no adverse credit though lenders will also consider your own income in deciding whether to agree. If your lender does agree then it is relatively straightforward and a solicitor is likely to charge circa £300 (very cheap) to £600 (fairly expensive) + VAT to do it for you plus a few minor disbursements.
To save costs you could decide to do this at the same time as your next remortgage as it should add little to the cost of the remortgage at that stage.
ok... thank you for your help
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