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Ben Harle of our Private Client team advises the parents of a joint property owner who died suddenly, in the latest Troubleshooter column in the Property section of The Times.

My son very sadly died recently and left a property that he jointly owned with his partner. They were not married or in a civil partnership.

We had helped our son with the deposit, contributing £30,000, and signed a gift form. They bought a house in Chelmsford, Essex, for £675,000 just over a year ago.

They signed a declaration form where it said: “Please sign in the spaces provided below. Should you wish to hold property as tenants in common, please indicate the percentage shares each purchaser is to acquire on completion”.

They signed and wrote 50 per cent each, but also crossed out the “tenants in common” box and left “joint tenants”. We believe it was crossed out because they didn’t know the meaning of tenants in common. Now we don’t know where we stand. We feel we have lost our only son as well as the property he put everything into. His partner is very co-operative at the moment but she doesn’t want to sell. She will receive a payout from the joint life insurance she held with my son to help pay for the mortgage.

Can you please advise if we have any rights to force her to sell the property in future and ask for 50 per cent of the value?

Read the full article in The Times (subscription may be required)

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