You and the Law – 17th May 2011

He wants them out

Two  years ago my daughter married the man she’d been going out with for the previous seven years and she and her two children went to live in his house.  He has now decided that married life is not for him, and wants to sell up.  She has had conflicting advice about what sheis entitled to.  RM

Your daughter needs to see a solicitor urgently to register her right to occupy the property and prevent her husband selling it.  She can then stay in the house either until a court order is made or until the couple reach agreement on how the property is to be divided.

There are no absolute rules, but the property is a matrimonial asset in respect of which she will have a financial claim. The childrenis needs are likely to be very important since the husband will be reckoned to be responsible for providing a roof over their heads.

Lost property

My aunt and her stepson lived together.  It was my auntis house, but two years ago she made a Deed of Gift to her stepson so he could live in the house after her death.  However, he has died first, and his next of kin are now claiming the house.  She is worried that she could be thrown out of the home she has lived in for 50 years.  What is her position?  KL

If your aunt really did transfer her house into her stepsons name then, subject to any Will he may have made, the property will go to his relatives on his death. Your aunt should see the solicitor who drew up the deed of gift urgently.  It is possible the solicitor should have advised her differently, in which case she would have a claim for negligence. 

Your aunt could, for instance, have simply left the property to the stepson in her Will, or they could have shared the ownership of the house.  As things stand your aunt may be able to establish a right to continue living in the house but she does need ad vice urgently.

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