In cases where the legal ownership of property does not reflect the beneficial ownership, meaning that a person who is not the legal owner has a claim in respect of property, issues relating to trusts and proprietary estoppel can arise. Our contested Wills and probate solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with claims relating to this complex area of litigation.
Property can include land, buildings, shares, investments and savings. Claims can be brought on behalf of the estate regarding property that should form part of the estate as a result of a resulting or constructive trust or proprietary estoppel.
The other side to this is a claim by a party that they have an interest in property which has been left by Will arising from a resulting or constructive trust or proprietary estoppel.
The claims may arise as a result of:
direct financial contributions made to the purchase price, deposit or mortgage repayments of a property (resulting trust)
contributions to the purchase price and mortgage instalments or refurbishments to a property on the basis of an agreement, understanding or intention that the person would have an interest in the property (constructive trust)
In the case of a resulting trust, unless there is evidence that some other result was intended, the person who made the contribution is entitled to a beneficial interest in the property proportionate to the amounts contributed.
With regard to constructive trust claims, the court will need to determine that there was some agreement, arrangement or understanding reached between the parties that the property was to be shared beneficially which would usually be based on evidence of express discussions between the parties. Where there is no evidence of an agreement, the court will look at the conduct of the parties to establish whether a common intention can be inferred.
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