Beneficial Ownership of Property Solicitor
Your home is your most valuable asset, and it is something you want family solicitors to protect your right to in case of divorce or separation. Just because your name is not on a property’s legal title does not mean that you are not entitled to any of its equity. Talk to a solicitor for family law advice about Beneficial Ownership.
Legal Ownership and Beneficial Ownership
Legal ownership is where your name is listed as an owner on the title deeds. If you are appointed to the legal title with another person, such as your partner or spouse, then you either share ownership as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.
Joint Tenants have an equal share in the property. If one owner dies, the surviving owner inherits their share. It cannot be sold or left in a will to someone else. Both parties must agree to the sale of the property, and any profit or loss shared equally. If you own your property as Joint Tenants, and you are getting divorced or separating, you should seek family law advice about whether it is in your interest to change the ownership to Tenants in Common. This is in case one of you dies before your divorce is finalised and you do not want your ex-partner to inherit your share.
Tenants in Common each own an individual share of a property. This could be 50:50, or it may be divided in a different way if they invested different amounts of capital. They can sell their share to another person, and can also leave their share someone else in their will.
Beneficial Ownership of Property and Divorce or Separation
If you have paid the mortgage (for example, if you pay your partner rent) or you have paid for any improvements or repairs, then talk to a family solicitor about applying to the court to establish your interest in the home. Doing so gives you the right to stay in the property and to receive a portion of any profit when it is sold and makes you a beneficial owner of the property. It also means that, if the property is rented to a third party as an investment property, that you may be entitled to some of that income.
Beneficial owners have the right to live in the property long-term (often until children of the relationship reach the age of 18 and become independent) and can prevent the property from being sold or remortgaged. If it is sold, they should be paid a proportion of the capital as agreed in the Court Order which granted them Beneficial Ownership.
Divorce and No Title Ownership or Beneficial Ownership
A person who is separating from their partner and has no title ownership of the marital home, and cannot prove Beneficial Ownership, may be evicted by their ex-partner. The owner must give “reasonable” notice, though this duration is not legally defined. If the split is amicable, then a month may be reasonable. If the partner being evicted has been violent, then it might be considered reasonable to evict them immediately.
Always seek quality family law advice in England & Wales about your rights if you are considering separation and divorce, so you treated fairly.
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