HB - The Legal Corner Magazine #Issue 7

a settlement was reached, leading to an agreement to the sale of the property and division of the proceeds. Avoiding the Dispute: In any joint ownership arrangement, consideration should have been given to outlining rights to reside and conditions for a potential sale through formal documentation. For instance, what would happen if the son passed away, leaving his wife (our client’s daughter- in-law) as a joint owner? Additionally, any formal agreement could have accounted for situations where our client might need to access her share of the property for funding, such as covering care costs.

"In any joint owership arrangement, consideration should be givento outlining rights to reside and conditions for a potential sale through formal documentation."

Example 3: Joint Ownership and Lack of Formal Agreements

We acted for an elderly, Sikh lady in her mid-80’s of Indian descent. Our client and her husband purchased a large property in 1977. They had two sons and one daughter. Eventually, the younger son and daughter got married and moved out. The eldest (as well as his wife and children) continued to live with our client and her husband for many years. In 2008 there was a discussion about succession with a view to avoid the sort of dispute that arose in the example above. Our client and her husband decided to add their eldest son and his wife to the title of the house, meaning that the property was jointly held with them in their names. In 2012 our client’s husband passed away. In 2019, a dispute arose when our client's eldest son insisted on selling the property, while she wished to remain. Despite living in the home for 40 years, our client's son threatened legal action to force a sale, disregarding her need for care as an elderly individual. This conflict caused a complete breakdown in the familial relationship, compelling our client to move in with her daughter. Eventually,



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