Q&As

A Will grants the surviving partner a right of occupation for life unless the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months. Has the term ‘occupation’ been defined in case law? What happens if the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months for reasons outside of their control. Can the partner return to live in the property or do the Trustees have the right to sell the property?

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Produced in partnership with Matthew Watson of XXIV Old Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 27/04/2021

The following Wills & Probate Q&A produced in partnership with Matthew Watson of XXIV Old Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A Will grants the surviving partner a right of occupation for life unless the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months. Has the term ‘occupation’ been defined in case law? What happens if the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months for reasons outside of their control. Can the partner return to live in the property or do the Trustees have the right to sell the property?

A Will grants the surviving partner a right of occupation for life unless the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months. Has the term ‘occupation’ been defined in case law? What happens if the partner ceases to occupy the property for six months for reasons outside of their control. Can the partner return to live in the property or do the Trustees have the right to sell the property?

This Q&A is limited to considering the definition of occupation and what may constitute occupation.

The starting point in such cases is always the proper interpretation of the Will. The court will determine what the provisions setting out the gift and the conditions on which it determines mean to a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have been available at the time the Will was made—Marley v Rawlings, Brooke v Purton.

Absent any particular guidance in the Will, the court may refer to past decisions which consider the concept of occupation, but

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