The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Cohabitants do not have the same rights to make property claims as married couples or civil partners, and disputes between cohabitants regarding their beneficial interests are therefore determined in accordance with the law of trusts. There are two main ways in which cohabitants may have an interest in property: as a joint owner or, where the property is in the sole ownership of the other cohabitant, under a trust, whether express or otherwise. The primary legislation under which such issues are determined is the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996). This Practice Note sets out the basis on which a cohabitant or former cohabitant may make a claim in relation to property under TOLATA 1996, whether as a joint owner or where their former cohabitant is the sole owner of the property. It also details different types of joint ownership and the consequences, together with factors that may be taken into account by the court on an application under TOLATA 1996 and orders that may be made by the court.
It is essential that a conveyancer who is instructed in relation to the purchase of a property by an unmarried couple explains the differences between the ways in which property may be held, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. To fail to do so is negligent.
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