Q&As

Is it possible to have a common intention constructive trust over joint savings held in an account in the sole name of one party, or is that doctrine limited to property?

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Produced in partnership with Nicholas Starks of St Ives Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 21/01/2019

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Nicholas Starks of St Ives Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is it possible to have a common intention constructive trust over joint savings held in an account in the sole name of one party, or is that doctrine limited to property?

Is it possible to have a common intention constructive trust over joint savings held in an account in the sole name of one party, or is that doctrine limited to property?

General trust principles apply equally to personalty as they do realty. However, the specific principles devised by the House of Lords in Stack v Dowden in relation to real property to be occupied as a family home by cohabitants do not apply to investments (Laskar v Laskar).

It is commonly assumed that monies in a joint account belong to the parties jointly, that upon their separation each is entitled to one-half, and upon their death, the funds in the account pass to the other under the right of survivorship.

Certainly, where cohabitants have a joint account into which they both pay funds and from which they freely make withdrawals, it is realistic that the account should be regarded as being owned by them as joint beneficial tenants, absent some other intention (see, for example, Jones v

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