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Angelinas Interest in the Property - Essay Example

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The title to the house is held in both Angelina and Brad’s name. However, based on the facts of the case for discussion there is no specific declaration of beneficial interests. According to the ruling in Stack v Dowden, equity will follow the law. …
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Angelinas Interest in the Property
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Download file to see previous pages Where the parties hold joint title to property and there is no declaration of beneficial ownership the law will presume that the parties are joint tenants. It can therefore be presumed the Angelina holds both the legal and equitable interest in the house jointly with Brad.
As a result of the joint tenancy, the whole of the property is treated as if it is owned entirely by the parties and not in specific shares. In other words, in the eyes of the law, Brad and Angelina own 100% of the shares in the property together. When parties hold property together as joint tenants, the property passes from one to another upon the death of one of the parties under the doctrine of jus accrescendi. Therefore, when one party passes away, the whole of the property will automatically vest in the surviving joint tenant. As a result, it will be presumed by law that upon Brad’s death, Angelina automatically becomes entitled to the fee simple absolute in the property. However, the presumption can be rebutted by evidence of a common intention to sever the joint tenancy or to create a tenancy in common which will affect the shares that Angelina is entitled to. For instance, if Charles, Jennifer and Erica assert claims to an interest in the property, the court will determine whether or not sufficient evidence of a common intention to divide the property as tenants in common exists and if so the extent to which the property should be divided.
4 For present purposes, it can be stated that based on the documents of title, Angelina and Brad held the property jointly as joint tenants, unless Charles, Erica and/or Jennifer can successfully rebut the presumption. If Angelina’s name did not appear on the documents of title, the court would necessarily examine the common intentions of the party in order to ascertain what Angelina’s interest in the property should be. It will not automatically be inferred that just because Brad and Angelina were involved in a relationship at the time the house was purchased that they shared a common intention to own the property jointly. The courts will examine the evidence of common intention to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence for justifying Angelina’s claim to joint ownership despite the legal title.5 The court will determine how the property should be divided by reference to “what the parties must, in light of their conduct, be taken to have intended.”6 In assessing the common intentions of the parties, the court will take account of the number of factors including the contributions that the parties made toward the property’s purchase price. The court will also take account of, conversations/communications around the time the purchase was conducted; the reason for purchasing the property in one parties’ name alone; the reason the property was purchased; the parties’ relationship; children involved; financing of the home; how the parties dealt with the financial affairs either separately or jointly; and how the property and household expenses were dealt with.7 Based on these factors it can be assumed that while Brad and Angelina were both responsible for the mortgage, Brad eventually discharged most of the mortgage although the initial deposit was furnished by Brad and his father Charles. The couple shared a child and obviously purchased the home together as a family home. Charles’ contribution will be viewed as a gift to the couple and will not be looked upon as a contribution by Brad.8 Based on the evidence it appears that the couple shared a family and divided the responsibilities for the family home between them. Brad took care of most of the family expenses, discharged the bulk of the mortgage while Angelina took care of the children. Although, Angelina’ ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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