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Potter House - Case Study Example

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In 1989, A (then aged 28), B (then aged 16), C (then aged 24) and D (then aged 24) jointly purchased Potter House and the title of the house was conveyed to them as 'beneficial joint tenants'. Before we go into detail on the meaning of beneficial joint tenants, we must take note that at the time of the purchase B was 16 years old and Section 1(6) Law of Property Act 1925 states that the minimum age required in order to be registered as the legal owner of a property is 18…
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Download file to see previous pages the right to enjoy the benefits of the property, to live and to use the property. B also has the right to share in the proceeds if the property is sold.
The ownership of the property is divided into 2 components; legal title and beneficial ownership. The legal title can be ascertained by reference to the land register (assuming that the title registration has been effected) and those persons who hold the legal title are the trustees of the land. In this case, A, C and D are the trustees of the Potter House. The trustees are given wide powers i.e. to sell, to lease, or to mortgage the land. Under the law, the trustees are not allowed to benefit from the exercise of their powers in their capacity as trustees. The benefits of the home must be deflected to the beneficiaries. These rules apply even if the trustees and the beneficiaries are the same people. The House of Lords has accepted that a trust should be implied in all cases of co-ownership - Williams & Glyn's Bank v Boland [1981] AC 487, 503, per Lord Wilberforce.
Under the English law, since 1925, joint tenancy has been the only form of co-ownership. Whereas there are two types of ownership for the beneficial ownership of the property i.e. 'beneficial joint tenants' or 'tenants in common'. From the facts of the case, it is clear that A, B, C and D has indicated to hold the property as beneficial joint tenants. In this case, each owner jointly own the entire property and technically the property is held by the owner in trust for himself. The owners do not have separate shares of the property each (unlike the case of property held under the title of tenants in common) and neither of the owners have a separate share in the property which they can sell or leave in a will. The consequence of having such a title to a property is that upon death of one party his interest passes automatically to the surviving owner and this means that the property cannot be transferred to another person by the deceased owner through a will or on intestacy, as it does not form part of the deceased's estate.
When B, in 2000, aged 27, moved out from the house to a new job in Kent, he demanded from C and D immediate payment for his share in the Potter House. B later died and left all his property by will to his mother, X. As explained above, B owns the house jointly with A, C and D and each of them has no separate share to the Potter House. It is not possible for joint tenants to sever their legal ownership in the estate and convert them into tenancy in common. Severance of joint tenancy into tenancy in common can only be done with respect to the beneficial ownership. A person whose interest is severed will have his share quantified in accordance to the numbers of the joint tenants immediately prior to the severance taking place. In this case, A, B, C and D each has 25% of the interest in the Potter Hous ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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