A lifetime of mortgage repayments and a rise over the years in property prices will mean that for many of us, the family home is the most valuable asset in our estate.
That leads to the difficult question of ‘who will inherit the house?’ In some cases a testator will make promises during their lifetime about who will stand to inherit the property on their death. Whilst those promises may be made with the best intentions, they can cause significant problems to be addressed by the testator’s family later on.
Proprietary estoppel arises when:
- The testator represents to a person (or allows that person to believe) that they will leave their house to them in their will
- That person relies on the testator’s representation to their detriment
- The testator does not in fact make provision for the person to receive the house
A representation or promise made by a testator about how they will dispose of their property can give rise to an ‘estoppel’ preventing that testator from changing their mind and disposing of the asset in a different way. The testator is effectively bound by the earlier promise.
In cases where proprietary estoppel is claimed, the Court will be asked to determine whether or not the claim should succeed and if so, how to best satisfy the equity due to the disappointed beneficiary
For further information or if you wish to obtain advice about a claim or defend a clam being brought against land you please contact our expert Kevin Richardson on 02392 660261 or firstname.lastname@example.org