Daniels LLP Solicitors I AM 70 and have been living with a man for the last ten years since he persuaded me to move out of my council house. He paid for our current property and I furnished it, but he has now moved out and is telling me to sell the house. The property is in both our names, but as we were not married I wondered if I am entitled to half the proceeds. THE law relating to unmarried couples and property rights is complex. In order to answer this question it would be necessary to obtain some more information from the title deeds. This will help us to establish whether the property is held by you both as joint tenants or as tenants in common. If you are tenants in common does a declaration of trust exist setting out each parties’ respective share? You need to seek legal advice before reaching any MY mother died nearly 20 years ago without leaving a will. However she asked her husband – my stepfather – to leave her estate to me, and he made a will to this effect. But when he died recently we discovered he’d made a later will leaving everything to a girlfriend. He had nothing when he married my mother. Is there any scope for me to challenge the new will? I have been told I cannot see it as I am no longer a benefactor. IT is very difficult to challenge a will and unless you have good medical evidence that your stepfather lacked the capacity to make the will then your chances of challenging it are slim. Also, if property was promised to you and on the strength of those promises he acted to your detriment, then it may be possible to bring a claim for ‘proprietary estoppel’ and the first will is some evidence of this. It is a shame that your mother did not set up a trust in your favour which would have avoided these problems. MY father is in a nursing home and his capital has now dropped below £23,250. As a result we are now being asked to pay a third-party top-up fee by the council. They are saying this cannot be paid by my mother. Is this correct? THIRD-PARTY top-up fees are normally paid only by relatives able and willing to pay them: you are not obliged to pay them. This subject is something of a hot potato at the moment, with the Local Government Ombudsman recently criticising councils for failing to give enough information. You should probably take independent advice or at least investigate further before committing yourselves to these payments.
BONUS ON TAP
I RECENTLY had some plumbing work carried out. I was initially told the work would take between four and five hours. It took six, but I was charged for eight hours’ work on the basis that the plumber hadn’t time to start another job that day. Is this legal? YOU must pay a ‘reasonable’ price for the work done. I take it you were given an estimate for the job, as opposed to a quotation which would have been a fixed price that is binding on both parties. A court would probably think it was reasonable for you to pay for the six hours that the plumber was at your house, but not for the extra two which appear to have been added because the workman was badly organised. If you only pay for the six hours the plumber would have great difficulty in getting you to pay more.
Call SAS Daniels LLP Solicitors on 0161 475 7676 or 01625 442 100. Visit www.sasdaniels. co.uk If you have any legal questions, write to Weekly Law and You, MEN Media, Mitchell Henry House, Hollinwood Avenue, Chadderton OL9 8EF, or email mail@lawQs.co.uk