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Is the owner (of the house) the “owner” (of the house)? That is the question.

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

When the property in question is a “Muse” property in Central London worth £4 million and you are the legally registered owner of that property, this is an important question.

If you get it wrong, you can end up discovering the property is not yours at all, and you have a bill for your own legal fees of over £45,000; and you have to pay your aunt, who you are in dispute with, over £150,000 towards her legal costs.

Why? Because property ownership in England and Wales is an issue of “Trust” – the legal owner holds the property on Trust on behalf of the person who is “beneficially” entitled – they can be the same person or people, but not always.

So was the property purchased with money from the legal owner’s aunt that was a gift, or was he owning it on her behalf? That is the question that went all the way to a very expensive Trial Hearing, with a Judge having to make a decision about what had been the “intention” of those involved.

If you would like specialist legal advice about a property claim involving your partner, former partner, family member, or friend, please contact the Family team on 0800 088 6004.

Edward Rawlins


Edward Rawlins


Ed has over 20 years experience as a specialist advising on situations arising from the breakdown in relationships (marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation) in respect of both children, finances and business assets. He is a member of Resolution and a Law Society Accredited Family Mediator.