Miles Heaver 46, claimed that his father gave him an idyllic cottage known as “Corner Cottage” on the family’s West Stoke Estate in Strettington when he got engaged 20 years ago. The house, he told the High Court was the least his father George Heaver, 74, owed him for his years of underpaid work in the family business.
Miles Heaver and his wife Bella, had lived in Corner Cottage since they married in the 1990’s and brought up their children there. The couple said that they had spent £700,000.00 on improvements.
Miles Heaver told the Court that decades of working for his father in the family business had left him “just shattered”. He said that he had done his absolute utmost for them every day of the week for 20 years, he was just beyond it exhausted and lost. But George Heaver told the Judge that he did not want to see his Ancestral Estate “asset-stripped”. George Heaver had told the Court that he had let his son and daughter-in-law live in the house to put a roof over their heads and planned to retire there himself.
The Court ruled that George Heaver had never made any promises and his son knowingly took a risk by spending money on a property that was not legally his. The Court ruled that George Heaver had neither given them the cottage nor promised to leave them it in his Will. The Court ruled that Miles Heaver was mistaken in law if he believed the money he spent gave him some kind of right to the property. The Court added however that the possibility remains open that Miles Heaver may one day inherit the Corner Cottage.
Should you live in a property that is not owned by yourself, then it is essential that you get an agreement in place as to the conditions of your occupation. Likewise, if you own a property that another person lives in, it is sensible to make clear the purpose of that occupation.
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