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Regular updates on relevant case law and legislation - October 2009


CHAPTER 8 EXPRESS CO-OWNERSHIP IN LAND

Box Diii Williams v Hensman (1861) – mutual agreement (page 149)

In Wallbank v Price [2007] EWHC 3001 (Ch); [2008] 2 FLR 501, Susan Wallbank (known as Mrs Price in the case because she had remarried) held the house as a beneficial joint tenant with Mr Wallbank. The court had to decide whether the following words in a handwritten homemade document signed by Susan Wallbank amounted to severance of the joint tenancy or a conditional release or surrender of her beneficial interest.

    “I Susan Joan Wallbank Have voluntarily agreed to vacate the above premises and also to forfeit any monies or profit in anyway connected with this property, and by signing this declaration I revoke any rights in the disposal of the above property. The only exception to this is that my Daughters Jaime and Lynsey Wallbank should receive my half share of the property on its disposal or at the discretion of my husband Martin Harry Wallbank.”

The words ‘have voluntarily agreed to vacate the above premises’ meant that she had agreed to leave and was giving up her right to live in the property.

The words ‘to forfeit any monies or profit in anyway connected with this property’ meant she was giving up all her financial interest in the property.

The words ‘I revoke any rights in the disposal of the above property, meant that she was giving up her beneficial interest in the property.

The second part of the declaration in which Susan Price talked about a ‘half share’ was inconsistent with continuing existence of a joint tenancy in equity. If there had been severance, there would be a ‘half share’. Mr Wallbank could exercise his discretion in favour of his daughters immediately so that dealt with the requirement that severance must have immediate effect . Mr Wallbank signed the document so there was agreement between them (mutual agreement) so severance had occurred.


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