Son ordered to repay 270k to his mother's estate

A man has been ordered to pay back £270,000 to his mother’s estate following legal action by the executors of her will.

The High Court heard evidence that in 1998 the mother had entered into a property development partnership with her youngest son.

She died in 2010 and the final property sale was completed in 2014. The son produced final accounts in 2015, which showed that over £270,000 had been transferred to him in 2008.

The executors claimed that a property (plot 12) in which the mother had lived was not a partnership asset; that a development site acquired in 2002 and conveyed into the son's sole name was a partnership asset, and that the son had been overpaid his entitlement under the partnership agreement.

He claimed that the original partnership had been dissolved in 2004 and that a new partnership had arisen until his mother’s death.

The court found in favour of the executors. It held that it was clear that the partners had agreed that the mother would take plot 12 for herself.

The son's signature on the relevant accounts was enough to comply with the requirement for disposing of an interest in land under the Law of Property Act 1925.

The fact that from 2004 the business concentrated on refurbishment did not automatically make it a new partnership; refurbishment and property development shaded into one another. There had been a single partnership.

There was no evidence to support the son's contention that the development site had been intended to be his property. The partnership agreement and the accounts showed that it was not a gift from mother to son, but a business transaction between partners.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.

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