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28 NOV 2007

PROPERTY: Wallbank & Wallbank v Price [2007] EWHC 3001 (Ch)

(Chancery Division; 28 November 2007; Lewison J)

The married couple took a transfer of the property under the right to buy scheme, as beneficial joint tenants. A year later, the marriage had broken down; shortly after the wife left the property she signed a handwritten document stating that she revoked any rights in the disposal of the property, but that the couple's daughters should receive her half-share of property on its disposal. When the husband died intestate the wife sought to have the agreement set aside for undue influence, on the basis that she had gone in fear of her husband.

The wife's allegation that the document had been signed because she was frightened of the husband had not been made out. Interpreting the document as a whole, the document was an agreement between the two joint tenants, severing the joint tenancy in equity. Under the agreement the husband thereafter held the beneficial interest in the property on trust as to one half for himself and the other half for himself until disposal of the property, at which time the half share would vest in the daughters; the husband further had a discretion to vest the half share in the daughters' favour before disposal.

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