Understanding TOLATA Claims: Resolving Trust Disputes Over Land

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Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) claims are an essential legal recourse for individuals involved in disputes over land held under a trust. Whether you are a co-owner or beneficiary seeking resolution or clarification of your rights, understanding TOLATA claims is crucial. In this blog, we will delve into the key aspects of TOLATA claims, their significance and how they can help resolve trust-related conflicts.

1. What is a TOLATA Claim?

TOLATA claims are legal actions brought under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. They aim to address disputes concerning the ownership, occupation and management of land held under a trust. These claims provide a means for individuals to seek a resolution of their rights and interests in the trust property. Supposing you buy a flat with your partner in joint names. The relationship breaks down and you want to sell the flat but your partner refuses. What can you do? The answer is to threaten and if necessary pursue a claim through the courts under TOLATA. If there are no special circumstances you should obtain an order for sale and may even be given an order that your legal costs should come out of your partner’s share of the proceeds of sale. Special circumstances that may prevent or delay an order for sale include the disability of a partner or that children are living in the property but each case is dealt with on its individual merits.

2. Who Can Make a TOLATA Claim?

Any co-owner or beneficiary of a trust can make a TOLATA claim. Co-owners may seek a sale or partition of the property, while beneficiaries may request clarification of their rights or a change in the trustees’ management of the land. TOLATA claims can be made in relation to residential, commercial or agricultural properties. Please note that TOLATA is not relevant where you are married and own a property jointly as different rules apply between husband and wife.

3. The Process of Making a TOLATA Claim

Initiating a TOLATA claim involves filing an application with the court. The court will then consider the evidence and circumstances of the case to determine the appropriate course of action. It may order the sale, transfer or occupation of the property, as well as the division of proceeds or income generated from it. The court’s decision will be based on the principles of fairness and the best interests of the parties involved.

4. Factors Considered by the Court

When deciding on a TOLATA claim, the court takes various factors into account. These include the intentions of the parties, any written agreements or declarations of trust, financial contributions made by the parties and the welfare of any children or vulnerable beneficiaries. The court aims to strike a fair balance between the competing interests and rights of the parties involved.

5. Benefits of TOLATA Claims

TOLATA claims offer several benefits for individuals involved in trust disputes over land. They provide a formal legal process to resolve conflicts, ensuring that all parties have an opportunity to present their case. TOLATA claims also offer a means to protect the rights and interests of beneficiaries and co-owners, ensuring fair treatment and equitable distribution of assets.

6. Seeking Legal Advice

Given the complexity of trust disputes and TOLATA claims, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified professional. Alexander JLO’s  experienced solicitors can guide you through the process, help gather evidence and present your case effectively. They can also provide valuable insights into the potential outcomes and strategies for achieving a favourable resolution.

TOLATA claims play a vital role in resolving disputes over land held under a trust. Whether you are a co-owner seeking a sale or partition, or a beneficiary seeking clarification of your rights, understanding the TOLATA claim process is essential. By seeking legal advice and utilising the provisions of TOLATA, individuals can navigate trust-related conflicts and work towards a fair and satisfactory resolution. If you are considering a TOLATA claim or need advice over a dispute over a co-owned property why not give us a call on 020 75377000 or email peter@london-law.co.uk fir a free, no obligation consultation and see what we can do for you?

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