Alex's Story - The Tale of a Stolen Property
Alex’s Story- The Tale of a Stolen Property*
In 2019 we received a call from Alex’s neighbour, Daniel, who was concerned about Alex’s living arrangements. We were asked by Daniel if we could represent Alex, as Alex had received a letter, purported to be written by a solicitor, informing him that his nephew would be moving into his home, and therefore he needed to move out. Alex is an elderly and vulnerable client and relied totally on Daniel for support. It turns out he was very lucky to have such a neighbour.
Alex had inherited a third of the property he lived in from his late father; he had lived there all his life. When his father died, he had been granted a life interest in the property, meaning he could live in the property for as long as he wanted. Therefore, he was very confused and distressed when he received the letter telling him he had to move out. Alex’s brother and sister had also inherited a share in the property. However, up until this point it was understood by all siblings that Alex had a life interest in the property and therefore, they could not dispose of the property until he moved out.
We met with Alex and Daniel, and it soon became apparent that not only had Alex’s nephew bullied Alex for some time (on one occasion trying to break into the property) but he had fraudulently prepared and filed Land Registry documents which transferred the property into his sole name. Alex did not sign the paperwork and his signature had been forged by his unscrupulous nephew. No solicitors had been involved in the transaction and so no proper identity checks had been carried out. The letter which purported to be from a solicitor had also been forged. Alex had no knowledge of the property transfer and was understandably worried about losing his home, which had effectively been stolen from him.
The GW team swung into action. We placed a block at the Land Registry to ensure the nephew could not sell the property. We contacted the Police. We contacted the solicitor who purportedly sent the letter to Alex (and who was pretty horrified his name had been used). We contacted the witness to the Land Registry document which transferred the property to the nephew, and established that she did not see Alex sign the document and indeed had never met him, We quickly secured a witness statement from her. We contacted the nephew and in the face of denials from him, we swiftly filed Court proceedings against him.
Two years later, after lengthy litigation, we managed to secure Alex’s right to live in the property for the remainder of his life along with his one-third share. We cannot divulge the full details of the settlement, but it is fair to say that this exercise in deceit has come at a high price for the nephew. Alex is once again living peacefully in his home, with the knowledge that he is safe and protected. We have even taken steps at the Land Registry to ensure that no one can ever try this trick on Alex again.
Every department at Giles Wilson have played a part in bringing this conclusion, from litigation, to private client, to conveyancing. It has taken a huge amount of work and dedication, but there is great satisfaction in putting right this wrong. No one likes a bully.
*[Names have been changed to protect identity]