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Old 12-05-2015, 07:37   #16
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Regarding the act as if it is yours approach (you paid for it - it is yours), if the boat is on a jointly owned mooring (or the mooring fees are sent to you both) then change that, and if needed move the boat. That doesn't give you title but means that the water is less muddy - in your favour. In the unlikely event that his family have keys - change the locks.

Of course experience of dead people and families and the sniff of money varies. Lol.

None of the practical side is instead of seeing a lawyer - its as well as.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:32   #17
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

My sincere condolences for your tragic loss.

As others have said, invest in a lawyer. You may have right of survivorship, and be worrying unnecessarily, or not. Either way, get proper guidance. The idea of acting like you own the boat also makes sense until you hear otherwise. Good luck.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:53   #18
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Acting like you own a boat which you really don't own is otherwise known as stealing.

Unfortunately, lots of people interpret the relevant laws intuitively. If you learn anything here, it's that you should seek competent counsel rather than that of Internet pseudo-lawyers.

My best guess as a retired administrative law judge is that you own 50% of the boat; the legal heir(s) own the remainder. You are likely not among the 'legal heir(s)' group.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:11   #19
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

The advice to seek an attorney is the best advice. That said, and this is not to be construed as legal advice (standard disclaimer), the law in your jurisdiction will generally state a presumption of the type tenancy created if the ownership documents do not describe the tenancy. Your choices are a tenancy in common or a joint tenancy. In the first, each share is separate and can be sold or passed to heirs via will or intestacy by the holder of that share. In any type of joint tenancy, the share of a deceased partner passes by operation of law to the surviving partners. It should take no more than a quick meeting with a local attorney to answer that question for you.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:14   #20
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Best to seek advice of an attorney. Bring your papers with you.

Not sure if this applies in your country, but in the USA the words "and" and "or" are very important. "And" means you both own it together, while "or" means either one of you own it.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:15   #21
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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Unfortunately, lots of people interpret the relevant laws intuitively.
You could run the boat aground somewhere and then salvage it, whereupon salvage laws would apply...

But seriously, ignore all of us and visit an attorney.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:25   #22
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Very saddened to hear of the loss of your "sole" mate.

The only advice you should heed here is the strong suggestion that you take your receipts and speak to a legal expert/solicitor, etc. Post haste.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:37   #23
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

If the ownership or bill of sale states the names in a format such as Jane and Dick jwtros versus Jane , Dick. You can most certainly make a claim of joint ownership.
If the boat registration states Jane and Dick it supports joint ownership versus owners in common.

If the estate claims 50 percent ownership you should then be able to claim 50 percent of the money paid for the boat as owning to you by the estate as a debr kf yojr finace.. The estate can't have it both ways unless they can prove it was a gift. If it was in fact a gift then that should in fact support an argument for it being a joint asset. I suspect you should claim yours as a creditor of his estate and then just sign that off for undisputed full ownership of the boat. If everybody is reasonable you might not need a lawyer. Some cultures are more litigation prone than others. Try and settle it as a prudent person as soon as one lawyer gets involved sanity goes out the window.

Sorry for your loss. How would he want you to handle it? That is a good indicator of the situation?

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Old 12-05-2015, 09:53   #24
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

You have said earlier that you have not registered ownership. If that's the case get the seller to write you a new receipt in your name only and then transfer ownership from the seller to you. If you have registered the ownership then the new ownership will say if you are joint owners or joint owners with survivorship. The latter means it's yours. The former means you need a lawyer.
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:16   #25
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I am very sorry for your loss, but honestly, this is not the time to be getting your advice from a bunch of strangers on an internet forum. You need to talk to a lawyer. Internet legal advice is worth exactly what you pay for it... Nothing!

That said, I would probably (as someone else suggested) treat it like it is mine. Maybe even move it somewhere else. Get started on converting the title to your name only (you probably need a lawyer's help for that, too).

Good luck, and my deepest sympathies.
With evidence of Purchase and Bill of Sale you should have no problem with Registering the Vessel in your name~~ Go for it and your problem is solved~
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:34   #26
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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Unless a UK lawyer happens to pass through, willing to dish out free legal advice, you are asking in a wrong place. This sounds like just the kind of question worth spending a hundred quid to get a good answer.
I can highly recommend Leah Steele at Hugh-James.

The company boasts that they've been described, by a lawyer reviews organisation, as "head and shoulders above the rest for contentious probate" and Leah has told me she joined the company specifically for their reputation in this field.

Personally, not only did I find her sympathetic at at very difficult time, only weeks after my father's death, but I chose her because I was impressed at how incisive she was, noticing details that were overlooked by other solicitors I talked to.

You might, alternatively, wish to search for a solicitor who specialises in maritime matters - as I'm a newcomer to sailing, I'm unfamiliar as to the significance of the bill of sale.

I'm sure you don't have anything to worry about OP, but IMO you should talk to a solicitor as soon as possible, to make sure that all your bases are covered. I'm sure no problem will arise if your fiancé's family are reasonable people, but your solicitor might want to do something like writing a letter to the presumed executor, stating that the boat is not part of the estate. If you get along well with your fiancé's family, you can tell them "it's no big deal, it's just part of the paperwork that we both have to do" and I'm sure they'll be fine with it.

I'm very sorry for your loss, OP.

(Mods and regulars - sorry my first post here is recommending a supplier. I have been reading the forum for some time, and you can find comments by me under the same nick at the YBW forums and edits to the cruiserswiki, again under the same nick.)
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Old 12-05-2015, 10:55   #27
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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My gorgeous fiance died unexpectedly. We bought a cruiser recently and are both named on the bill of sale, my bank card was used to pay both deposit and balance. We were due to be married very soon so were going to write wills afterwards. He had no will at the time he died.
Can anyone give advice as to the legal position, does the boat automatically transfer to me? There is nothing on the bill of sale regarding survivorship or tenancy, no mention of shares. English law applies.
Any help gratefully received, am devastated at the loss of my soul mate and the boat was our haven, terrified at the thought I might have to sell it.
If you can show the deposit and balance came from your accounts and you are named in the boats papers then surely the onus is on your former partners beneficiaries to show the boat is part of his estate. Don't automatically assume they have a superior claim because he was the male and died first.
Without prying into your personal affairs if you cohabitation and shared finances and other property you may be able to demonstrate that under UK law you were his common law wife and thus entitled to ALL of his estate.

Anyway, as said many times you need proper legal advice. One word of caution in cases of contested estates regardless of who wins the lawyers are paid first. This often leaves little to be finally distributed and is a strong incentive to settle out of court.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:15   #28
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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If you can show the deposit and balance came from your accounts and you are named in the boats papers then surely the onus is on your former partners beneficiaries to show the boat is part of his estate.
I, too, believe this may be the case, but not only can legal disputes be slow, tedious and stressful, but they can feel like nothing to do with what's "fair" or what you'd call "justice".

Best to head off a collision before it even comes on the radar.

I'd want to speak to a lawyer before the estate enters probate.

When it comes to these kinds of disputes, even the nicest most reasonable people can stitch you up, because they have a different conception of the "fairness" of the situation from what you do. These situations seem to be highly unpredictable.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:40   #29
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Thank you all for your replies.

I am uncertain at present if I want to keep the boat as it was our escape. But I could not afford to buy out the estate if that is how it ends up.

Looks like I will have to find a solicitor....ouch! I've spent all my money on the boat and setting her up for the year...
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:02   #30
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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You could run the boat aground somewhere and then salvage it, whereupon salvage laws would apply...
Yah, this is the ticket - take it out for a sail and abandon it. As soon as you are off the boat you can say "oh look here - an abandoned sailboat. I think I'll salvage her" and climb back on. Case closed!
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