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Old 12-05-2015, 00:55   #1
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My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:19   #2
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

Sorry for your loss.

It would seem his share of the vessel would go to his heirs. Without a will it would probably be a family member. Perhaps they are not interested or perhaps the law is different in the UK.

Either way, I wish you well.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:09   #3
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

it would be best to contact the executor of the estate with your 2 recipts showing your ownership of the vessel before the estate is wound up,so the vessel is not included as an asset
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:12   #4
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

I had heard that ownership passes automatically under the survivorship rules to me as we were joint owners?
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:25   #5
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
it would be best to contact the executor of the estate with your 2 recipts showing your ownership of the vessel before the estate is wound up,so the vessel is not included as an asset
No will means no executor AFAIK.
Law of intestate will apply.
Best outcome for the OP is if joint ownership provisions apply as that (in Oz anyway) means both parties eack own 100% of the asset so that with one deceased, the other automatically owns the asset. Not sure if this applies to a vessel in UK.

In the vessel is registered on the shipping register, the shares of each owner are also registered (total shares are 64). I guessing this vessel isn't so registered but if it is, then the OP can only own the number of shares as listed on the register.

Intestate laws are very very hard to challenge, much harder than inheritance laws.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:27   #6
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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I had heard that ownership passes automatically under the survivorship rules to me as we were joint owners?
might be an idea to contact the RYA legal department on that matter,but unless you were named in the will ,and the boat was worth 44million you might have a hard time proving that to the heirs!
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:30   #7
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

It's only a small cruiser, so unregistered.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:33   #8
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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It's only a small cruiser, so unregistered.
speak to the executor,should be no problem to get it excluded from his assets with your recipts you will need some thing written if you want to register it in your name only
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:38   #9
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
No will means no executor AFAIK.
Law of intestate will apply.
Best outcome for the OP is if joint ownership provisions apply as that (in Oz anyway) means both parties eack own 100% of the asset so that with one deceased, the other automatically owns the asset. Not sure if this applies to a vessel in UK.

In the vessel is registered on the shipping register, the shares of each owner are also registered (total shares are 64). I guessing this vessel isn't so registered but if it is, then the OP can only own the number of shares as listed on the register.

Intestate laws are very very hard to challenge, much harder than inheritance laws.
yes quite true
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:16   #10
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Re: my fiance died, who owns the boat?

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.
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:52   #11
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

IMHO, now it is a good time to start acting like you own it. Move on board and/or move it to a new location and so on.

Possession is nine tenths of the law after and a good old english tradition
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:09   #12
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Sadly UK law sucks ( I could use other words but won't ) if you where a Gay or lesbian couple no problems but as a unmarried heterosexual couple you lose big time , I have experienced the same situation as you when my partner of 25 yrs past away in 2012 we owned everything jointly except yacht but as she had no will the government wanted there probate and death duties which meant selling house and all sundries ,
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:16   #13
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

Plus 1 on the act like you own it.

Am no lawyer, but as you paid for it (and have evidence of the money transfers) then you can a) prove you own it and b) no one can prove otherwise!

The bill of sale being in both names could mean 50 / 50 or could mean 99.9999 / 00.0001 or simply jointly (with survivor getting the lot).

Up to someone else to prove the boat is not yours (they dont know what the bill of sale says and whether there is one!)....and with registration in your name ownership looks official, even when not!

Regarding the registration, not sure where you are....but if in the uk I would reg under the SSR in own name. And if anyone asks (family?) simply say your fiance was going to pay half of the boat to you but never got around to it.

Sorry for your loss - but with death, money and relatives involved do not rely on folks being civilised. Get your ducks in a row asap.

But as said, a visit to a lawyer would be money well spent - both in respect of this asset and any others.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:08   #14
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:02   #15
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Re: My fiance died, who owns the boat?

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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 should have been the first and only response. It is the only correct one.

Go to a lawyer who specializes in estate law.
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