Trust of Land claims

A Trust of Land is land that is held by a legal owner, or owners, on trust for one or more beneficial owners.  A typical example would be if you and your spouse state that you own your house jointly, but you hold it on trust for yourselves as tenants in common in (un)equal shares or as beneficial joint tenants.

A Trust of Land will be based on an agreement, normally completed in writing, between the legal owner and the person asserting a beneficial interest. 

Difficulties will arise where a beneficiary relies on verbal discussions and asserts that the legal owner acted to their detriment or significantly altered their position in reliance on the agreement in order to give rise to a constructive trust or a proprietary estoppel.   Where the matter cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to bring an action under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA).

Bringing a ToLATA claim allows the Court to determine the extent of yours and the other party’s interest in the land or property, which could result in them ordering the sale of the property.  They would then determine how the proceeds of sale should be distributed between the beneficiaries and in what shares.

If you find yourself in this situation, either as the legal owner of a property or as a beneficiary, we are able to advise you on the your legal rights and those of the other party, as well as guiding you through the various ways to agree consensual settlement of the issues, perhaps by mediation or other dispute resolution means.  

For more information about bringing a ToLATA claim, please contact Helen Porter on 023 8071 7425 or email

For general Litigation or Dispute Resolution enquiries, contact the team on 023 8071 7412. 

To speak to one of our experts please call us

The information and advice was clear and concise and made what was a very stressful time a little easier.