In a recent case, an elderly lady had help from a long-term carer named Miss Meek. Two years before the woman died, she transferred the money in her bank account (approximately £300,000) into another account in their joint names. She did not specify whether she intended the transfer to be a gift of funds to Miss Meek or not.
The question put to the court after her death was ‘who owned the money?’ In the absence of any evidence that a gift to Miss Meek was intended, the court concluded that the £300,000 remained part of the estate.
In cases like this, the sensible thing for the transferor to do is to make a record of their intention and ensure, if possible, that the bank mandate shows the ownership of the account. Failure to be clear on such points can lead to delay and unnecessary expense in administering the estate.