What happens to Jointly Owned Property on Death?
When considering how you wish to leave your estate on your death, it is important to have an understanding of the different ways of jointly owning property.
Property can be owned as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. If two (or more) people own their home as Joint Tenants, this means they own the whole together, and on the death of one person, the property automatically passes to the other by survivorship. This is the case even if that person had made a Will attempting to make some other provision for the property; the rule of survivorship would prevail. A co-owner can sever the Joint Tenancy during his or her lifetime, to change the ownership so the property is owned as Tenants in Common instead.
If people own property as Tenants in Common, they each own respective shares in the property. They may have equal or unequal shares. If unequal shares are held, a Declaration of Trust should be drawn up to set out the shares of the equity. On the death of one of them, his or her share in the property will pass under the terms of their Will, or if there isn’t a Will, under the rules of intestacy.
Some people wish to pass their property to their children while allowing a spouse or partner to remain there for the rest of his or her life first. In which case, the home would need to be owned as Tenants in Common to allow the share of the property to pass into a trust for the survivor, rather than outright by survivorship. This can be useful, if for example, one wishes to provide for a new spouse or partner while also protecting the home for his or her children from an earlier relationship or marriage.
It is always advisable to make sure you know how you own your property and to have a Will prepared by a solicitor so you can be sure your property and other assets will pass in accordance with your wishes. If you require assistance in this regard any of our experienced solicitors in our Trusts & Estates team would be pleased to help with this.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*