If you own a property jointly with at least one other person, you may own it together as “Joint Tenants” or you may own it together as “Joint Tenants in Common”, as a leading Devon Will Writer I can help.
What is the difference?
Owning a property as Joint Tenants means that the co-owners are legally one unit collectively. Thus, if one co-owner dies, the remaining co-owner(s) automatically inherit the deceased’s share by law, irrespective of the wishes of the deceased’s Will.
Owning property jointly as “Tenants in Common” means that each co-owner has an individual “share” in the property, and in the event of their death they may select who should inherit their share of the property in their Will.
Why is this important?
If you are estranged from a co-owner of a property, a spouse for instance, you may wish for your share of a property to pass to your children rather than your estranged spouse.
Also, surviving spouses are increasingly losing the vast majority of the family home if they require residential and/or long-term care after the death of their spouse. This can be limited to only the surviving spouse’s share of the property without affecting the quality of care they receive. The deceased’s spouse’s share can be guaranteed to pass in full to children after the death of the surviving spouse.
The same applies if a surviving spouse remarries or cohabits.
Please be aware that if you own your property as Joint Tenants in Common with your spouse, and is valued at greater than £540,000 and you do not have a valid Will, only the first £270,000 of your share will pass to your spouse and the excess is shared equally between your surviving children. This could lead to your spouse having to sell the property immediately to satisfy your children’s rightful inheritance under the Law of Intestacy. If you ensure you have a valid Will in place, this potential problem is then avoided. Your Will can also ensure that your children inherit your full share of the property after the death of your surviving spouse.
The above-mentioned issues and solutions are only relevant if you co-own your property as “Joint Tenants in Common”.
How can I Discover if we own a Property as Joint Tenants in Common?
If you have your property deeds or an up-to-date copy of the Land Register, this will confirm how you jointly own your property. If not, it is inexpensive to order a copy of the Land Register.
How can I switch from Joint Tenants Ownership to Joint Tenants in Common Ownership?
HM Land Registry currently charge no fee, and it is merely a case of modest paperwork.
Please use our contact page for further details, without fear of consultation fees nor obligation.