In the vast majority of cases, if a person who jointly owns a property with another person dies, under the rules of survivorship, the property will pass into the hands of the surviving joint owner – this is true regardless of intestacy laws or the instructions of the deceased person's Will.

Furthermore, in most cases there is no requirement for the surviving joint owner to obtain either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration in order to legally transfer the rights of the property ownership; they must only show the deceased's Death Certificate.

However, it is still recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced probate solicitor, such as an Oratto member lawyer, whatever your circumstances, to ensure the transfer is registered correctly.

Joint tenants or tenants in common

Joint tenants own all of a property together and are seen as a single owner. In the event that one of the joint tenants dies, his or her part of the property automatically passes to the other owner or owners and it is legally impossible to gift part-ownership of the property to another in a Will. As such, joint tenancy is a sound choice of ownership model for both married couples and those in civil partnerships.

Tenants in common, however, each own a defined share of the property, not necessarily of an equal value. Tenants in common have the power to make a Will providing for the gifting of their share of the property onto one or more beneficiaries – similarly, if the owner dies without making a Will, his or her share of the property is passed on under the laws of intestacy. This ownership model is popular among friends and relatives who buy a property together.

In order to achieve clarity and understanding when entering a tenants in common agreement, the potential tenants should discus and agree upon all matters and record their agreement in a document known as a Declaration of Trust. The Declaration of Trust is then recorded on the property register at the Land Registry.

Are there any advantages to married couples or civil partners being tenants in common?

There are a variety of reasons why a married couple or civil partners might decide to jointly own a property as tenants in common. These are as follows:

  • To ensure an individual share of the property passes to children – e.g. in the event the surviving spouse remarries or in the case of a second marriage
  • To reduce Inheritance Tax liabilities
  • To reduce liability for residential care home fees

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Call us today, have an online cha, or fill in an Oratto Match form so that we can call you back at a time to suit you. We will help you find the specialist who is best suited to your needs.

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