Think carefully before you change the way you own your property

Did you know the way in which you choose to own your property can have serious consequences in the event of your death?

Joint Tenancy

When you purchase property jointly with another, you may decide that you each want to have equal rights to the whole of that property. In this case, you would normally own the property as ‘joint tenants’. This means that, when the first of you dies, your property will pass to the other joint tenant in its entirety, by the law of survivorship. As a joint tenant, your Will cannot therefore determine what will happen to your interest in the property when you die.

But it can if you hold the property as ‘tenants in common’.

Tenants in Common

As ‘tenants in common’, you may each agree to own different shares of the property, perhaps because of different contributions you make to the purchase. Alternatively, you may opt to own equal shares. Importantly, as a tenant in common, your share is yours alone, and will form part of your estate upon your death, instead of passing to your fellow joint owner.

Making changes

These are important considerations, in light of the imminent hike in probate fees, which, from May 2017, will be calculated based upon the value of the deceased’s estate.

Do not rush to change the way you own your property.

Do not assume that by owning your property as joint tenants, you will be saving yourself, or your beneficiaries, money. It is important to seek the advice of an expert who will consider your circumstances and your needs: both for now, and in the future.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Private Client team about your Will or Inheritance Tax planning, or with a member our Property team about how you own your property, please pop in or call us on 01460 279279.