Imagine your property is like this red apple:
If you own your property as joint tenants, then you both hold this red apple together as a whole. If one of you dies, then the apple passes in its entirety to the survivor automatically, so the survivor ends up owning the whole apple on their own. This is the default position for the co-ownership of land.
BUT… you can “sever” the joint tenancy over your property to become tenants in common. This is like cutting the apple in half.
Once the apple has been cut in half, you will then own a distinct one-half share of the apple each. This means that, on your death, your respective halves of the apple pass under your Will to the beneficiaries you name in your Will. It also means that, whilst you can give your half of the apple to the survivor of you (in which event, he or she would end up holding the whole apple, except it will be in two halves), you may prefer to give your half of the apple to someone else – for example, your children.
The other benefit of owning as tenants in common is that you do not have to cut the apple into equal one-half shares. You could have unequal portions – perhaps to take into account unequal contributions to the purchase price. If that is the case, then we would also recommend that you put in place a Declaration of Trust to record the proportions in which you will own the property.
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Jane Whitfield can meet with you to discuss your personal circumstances, your options and your next steps. This would normally take place in our office in Reading, Berkshire. During the coronavirus situation, however, all of our meetings are currently being carried out either by telephone or by video link.
If you would like to meet with Jane, please telephone the office so that an appointment can be made for you. If you would like to take up our offer of a one-hour £95 fixed fee meeting, please click for more details.
Jane is a Solicitor specialising in Private Client matters. Jane is a qualified Trusts & Estate Practitioner with STEP (Society of Trusts & Estates Practitioners) and a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly, as well as being a Dementia Friends Champion. Jane is also President of the Berks, Bucks & Oxfordshire Law Society.