For most people their home is their most valuable asset. It is therefore important to know the options available to you when you pass away.
If you purchase a property in your sole name, this will form part of your estate when you pass away.
If you pass away without leaving a will you have no control over who inherits your property or any of your estate. Your assets will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy which exclude certain beneficiaries such as unmarried partners.
If you own a property in joint names the property will pass depending on how the property is held. When purchasing the property a conveyancing solicitor would have discussed with you how you and the other party wished to hold the property. There are two options:
- Joint Tenants – this means when one owner passes away, their share in the property automatically passes to the surviving owner. This is known as the right of survivorship and the share of the property would not form part of the deceased’s estate.
- Tenants in Common – this means all owners have a distinct share that can be passed under the terms of their will, or in the absence of one under the Rules of Intestacy and forms part of their estate. For example if A owns 50% and B owns 50%, when A dies his 50% would pass under the terms of his will or if no will then in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. This also has implications for B as unless they can afford to purchase A’s share then the property would be sold with 50% of the proceeds going into A’s estate and the remaining 50% to B.
It is therefore very important that you are aware how you own a property when held in joint names and what effect it can have on who inherits and the impact on other co-owners. The easiest way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to make a will to protect your beneficiaries and co-owners.
If you would like to discuss this or any other aspect of making a Will please contact us on 01727 869293.