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Will writing and tenants in common
Many people don’t realise that you can own property with other people in different ways. Furthermore, the way you own your property can have a significant impact when writing your Will.
When making a Will in England or Wales it’s important to know that some assets you have may not pass on to your beneficiaries, under the terms of your Will. This can include any jointly held property if it is not owned between the parties as Tenants in Common.
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Many people in don’t realise that you can own property with other people in different ways. Furthermore, the way you own your property can have a significant impact when writing your Will. There are two main ways of owning a property jointly. These are known as Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common.
Joint tenants versus tenants in common explained
If you own your property with someone as Joint Tenants it means that, upon death, the ownership of the property passes to the remaining owners that are alive and it does not pass under the terms of your Will.
However, if you own your property with someone as Tenants in Common, it means that you own a specific share of the property so that, upon death, the share of the property that you own can be included in your Will and go to the beneficiaries you choose.
How do I know if I'm joint tenants or tenants in common?
There are a couple of ways to check this. If the ownership of your property is not registered at the Land Registry then you will need to inspect the Title Deeds to the property to see how you own it.
Alternatively, if the ownership of the property is registered at the Land Registry, they will have a record of how it is owned. This is something we can check for you as part of using our Will writing service.
Can I change the way I own a property?
Yes, that is possible and we can make it easy for you. For example, you may own a property as Joint Tenants but you want to leave your share of the property to someone other than the joint owner. In that case, we can help you change the way you own the property to Tenants in Common. We will prepare all the necessary documentation for you to sign and where necessary deal with the Land Registry for you.
Reasons to change from joint tenants to tenants in common
Changing how you own your property is sometimes required when writing a Will. You may want to leave your share of the property to someone other than the joint owners. There are a number of reasons why you might want to do this this, for example, you may want to leave your share of the property outright to someone else or place the property into a Trust.
Leaving shares of property in a Trust is commonly seen where you want to protect against it being used to pay potential care home fees or if you want to allow your spouse/partner to live in your share for their lifetime but, upon their death or subsequent re-marriage, the property passes to your children. These types of arrangements are dealt with through Trust Wills.
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