Severance of Tenancy and Owning Property Jointly
What are the ways of Owning Property Jointly?
When you own property jointly, you can hold it as either Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. There are important differences between the two. You should make sure that you have the most appropriate type to avoid problems in the future.
Contact us now to get advice on your joint property ownership.
Typically, a couple buy a property together as Joint Tenants. This means:
- You both own the full value of the property
- You have equal rights to the property
- The property automatically passes to the other owner when you pass away
- You can’t transfer your ownership of the property in your Will
Joint tenancy often causes problems, as you can’t use your Will to specify who you want to inherit your property share.
Tenants in Common
Owning property as Tenants in Common means that you each have a separate share. It also means:
- You can each own different percentages, e.g. 40% and 60%
- The property doesn’t pass to the other owner automatically after the first death
- You can each pass on your share in your Will
Changing from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common
We recommend changing your ownership from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common to protect your property and your legacy. This legal process is called a Severance of Tenancy – it can be done by a couple jointly, or by one party unilaterally, as long as they notify the other in writing. This can be useful if your partner has lost capacity.
If you want to ensure that your property passes to the people you choose, or define what percentage you have in a joint ownership, a Severance of Tenancy is what you need.
Benefits of Tenants in Common
During your lifetime together
Owning property as Tenants in Common can protect your share from being used to fund your partner’s care home fees. This is because, as your share is specified, it can’t be included as part of their capital when it is assessed.
After the first death
Property is dealt with by your Will when you pass away, so your beneficiaries inherit as you intend.
Tenants in Common is especially useful if want to change who inherits your property share. You might want to do this if you are going through a divorce or separation.
Your Will and the Use of Trusts
It is essential to update your Will if you wish to transfer to Tenants in Common. This is because you need to state the beneficiaries who will inherit your property share. We offer a Will Writing service which can make this process easy and stress-free.
Trusts ensure further protection for your assets and peace of mind. If you take out a Trust with us, we will include a Severance of Tenancy in the service.
A Family Protection Trust will protect your property during your lifetime and afterwards. You must hold your property as Tenants in Common to be able to transfer your share to your Trust.
A Property Protection Trust protects your share of the property after your death. It leaves it to a Trust, rather than your partner. If they remarry or require long-term care, your family will still inherit as you intend.
We offer both of these services and can assist you through every step of the process.
How we can help
We will advise you on the best course of action for your circumstances. After checking what type of property ownership you have at the Land Registry, we will assist you with a Severance of Tenancy to change your property ownership to Tenants in Common, if necessary. We can also provide updated Wills, Property Protection Trusts and Family Protection Trusts to ensure that your home passes on to the people you choose.
With the guidance of our expert advisers, you can be assured that your property and finances are in safe hands.
Ready to know more?
Get in touch and speak to one of our friendly advisers today.