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Legal News | 11.02.21

What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is ….?

It can come as a surprise to learn that there are two ways to co-own property under English law – either as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

As joint tenants, the joint owners share the whole property equally. Furthermore, when one joint tenant dies, their share automatically passes equally to the surviving joint tenants, regardless of what is written in the deceased’s Will. This automatic transfer of the property is known as the ‘right of survivorship’.

Tenants in common are able to own the property in shares of varying sizes (although it is still possible to own equal shares as tenants in common). However, the right of survivorship does not apply to this this type of joint ownership. When one tenant in common dies, their share of the property will pass in accordance of the provisions in their Will (or under the rules of intestacy if they do not have a Will).

It is possible to change between the two types of joint ownership:

• If you currently own a property as joint tenants, but you would like to change to tenants in common, you can ‘sever’ the joint tenancy. This can be done with the agreement of all joint tenants, or by one joint tenant serving written notice of the severance on the other owners.

• If you currently own a property as tenants in common, but would like to change to joint tenants, this can be done with the agreement of all joint owners.

Converting the ownership of your property to tenants in common is vital if you wish to leave your share in any property other than outright to your co-owner on your death. Wansbroughs can help if you are considering changing the way you jointly own your property.

To find out more, please get in touch with your usual Wansbroughs contact or email the Private Client team at wealth@wansbroughs.com.


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team