Do you own or are you about to buy a joint property? Do you know the difference between ‘Joint Tenants’ and ‘Tenants in Common’?

It is important to know the difference between the two and the legal implications of each option. Whether it is your home, a buy to let property, an investment property or land, there is more than one way that you can own it.

Joint Tenant’s

If you buy a property as ‘Joint Tenants’ each person has an equal share and interest in the property and the property’s value. As Joint Tenants you have certain legal rights that can protect you should any changes arise in the future. For example, if one of the co-owners passes away, the other(s) would automatically inherit the entire property along with any remaining mortgage over the property. As Joint Tenants you can’t leave part of the property to someone else in your will. You also need to remember that should you wish to sell the property all parties must agree. Married couples that own property together would typically be joint tenants.

  • you have equal rights to the whole property
  • the property automatically goes to the other owners if you die
  • you cannot pass on your ownership of the property in your will

Tenants in Common

If you buy a property as ‘Tenants in Common’ each party owns a specific share of the property, usually in equal shares but it can be split unequally depending on what is required.  As each owner holds a distinct share in the property, they can leave their share to whoever they wish in their will.

This type of ownership is usually entered into where friends or relatives are buying a house together, when a second marriage has taken place and one or both parties wish to leave their share of the property to their children from a previous relationship,  or it may be an investment property.

As with joint tenancy, you must all agree if you want to sell the property.

  • you can own different shares of the property
  • the property does not automatically go to the other owners if you die
  • you can pass on your share of the property in your will

As you can see each ownership works quite differently, so it’s important to decide what type of legal ownership structure is best for you and/or your co-owners.

If you currently own your property on a joint tenancy basis you should consider your wishes for the future, in particular with regards to making a will or reviewing an existing one to ensure your wishes for your property can be carried out by the executors of your estate.

If you have any property, will or probate questions, please call us on 01625 429131

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