What we can help you with
- Advice on joint ownership
- Declarations of trust
- Severing a joint tenancy
If you own property or are looking to buy a house with another person it is important that the legal ownership reflects what the parties agree it should be. Sometimes it doesn’t! It might be “the bank of mum and dad” helping to get their children on the housing ladder, friends buying together, or unmarried partners getting their first home together.
Often the parties own the property jointly. This is particularly common if they are married or civil partners. If not, you need to ensure each party’s share in the property properly recorded. Sometimes that might simply be 50:50 but in other cases if one party has contributed more to the purchase price – for example from the proceeds of sale of another property – they might want those shares to be recorded differently.
Our property experts will ask the right questions to ensure nothing is missed and draw up the documentation necessary to avoid any problems in the future.
If you buy a property as Joint Tenants, it means that you both own the whole property jointly. If one of you dies, the other party will inherit the whole of the property by survivorship, irrespective of what that person’s will might say. It is possible to “sever” a joint tenancy by serving notice on the other party.
If the property is held as “tenants in common” each party owns their own distinct share. This might be 50:50, but any percentage can apply. If one party dies, their share in the property passes either in accordance with their will, or the rules of intestacy. Their share does not pass to the other owner unless the will or rules of intestacy provide for it to do so.
Therefore if you are buying a property with another person or persons, be sure you understand the implications of the differences and what needs to apply in your circumstances.
A Declaration of Trust is a document that records the shares in which parties own property, if they are do not hold it as Joint Tenants. If you are buying as Tenants in Common, you may not need a Declaration of Trust if the split is a simple 50:50 share, as the Transfer document will show this and nothing further is needed. However is the arrangement is more complex or there are specific conditions relating to the ownership a Declaration might be needed.