Changing tenancy - a change for the good?
Many couples believe they own 50% of their property each, and so upon death want to leave their half to their partner in their Will. In fact, the majority of homes are actually owned as 'Joint Tenants', which effectively means each partner owns 100%. So when one partner dies the surviving partner automatically becomes the sole owner. That may sound okay at first, but it leaves you no choice to whom you leave your share in your Will, as your partner will automatically inherit the property.
It is possible, however, to own a specified percentage of the property and this is known as 'Tenants in Common' although typically it would be on a 50/50 basis, it does not have to be this way.
Each 'Tenant in Common' is entitled to leave their share of the property to whomever they wish in their Will.
What is the benefit of "tenants in common"?
If you wanted to avoid your share of the property, after your death, from being lost to your partner's new spouse, or swallowed up in expensive care fees, you can leave your half of the property directly to your children, but you would have to be a 'Tenant in Common' to achieve this.
Making the change
Making the change from Joint Tenancy to Tenants in Common is a fairly a straightforward procedure and is a service that we provide. You will also be pleased to know that changing the way you own your property does not affect a mortgage* or your ability to sell the property. (*it is worth noting that some equity release providers will not accept tenants in common, but this is changing)
In fact you have all the same rights as a Joint Tenant but with a lot more choice. If you are sharing a property with a spouse or partner and only one of you has the property in their sole name, this too can be transferred into the names of you both as Tenants in Common.