Property Ownership and your rights

How you own your home with your partner or spouse can have major implications for you when they die.

In the UK there are two ways in which you can buy a property or a piece of land with your partner,

spouse or another person(s).

It’s important to know the variation between the two as the implications, should one owner die, are significantly different and may not be what you expect or want.

Beneficial Joint Tenants

In this instance you and the other owner(s) own the property jointly. You do not have separate shares in the property.

This means you cannot do anything with the property without all the other owners agreeing, i.e. you cannot sell, re-mortgage or do anything else without everyone’s agreement.

You also CANNOT leave your ownership of the property to anyone in your Will.

When a beneficial joint tenant dies their interest automatically passes to the other owners, irrespective of any wishes left in the deceased persons will.


Tenants in Common

Here all the owners of the property own shares in it, owning the property jointly. It’s up to you how many shares you own.

In this instance you CAN give away, sell or mortgage your share. You can also bequeath your share of the property to whoever you like in your Will. If you die without a Will in place then the rules of intestacy will apply.


When a relationship breaks down

Many couples own the matrimonial home as Beneficial Joint Tenants, and whilst relations between the couple are fine, then it’s usually the wishes of each party, that should either person die,  the property is left in its entirety to the remaining partner.

However when relations break down and either separation or divorce is looming then severing the beneficial joint tenancy may be a preferred course of action.

The reason for this is, if either party were to die following the breakdown of the relationship it may not be their wishes that the estranged partner become the sole owner of the shared property.

In this instance the Beneficial Joint Tenancy would be replaced with a Tenancy in Common.  This will ensure that should either owner die the surviving one will NOT automatically inherit their share of the property.

If they made a Will then their share will go to whoever they have bequeathed it, If they die intestate then the rules of intestacy will apply.


For more information get in touch with us at Just Wills and Legal Services on 01342 477102 to book a free consultation.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.



Get in touch

Book your free 20 minute consultation with an expert either by video or phone call now

    * Indicates a required field

    Are you contacting us about an existing Will or Product we hold / manage?

    I agree.Sign up for news, advice and guides from Just Wills & Legal Services to help plan your Estate and look after the ones you love. You can opt out at any time and we will never spam you – read our Privacy Policy

    We promise not to share your details with third parties and only contact you with the information you have requested. By submitting this form you agree to receive this information via email. To learn more about our how we deal with your information, take a look at our Privacy Policy