Whats the Difference Between Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common?
Sep 22, 2016
Most people won’t know there are two different ways of owning a property together but these are either as joint tenants or tenants in common. They do very different things and you can use them to your advantage particularly when you write your Will and plan your future.
So let’s take a look at the differences and how you can use each of these options effectively.
First, let’s look at joint tenants. If you own a property as a joint tenant that means you both have an equal share of the property and therefore equal rights to the property as a whole. As joint tenants, your share of the property will automatically pass to the other owner when you die and you have no say in this, even if you leave a Will that says otherwise.
Whilst joint tenancy is not a problem if you own the property with your spouse or civil partner, there may be some times when you would not want the property to automatically pass over to them. We’ll look at some of these reasons shortly.
If you are a tenant in common, you can own different amounts of the property, so it doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split. You can also decide who you want to leave your share of the property, as it won’t automatically pass over to the other owner when you die. That means by leaving a Will, you can leave your part of the property to whoever you choose.
But why does this make a difference?
The first reason you may want to change to tenants in common is if you are worried about care home fees. By becoming tenants in common, you can leave your share of your property to your children and after you die, your share of the property remains in a trust for your children and your spouse or civil partner can stay in the property until they die or sell the home. When this happens, your share will go to your children as agreed and your portion of the property will not be taken into account when calculating your spouse or civil partner’s assets.
You may want to change your property from joint tenants to tenants in common after you separate or get divorced as you’ll probably want to leave your share to someone else. You may also want to swap from tenants in common to joint tenants if you own a home and then get married or enter into a civil partnership.
If you are thinking about changing how you own your home, you should seek legal advice from a solicitor about the possible implications of the change.
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