Ensuring your beneficiaries can enjoy the benefits of your hard work
Most couples who jointly own their home believe they each own 50%. In fact, it’s most likely that they will be ‘Joint Tenants’, with each partner effectively owning 100% - if one dies, the survivor automatically inherits the whole property.
While at first glance this might this seem fine for most, it can cause problems as we explain below. The solution is to change the title of the property so you become ‘Tenants in Common’, with each partner owning half (or another specified percentage) of the house and entitling them to leave their share of the property to whomever they wish in their Will.
If you die first under Joint Tenancy your spouse will inherit your property. They may fully intend to ultimately pass the whole estate onto your children, but if they remarry and are the first to die in the new relationship, their new partner inherits it all unless a Will stipulates otherwise.
Joint tenancy can also mean that virtually the whole of your property can be set against either partner’s care fees before the local authority offers help.
In conjunction with your Will and / or a Discretionary Trust, owning your property as Tenants in Common can help stop both of these problems, as well as save higher inheritance tax bills for your beneficiaries if you are an unmarried couple.
The current inheritance tax threshold – which unmarried couples with Joint property can more easily fall foul of.