Tenants in common is a term used when two or more people have a share in a property – as in a spouses or civil partners – but as separate owners entitled to their own share of the property.
Usually, the tenants in common will have an equal share of the property, unless they have come to a formal arrangement about the size of each share.
In some cases, spouses or partners may be beneficial joint tenants – whereby when one partner dies, the other automatically assumes the ownership of the property.
When tenants are joint tenants, the property automatically passes to the surviving tenant if one party dies.
Tenants in common, however, are free to leave their share of the property as they wish – it is advisable to set out the names of the beneficiary/ies in a will, as if a tenant in common dies intestate, the property will pass to their heirs or closest family members under inheritance law.
It is also advisable to take legal advice on whether being a joint tenant, beneficial tenant, or tenant in common is the best option when making a will – and deciding will depend on individual circumstances and your own wishes.
Tenants in common is often suitable for spouses or couples in a civil partnership because one share of the property can be passed to children or other beneficiary/ies, while allowing the surviving partner to continue to live at the property and pass their share to any children or beneficiaries at their death.
Being tenants in common can also ring fence part of the property against care home fees if one partner has to go into care – or a couple decides to divorce or separate.
Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors can advise on the benefits of wills and tenants in common, including advising on the tax implications of holding property as tenants in common.
We offer clear, focused advice to clients making a will – and have a well-respected family law department able to offer in-house expertise on extended families, wills and second marriages, and leaving property to children in a will.
Whenever possible, we offer competitively-priced fixed fees for wills and probate matters – and hourly rates for contentious probate matters.
For expert legal advice on wills and tenants in common, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.