Feb 21 2020

Back to Basics: What Happens to a Jointly Owned Property When Someone Has Died?

General News
Back to Basics: What Happens to a Jointly Owned Property When Someone Has Died?
At NSS Legal, we can advise on the relevant procedures and guide you through the legal process in regards to Wills, probate and trust matters.
 
In this article, we cover the position of what happens on death when the deceased owned a property jointly as well as the effect each type of ownership has on death.
 

Tenants in Common and Joint Tenancy

 
The difference between these two types of ownership affects how a property passes after the death of one of the owners.
 

Joint Tenancy

 
Where the property is held as joint tenants, the owners collectively own the entire property. In legal terms, this means that despite having various owners attached to the property, there are no defined shares.
 

Tenants in Common

 
Under this type of ownership, each owner owns a defined share in the property.  The way in which this is set up will depend on how the owners decide to split the ratio between themselves. It could be based on their respective contributions or they may decide to hold it in equal shares, regardless of who put in what.   
 

What is the Declaration of Trust?

 
Where the property is owned as tenants in common, we would recommend you consider a Declaration of Trust and NSS Legal can advise you on this. This is a trust deed which specifically sets out how the property is owned and what happens when one of the co-owners dies or wishes to sell their share.
 

What Happens to Jointly Owned Property if a Valid Will is Not in Place?

 
The effect on death of one of the owners where the property is owned as joint tenants is that their share automatically passes to the surviving owners. This is regardless of whether there are Wills in place or not.
 
Under a tenancy in common however, as each owner has a specific and defined share, they are free to dispose of it as they wish under their Will.
 

The Rules of Intestacy

 
If there is no valid Will in place, the share passes under the rules of intestacy. This prescribes which members of your family receives your estate.
 
For more information on this procedure, take a look at our article on What Happens If Someone Does Not Have a Valid Will to understand more about this process.
 

Jointly Owned Property and Inheritance Tax

 
Whether inheritance tax is payable on a jointly owned property will depend on the value of the asset, the entire estate value and who the beneficiary is.
 
A discount may be applicable to the value of a jointly owned property to reflect the difficulty in being able to sell such a share. The percentage which can be claimed varies according to the circumstances and NSS Legal can assist with this.
 

How Can NSS Legal Help

 
NSS Legal Ltd can assist by clarifying how you presently own jointly held property and assist with severing or restoring a Joint Tenancy.
 
As part of the administration process, NSS Legal Ltd can provide advice on how to value the deceased’s estate. See our article on Things a Personal Representative Should be Aware of.  
 
NSS Legal are London based solicitors in Golders Green. If you need advice or guidance on any of the above information, please contact us on 020 8209 1222 or email us on info@nsslegal.co.uk 
 
NSS Legal CTA

back to top