The Three BIGGEST Legal Mistakes Property Buyers Make28 June 2023
Thank you18 September 2023
When buying a property with someone else, you can hold the property either as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.” These are two different ways of owning property jointly, and they have distinct implications for how ownership and inheritance rights are handled.
The main difference between the two is how the property is divided upon the death of one of the co-owners.
When you hold a property as joint tenants, it means that both owners have an equal and undivided interest in the entire property. In other words, each owner has an equal share in the whole property. If one of the joint tenants passes away, their share automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s).
For example, if two people (A and B) own a property as joint tenants and A dies, B will automatically become the sole owner of the entire property.
Tenants in Common
When you hold a property as tenants in common, each owner has a specific, identifiable share of the property. The shares don’t have to be equal; they can be divided proportionally. If one of the tenants in common passes away, their share of the property will be handled according to their will (if they have one) or according to intestacy laws if there is no will.
For example, if two people (A and B) own a property as tenants in common with 50% and 50% shares, respectively, and A dies, A’s share will pass according to their will. It might go to their heirs, beneficiaries, or anyone designated in their will.
Choosing the Best Option for You
Choosing between joint tenants and tenants in common is an important decision, and it’s essential to consider your specific circumstances and preferences. Some common reasons for choosing one over the other include:
- Joint Tenants: This option is often chosen by married couples or partners who want the surviving spouse or partner to automatically inherit the entire property without going through probate.
- Tenants in Common: This option is more common among individuals who are not related or who want to have distinct ownership shares. It allows for more flexibility in passing on their share according to their wishes.
It’s crucial to consult with a conveyancer or legal professional who can provide personalised advice based on your situation. They can help you understand the implications and make the best choice for your specific needs.