Joint ownership of property – are you joint owners or tenants in common?
One of the areas of advice that I regularly come across when assisting couples make their Wills is the type of house ownership they have. This is most relevant since the consequences of owning it one way or another are indeed very different. And it is not uncommon for couples not knowing what type of ownership they have!
If you both own the property, you may own it jointly or as tenants in common. A joint ownership means that on death, the surviving co-owner has an automatic entitlement to the deceased’s share of the house and that that share passes to them independently from the Will of the deceased and indeed intestacy rules too. This means that the surviving co-owner becomes the sole absolute owner of the whole of the property. This may be what you want, but it may perhaps not be, if you wish to protect your share of the property for your children or grandchildren, for instance.
Therefore, it is wise and relevant to check your property land registry title - or conveyance if your house is unregistered- to find out and plan ahead to avoid disappointments. In doing so, you will really have the key to that door.