What will happen to your home when you die?
If you own your own home, you want to make sure it goes to the right person or people after you die.
There are various factors that will affect what happens to your home after you die, such as whether you have a Will in place and whether you own your property solely or jointly. Even once you establish that you own your home jointly you also need to know if its held as joint tenants or as tenants in common as this will impact what happens to your home.
Below is a guide setting out different types of ownership and some scenarios that could arise.
If you own your home in your sole name your property will pass either via the terms of your Will or if you don’t have a legally valid Will under the rules of intestacy.
Scenario: You are cohabiting with your partner and do not have a Will in place.
In this scenario your property would pass via the intestacy rules, in which case it may pass to your children, parents or aunties & uncles it depends on who you are survived by.
If you are married and have separated but not divorced, your spouse could end up owning the house that your new partner is living in.
If you and another person own the property together as joint tenants, when one of the owners dies the property will automatically transfer to the surviving owner. This will happen whether or not there is a Will in place.
Scenario: You are married and have a Will in place, but you own your home with your parents or a friend.
Even if under the terms of your Will you have left everything to your spouse, your share in your home will still pass to the surviving owner which could be a parent or a friend if you were unable to purchase a home on your own.
Tenants in common
If you own your home with another person as tenants in common, you own a specific share. On your death your share will pass either via the terms of your Will or under the intestacy rules.
Scenario: You own your home with your wife and have a Will in place.
In this scenario you can leave your share in your property to whoever you want. So, it may be that you wish to leave a life interest in your share allowing your spouse to live in the property for the rest of their life, with the property ultimately passing to your children. This can be used to protect against future marriages or to ensure children from a previous marriage benefit from your estate.
As you can see it is necessary to review your Wills from time to time especially if you have a change in circumstances such as when purchasing a new property.
If you require legal help or advice, please call us on 0843 289 7130.
Paralegal – Wills & Probate