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Our expert local solicitors for Property matters and Wills discuss how you can protect your home in your Will. Read our blog to find out more. 
When you purchase a property, if you are the sole purchaser, you will own the property in your sole name. It may be subject to a mortgage or other charge; however, you will be the sole proprietor (i.e. the sole, legal owner). If you purchase a property with another person, you will own the property jointly. When you instruct your expert property conveyancing solicitors, you will be asked whether your property is to be held as joint tenants or as tenants in common. But what do these terms mean and how could they affect you in the future? Our Wills and Probate experts have teamed up with our property team to explain. 

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If you own your property as joint tenants with another person, on your death your ‘share’ of the property will pass to the surviving owner. This is known as a right of survivorship, and will happen regardless of what provisions you make in your Will (or what the Rules of Intestacy say if you die without a Will). You could own a property with a long-lost friend that you never see anymore and would not want to inherit your share on your death, but if it is owned as joint tenants on your death, your friend will receive the property in full.  
If you own your property as tenants in common, you each own an identifiable share and, on your death, your share passes in accordance with the terms of your Will or, again, if you die without a Will, the Rules of Intestacy. This is an option that our Property and Wills solicitors see often when a family is blended (i.e. if there are children from previous relationships to provide for). Another common reason for owning a property as tenants in common is to try to “ring fence” or protect your share in your property, if the surviving owner is taken into care. 
When owned as joint tenants, if you die and your property passes automatically to the surviving owner and they are subsequently taken into care, the full value of the property may be taken into account and used towards their care home fees. If the property is held as tenants in common, on your death your half share of the property would be held in trust for the beneficiaries named in your Will. This protects your half share of the property, meaning that the surviving owner can continue to live there, without the worry that your share will be used towards their care home fees if the circumstances arise. This could potentially ensure that your beneficiaries receive half the value of your property, when the surviving co-owner dies. 
At MG Legal, our team of local solicitors for Wills often come across couples who want to ensure that their hard-earned property is not taken towards their spouses’ or partners’ care home fees, leaving nothing for their children. Therefore, if you want to consider changing the way that you own your property so that it is held as tenants in common, our expert team can arrange an appointment to discuss this with you and to arrange to incorporate such provisions into your Wills. 

What if my co-owner wants to sell the property? 

Well, another benefit of the clauses that would be included in your draft Will, is that you can include provisions giving your surviving co-owner the ability to purchase another property with your share of the proceeds. The same provisions can still apply to the new property, meaning that your co-owner has a guaranteed residence for their lifetime, but your share of the proceeds is still protected. 
There are other provisions that you may wish to consider including, which our expert team of Will drafters would discuss with you before finalising your Wills. They can give you freedom and flexibility, whilst still protecting your loved one’s inheritance. 

Can MG Legal, Solicitors near me, help? 

Our team at MG Legal are here to help. Contact your local office to arrange an appointment to discuss Wills and co-ownership of property. Our fees for this type of Will are generally in the region of £250 to £450 plus VAT, but contact our team for a definitive quote for your matter. 
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