How do you own your property and why does it matter?

How do you own your property and why does it matter?

The way your property (including your home!) is held could have major implications on how you make decisions on the property, who (and IF!) you can leave it to someone of your choosing in your Will and whether, or how much, Inheritance Tax is or will be payable.

If you own the property alone, in your sole name then there is no complications as to how the property is held, however, if you hold the property with another person then it may be held as either:

  • Joint Tenants; or
  • Tenants in Common

So, let’s take a look at each of these in turn and their implications… 

Joint Tenants

If you hold your property as Joint Tenants then this means that you each own 100% of the property (rather than a share of the property).

This means that you, as well as the other owner/s, have equal rights to the entire property and are each entitled to an equal proportion of the sale proceeds if the property is sold.

The Rights of Survivorship apply to property held in a Joint Tenancy and so upon the death of one owner, the surviving owner/s will automatically be transferred ownership of the property (although they already had 100% previously in any event).

A property held as Joint Tenants CANNOT be left in a Will, due to the Rights of Survivorship.

Tenants in Common

Holding a property as Tenants in Common means that each owner owns a specified share of the property. This can be an equal share but may well be unequal shares, especially where each individual is contributing a different amount to the deposit or purchase price.

An owner of a property held as Tenants in common can leave their share in the property to whoever they choose within their Will. This also means that Property protection Trusts or other Trusts can be put in place if the owner wishes (this is not possible if the property is held as Joint Tenants).

How do you know?

If you are unsure how your property is held, do not worry! This is something that we can find out by taking a look at the property Title Deeds.

Can you change how you hold your property?

Of course! If you would like to hold your property a Tenants in Common as you think that this is likely to be more beneficial in the long run, then the Joint Tenancy can be severed.

If you would like more information, to find out more about how your property is held, to discuss severing a Joint Tenancy or putting Wills & Trusts in place, call us on 01727 865 121 or email us at for a free consultation

Leah Waller

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