If you co-own a property with someone else as a tenant in common, you both own a specific share of the property. But if the other co-owner dies, you don’t automatically inherit their share – it will depend on whether or not they left a Will.
We understand that losing someone can be a very emotional and distressing time. If you’ve lost someone that you owned a property with, and you’re unsure what your options are, our experienced Probate Lawyers will be happy to discuss your situation with you.
Get in touch today for free initial legal advice.
If there’s a Will
If a person has died and left a Will, they will have specified who they wished to leave their Estate to. This includes their share of the property they co-owned.
This means that even if you and an unmarried partner own a property as tenants in common, your share of the property will only go to your partner if you specify this in your Will.
If there’s no Will
When someone dies without leaving behind a Will, it means they died ‘intestate’. Their Estate is then divided by the Rules of Intestacy, which outlines the order in which assets should be distributed to their family members.
So if a co-owner dies without a Will, their share of the property will pass to their next of kin as determined by the Rules of Intestacy.
When you buy a property with someone, you will be asked whether you want to hold the property as ‘Joint Tenants’ or as Tenants in Common’.
If you own your house as ‘Joint Tenants’ when one of the joint tenant die, ownership of the property automatically goes to the surviving joint tenant under a Right of Survivorship.
What are my Options?
You have a few different options if a tenant in common dies:
- If you want to sell the property, you can do this in agreement with the person who inherited the late tenant in common’s share (this person will be known as the beneficiary)
- If you want to keep the property, you could either buy out the beneficiary so you get their share too, or you might want to find someone else to buy the share and become the new tenant in common
- If the beneficiary wants to keep the property, they may choose to become the other tenant in common, or buy you out so they own the whole property
Hopefully you can reach an agreement together over what to do with the property. But if you can’t and one of you can choose to take it to Court, it will decide how to separate the property shares for you.
Do Tenants in Common have to go through Probate?
Yes, you’ll still need to go through Probate after a tenant in common dies. This is because their share of the property is part of their Estate, so someone will still need to apply for the legal right to deal with the Estate and all its assets.
For joint tenants, Probate probably won’t be needed to deal with the property, as the property will pass automatically to the surviving joint tenant rather than being distributed to beneficiaries.
Speak to a Probate Solicitor
If you’d like support with any part of the Probate process, get in touch for free initial legal advice. Our expert Probate Team can do as much or as little of the work that you need us to.
We also offer a Full Probate Service where we can handle the whole process for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Get in touch to speak about the best option for you.
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