What Happens When a Tenant in Common Dies?
If you own a property with someone else as a tenant in common, you both own a specific share of the property. But if the other tenant in common dies, you don’t automatically inherit their share. Instead, the person who gets their share 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 a tenant in common and you’re unsure what your options are, our experienced Probate Solicitors 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 tenant in common died and left a Will, they will usually have specified who they wished to leave their Estate to. This includes their share of the property they owned with other tenants in common.
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 it 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 tenant in common dies without a Will, their share of the property will go to their next of kin as determined by the Rules of Intestacy. If they’ve got no remaining family members, it’ll go to the Crown along with the rest of their possessions.
When you buy a property with someone, you’ll automatically own it as joint tenants unless you get a Declaration of Trust outlining each of your shares in the property which will make you tenants in common.
Unlike tenants in common, if you own your property as joint tenants, you’ll own 50% of the property each. And when a joint tenant dies, ownership of the property automatically goes to the other joint tenant because they have 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, it’s likely that 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, as the property will just be passed onto 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 Solicitors can do as much or as little of the work that you need us to.
We can just complete the Grant of Probate Application for you or we also offer a Full Probate Service where we can handle the whole process for you so you don’t have to stress about a thing. Get in touch to speak about the best option for you.
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