Your house is usually the most expensive asset you own. It is therefore important that you know what will happen to it when you die if you jointly own it with another person e.g. your spouse, partner etc.
There are two basic ways in which you may jointly own your house either as a joint tenant or as a tenant in common.
If you own your house with another person as a "joint tenant" - on your death the house will not pass under the terms of your will but will instead automatically be gifted to the surviving joint owner(s). If the house is not registered at the Land Registry your executors should place a copy of your death certificate with the deeds to the house. If the house is registered at the Land Registry your executors should contact the Land Registry to remove your name from the register of owners.
If you own your house with another person as a "tenant in common" then your share of the property will be gifted under the terms of your Will i.e. you can chose who you would like to gift it to. If you have no will then a set of rules known as the intestacy rules will determine who inherits your share of the house. Your executors (or administrators if you did not leave a Will) will need to obtain a grant of probate (or a grant of letters of administration) from the court to transfer your share of the house to the new owner. They will then need to employ a conveyancer to transfer your share of the house to the new owner(s).
It is therefore very important that you know how you jointly own your house and that you make a Will clearly setting out who is to inherit your share of the house on your death.
Fosters Solicitors provide comprehensive advice and assistance to anyone who wishes to make a Will or anyone needing help to convey a property when someone has died.
For further information about any aspect of making a Will, creating a Trust or administering an estate please telephone Fosters' Wills, Trust and Probate solicitors on 01603 620508.