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Do I need to make a Will now that I am a Home Owner?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Although it’s not a legal requirement to have a Will when you buy a house it can make a lot of sense to put one in place.

When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their estate (which includes the property) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy.

The intestacy provisions set out a strict class of members that can inherit from the deceased’s estate. Unmarried partners or people who are co-habiting are not recognised by these provisions.

If you are buying a property jointly with someone else you must take the time to give proper consideration as to how you will hold the property with the other party. Jointly owned property creates a trust of land and there are several ways in which you can hold a property between you:-

Joint Tenants – if one of you dies the survivor will automatically receive the other’s share in the property. It will pass outside of any provisions made within your Will and you cannot specify specific shares in the property.

Tenants in Common in equal shares – in this scenario you each own a 50% share in the property and are each able to leave your share by Will to whomever you choose. If you do not have a Will your share will pass in accordance with intestacy rules.

Tenants in Common in unequal shares – as option 2 above however you can state specific unequal shares; for example 60/40.

Consideration should also be given to what you would like to happen to your investment in the event of your death. Do you want your interest in the property to pass automatically to the surviving joint owner?

If you have children and you choose to hold the property as Joint Tenants your children may not inherit any interest in the property if the survivor then leaves the property to someone else, and this may not be your intention.

If the property is your main or only asset you need to consider any maintenance arrangements for children or other dependants following your death.

If cohabiting couples do not take careful steps to plan, the death of one of them may lead to a whole host of problems for the survivor.

If you need help with a tenancy agreement or making a Will, call us for a free initial discussion.

Stacy Ludlam


Stacy Ludlam

Senior Associate. FCILEx

Stacy is a Fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Legal Executives (FCILEx) and advises clients on Wills, probate, trusts, inheritance tax, lasting powers of attorney and more.