For one reason or another, many people (mistakenly) think they only need to make a Will when they are older, and won’t bother until something makes them rethink their position.
You can’t take these things with you when you die, but you can determine how they are passed on. Put simply, if you have a Will in place you will be able to dictate through the terms of your Will exactly who your assets are to pass to.
When someone dies without making a Will, their assets are passed down according to the Rules of Intestacy set by the courts. This could mean that some of your loved ones are left without.
If you’re making a purchase with someone else, then the key decision is how you should own that property – i.e. joint tenants vs tenants in common.
If you’re planning to buy a property with someone else, such as a your spouse, partner or friend, there are two ways to go about it. You can purchase the property as ‘Joint Tenants’ or ‘Tenants in Common’.
There are a number of key moments in the process of owning a property with another person when it will make a big difference how the property is held. For example, when you come to sell the property, or if one of the co-owners dies, or if you and the person you’re buying with are in a relationship that comes to an end.
As Joint Tenants (sometimes called ‘beneficial joint tenants’):
As Tenants in Common:
If one of you dies, the survivor will automatically own the house. However let’s assume that you both pass away. It is not a nice thought we know, but say there is a car accident, for example. If evidence exists (such as time of death) that one of the owners survived the other (say one person is in a coma and then dies later), then the house will form part of that owners estate.
If however no evidence exists, then by law the youngest of the owners is deemed to have survived the other, and the house will form part of their estate.
As we discussed earlier, if there is no Will it would then only be that person’s family who would benefit from the house. If you want to ensure that in the event of anything happening to you both, that the families of both owners will benefit, the only way to ensure this will happen is to make Wills to cover this situation.
Firstly, it’s great to hear you have a Will. Reviewing your Will regularly (every 5 years or as your circumstances change) is advisable.