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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  UK solicitor
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My 2 brothers jointly inherited the family home. Both lived

Resolved Question:

My 2 brothers jointly inherited the family home. Both lived there all their lives with my mum. Never married. Another sister has caused a lot of trouble as is trying to get brother"A" to change to tenants in common and leave her his share in house. My question is: can a house which was inherited as joint tenants be changed to tenants in common, when obviously that was not what my mum wanted. Both brothers are in their fifties.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.

Hi

Thanks for your question. I will try to help.

Where two people own a property together, they can decide to hold as tenants in common whenever they wish.

Where one person wishes to change and the other does not, the one who wants to change can do it without the consent of the other person. They can change to tenants in common even though the other person does not want to change.

This is the same for all properties in the uk, it’s completely normal. All that has to be done is the person wishing to change would have to complete form SEV from land registry, then serve a notice on the other owner and then apply to change it to tenants in common at land registry.

So, he can do this whether or not the other brother agrees.

If your mother’s Will express that they must hold the property as Joint Tenants then this would be unusual but it would not stop the brother actually being able to change it at land registry.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back. Please remember to leave positive feedback using the stars at the top of the page.

Kind regards,

Tom

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
What's the point in willing it as as joint tenants then. My mother wanted whichever brother died first to leave the house to the other brother. If brother A changes it to tenants in common then brother b could be forced to sell his share. He could not afford to buy out my sister.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I understand if it was 2 people who bought a house together but they inherited it with intentions one or other would eventually own it.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Does that mean if they change to tenants in common either brother can then sell their share to anyone without the others consent.
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

If it was expressed in the Will that they would inherit the property strictly to the condition that they must hold as Joint Tenants then the brother may (may) have a cause of action against the brother wishing to change it, but I cannot comment specifically because I cannot confirm what was in the Will.

If you consider that the Will is clear on the point then the brother who does not wish to change needs to see a property/probate solicitor immediately as a matter of urgency to confirm his rights.

If it were changed to tenants in common then neither can sell the property without the other brother's consent, because both signatures are required to any sale contract and also (importantly) to the land registry transfer. The property cannot be sold unless they both agree or if there is a court order stating it should be sold.

Tom

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The will states"I give, devise and bequeath my dwelling house and contents to my 2 sons pat and John as joint tenants in equal shares"
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

Yes, although that states they should inherit as joint tenants, it does not deal with the future - it does not state that they must hold it as joint tenants for the rest of their lives.

My view is that it falls short of obligating them to hold as joint tenants for the rest of their lives, but you should still take the Will to a probate solicitor for a consultation to check whether there are any other parts which are more precise.

lease remember to leave positive feedback using the stars at the top of the page.

Kind regards,

Tom

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Last question- will is very simple- no other avenues to be explored there. However if you change it in land registry do both people not have to sign forms. If one refuses does this not hold up process.
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

No, provided the person wishing to change service a notice (ie. a letter) on the other confirming they are severing the joint tenancy and changing to tenants in common then that person can make the application to land registry without the other's consent or signatures to have it changed

Tom

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