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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10536
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My husband and I own our property bought together 15 years

Resolved Question:

Hi My husband and I own our property bought together 15 years ago and with the proceeds of another joint property as Joint tenants . I just found out that my husband has willed his half of the property to his children. I thought that we jointly owned and upon death the survivor would automatically inherit and own the whole property?Is it possible to change the ownership from joint tenancy to tenants in common without consent from both parties? With thanksMy concern is obviously that he may have done this as this will States we are tenants in common. I couldn't afford to run the home and would have to sell. Would I need agreement from Trustees to sell and would I then have to give them half of the net sale proceeds?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. Firstly, one joint tenant of a property held as joint tenants can sever the joint tenancy so that the property is then held as tenants in common. This can be done by giving notice to the other joint tenant or by committing a unilateral act such as dealing with their half contrary to the existence of a joint tenancy. Here, it appears as if your husband has done so and severed the joint tenancy, from what you say. So now, the property is held, as between you, as tenants in common.
2. If your husband leaves his half of the property to his children, then it would mean if he predeceased you, that you would be living in a house half owned by his children. They would be able to force a sale in such circumstances, or else you would have to pay them a rent to reflect the fact that they owned half the house.
3. If you wished to sell, you could also force a sale. However, there would be no trustees involved unless your husband created a trust of his share. You would simply deal with the individual children. However, if the property was sold, half the proceeds would lawfully belong to these children.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I think I understand but I'm stunned . my husband can just legally change our joint agreement without even informing me and disinherit me from half my property and therefore pension without my knowledge and leave my lifes savings and means to live to his children? Presumably it works both ways and I should will my half to my children?Will it be on the land register if he has changed the deeds to tenants in common?
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
4. Dear Penny, The situation cuts both ways. Your half of the properties owned as joint tenants will not revert to him, should you predecease you. However, the law does not like joint tenancies. This is why it is so easy to bring them to an end. It may feature on the Land Registry if he has severed them. But there is no requirement that the severance be entered on the Land Registry unless he wishes that this be so.
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