Husbands and wives usually, but not always, own property together as “joint tenants”. This means that when one of them dies the other one automatically becomes the owner of the property, regardless of the Will of the first to dies stipulates. Therefore, a joint tenant cannot make a gift in their Will of their ‘share’ of the property.
Non-spouses (whether cohabiting partners, friends or family) typically, but not always, own property together as “tenants in common”. This means that when one of them dies, the interest in the property forms part of the Estate. It also means that a “tenant in common” can make a gift in a Will of his or her share of the property. A joint tenancy can easily be converted into a tenancy in common by registering the change with the appropriate land registry office for the property, which we can organise for you as part of the service, if appropriate to your Will.