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Probate Solicitors Limited - Joint Tenancy/Tenancy in Common

Jointly owned property

Many couples share ownership of property. This may be assets such as a joint bank account or "real property" such as land and buildings. In England and Wales there are two different forms of legal ownership to hold land and buildings:

Joint Tenants

In a joint tenancy the owners of the property both own the whole of it. When one owner dies the property passes to the other co-owner(s) automatically under the rules of survivorship. Neither party owns a "share" in the property they only ever co-own the whole. Many people own their properties in this way and possibly don't realise that there is an alternative. Please note however that your equal share is still included for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Tenants in Common

Where property is owned as a tenancy in common each co-owner owns a share of the property. There is no survivorship so they are free to do as they wish with their own share. The shares do not need to be equal. Owning a property in this way allows for IHT planning opportunities which are not always available under a joint tenancy. Again your share is included for Inheritance Tax purposes.


A joint tenancy can be made into a tenancy in common by severing the tenancy. This can be severed in a number of ways including by notice or mutual agreement. However, you can only turn a tenancy in common back into a joint tenancy by consent of all the owners.

A properly considered combination of severing the joint tenancy, a nil-rate band discretionary trust and a revocable life interest can reduce the IHT bill without creating a CGT liability.

Make sure that you take proper legal and financial advice before embarking on any tax savingschemes.

If you would like specialist help on this please contact us on 01564 758055

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