If you own a house as ‘joint tenants’
Upon the death of one partner, the house does not go into the deceased’s estate but automatically becomes the sole property of the survivor. The survivor remains liable for payment of the mortgage and all the bills. If you cannot afford the mortgage repayments by yourself you may need to sell the house or possibly find a cheaper mortgage. If you are now living in the house alone you may qualify for a discount on your Council tax.
If you own a house as ‘tenants in common’
You may be tenants in common if you drew up a Declaration of Trust when you bought the property. The impact of this is that you can leave your share of the house in your Will to whoever you wish. This can also occur as part of an Inheritance Tax saving plan.
Upon your death, your share of the house will go into your estate. Your executors will need to apply for a Grant of Probate in order to transfer your share of the house to the beneficiary.
If you own a house in your sole name
Upon your death the ownership will pass in accordance with your Will if you have made one. If you have not made a Will then the rules of intestacy apply. Your solicitor can advise you what will happen in these circumstances but we always recommend that you avoid intestacy by making a Will.