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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Conveyancers “just not good enough”

Conveyancers, many of them solicitors, are just not doing their jobs well enough it seems to me. I have lost count of the amount of times clients tell me that when they bought their house there was no discussion at all about how to own it and in what shares.

If married, it dosn't matter much normally because the Courts usually ignore whose name the house is in especially after a few years marriage, when sorting out a divorce settlement.

But for unmarried couples it can be very serious indeed. Take an example where, say, he puts in £1,000 and she £40,000 and pays the mortgage and they put it into joint names. She has 2 children. She dies in a car crash. Who gets the house? He does. And probably with no mortgage if she had a life policy attached to it.

This is the gist of ownership of houses--make sure your conveyancer talks you through which is right for you. (Ignore the use of the word "tenant", it is correct but doesn't mean you are renting)

Beneficial Joint Tenants
This is where the joint owners are all equally entitled to the property. When one of the owners dies, that property passes automatically to the surviving owner. If, therefore, there are two joint owners and one of them dies, the other becomes entitled to all the property.

Beneficial Tenants in Common
The property is held by the joint owners in set out proportions, which may or may not be 50/50. If one of the joint owners dies, that person's share does NOT go automatically to the other but goes according to that person's Will or under the rules of intestacy.

Andrew Woolley
Divorce Solicitor


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