Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter
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No-one really wants to talk about wills, but it's a good idea for homeowners at any stage of life. So, let's find out the answer...
A: Well, it’s not absolutely necessary, but it would be sensible.
If you are relatively young, the whole subject of making a will may sound a bit morbid – not to say premature! Nevertheless, you have just made probably the biggest joint investment in your lives, so you want to be sure that both your interests are equally protected.
There are two different types of joint ownership...
If you own the property as ‘Joint Tenants’ – in other words, what most people actually think of as joint owners - then each of you should automatically become the sole owner of the entire property if the other dies, irrespective of whether you are married or not.
If however, you own the property as ‘Tenants in Common’, the surviving partner has no automatic right of inheritance and the deceased’s share becomes part of their estate to be distributed, in the absence of a will, according to the rules of intestacy - which in practice means that it goes to any living relatives in a laid-down order of precedence, or even reverts to the Crown.
Of course, if you are married or in a civil partnership, that doesn’t apply as the spouse automatically comes top of the list. But if you’re not, from a legal standpoint you are only co-habiting and the only recourse open to the surviving co-owner would be to buy out the deceased’s share.
To be on the safe side, I would advise making ‘mirror’ wills, which basically match and reflect each other so that each partner is equally protected. Better to be safe than sorry.
For more advice on home ownership or any other property-related matter, send us a message or call our highly experienced team on 01392 204800.


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