Q&A - Can I leave my half of the marital home to our children?

05/12/2016

Q: My husband and I own our property jointly. However, I am concerned that if I die before him the ownership of our property would pass solely to him and if he remarried his new wife could inherit our property and our children could be left with nothing.  Is there any way I can arrange matters so that my children inherit my half of the house?

A: It sounds as if you and your husband own your property as Joint Tenants, which means that if one of you dies the other becomes the sole owner.  The alternative arrangement to this is to sever the Joint Tenancy so that you become Tenants in Common.  As Tenants in Common you will each own 50% of the property and if you wanted to you could gift your 50% to your children in your Will. 

In order to sever the current Tenancy you have to issue a Notice of Severance to your husband.  A certified copy of the Notice of Severance should be kept with your property deeds.  It can also be registered with the Land Registry. 

If you own the property as Tenants in Common, then upon your death your half of the property will pass in accordance with your wishes as stated in your Will. If you die without a Will the rules of intestacy would apply.  It is therefore imperative for you to make a Will if you wish your children to benefit from your half of the property. In the Will you can gift your share of the property to them and give your husband a right of occupation until his death.  It would be advisable to seek legal advice before taking this route to make sure it is suitable for your circumstances. 

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

Partner

A Partner and Part of our Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax team in Oswestry