Tenants in common - wills

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andrew54
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Tenants in common - wills

Post by andrew54 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:19 pm

How do I find out if my wife and I are "joint tenants" or "tenants in common"?

I understand that the difference between the two is mainly a difference about what happens if one joint owner dies. If a property is held as "joint tenants" then when one of the joint owners dies the property belongs automatically to the surviving joint owner.

We have never seen the need to make wills, and if we are 'joint tenants' I still see little need, but I can't find out which we are.

We bought our house 26 years ago, and it is now 28 years old. The mortgage was paid off years ago, so I have the deeds and land registry plan in a drawer (!) but it doesn't seem to say. I would guess the house is now worth about 200 thousand.

despair
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Post by despair » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:33 pm

If your house purchase was made 28 yrs ago in all probability its deeds are not set up as "joint tenants in common " because they seldom did it then

You can easiliy change that with a standard form completed and logged with the Land Registry

Whats more important is to calculate your total assets and see if each half of the total would exceed the Inheritance Tax Band currently £275,000

because anything over that would attract IHT at 40%

You can mitigate this by getting a solicitor to set up

Dual wills with Nil Rate Band loan trusts .........costs about £500

then when one of you dies the other half of the estate is transfered to the trust with an IOU and in turn can be deeded to your children

This way when the spouse also dies the 40%IHT is only levied on the excess over the IHT limit on their half share

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:49 pm

Despair wrote...
If your house purchase was made 28 yrs ago in all probability......

Errr, I thought I made it clear that we bought the house 26 years ago?

But thanks anyway.

Reading on the 'net I thought the options were 'joint tenants' and 'tenants in common' but you are now confusing me by mentioning "joint tenants in common".

Conveyancer
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Post by Conveyancer » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:25 pm

I am sure "joint tenants in common" was a slip of the fingers on the keyboard.

Consult your solicitor and he will tell you how you and your wife hold the property. All he needs to do is look at the deeds. If you hold as joint tenants and your solicitor advises you to sever the joint tenancy for tax purposes it can be done very easily indeed.

You MUST MUST MUST make a will. If your estate is over a certain figure (not sure what it is without checking but you can easily exceed it if you are a property owner with no mortgage) your wife may not necessarily get the whole estate outright, particularly if you have children. You may win the lottery and die of shock! You also need to make a will to provide for what happens should you and your wife have the misfortune to die together in an accident. If that happens your estate may go to relatives you do not wish to benefit if you die without making a will.

Quite apart from all that if you make a will everyone knows what your wishes are.

Don't delay - make an appointment tomorrow.

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:37 pm

Sorry Conveyancer, but I just don't have faith in these professionals. I have heard of so many problems with wills drawn up by solicitors.

So long as we are 'joint tenants' I do not see a problem if one of us dies. If we both die, then quite honestly we don't really care what happens, we will be dead!

We haven't used a solicitor since buying the house 26 years ago, and the old chap we used then is dead, and the business no longer in existance. If a new solicitor could tell from looking at the deeds, then why can't I tell? With a little help from yourself!?

Conveyancer
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Post by Conveyancer » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:05 pm

I see you come from (or at least live in ) North Yorkshire! That's no excuse for not making a will. 90 per cent of problems with wills arise over home made wills. OK that still means there are problems with professionally drawn wills. Some of the time that is because people don't tell their solicitors everything the solicitor needs to know, although a solicitor should have a lengthy questionnaire he fills in when taking instructions. Some of the time it is simply because Old Fred said he would leave you his collection of Toby jugs, but never got round to changing his will.

If your wishes are straightforward any firm ought to be able to draft the necessary document without getting it wrong. I don't wish to make you think of nasty things, but what would you do if your wife died? Would you make a will then? Would you want your estate to go to your closest relative? You may wish to benefit a friend or perhaps a charity.

I don't suppose your house is your only asset. Even if you only have small sums in banks or building societies having a will makes life easier.

To answer your question I need to ask you one. Is the title to your property registered or unregistered?

By the way I'm not prejudiced against Yorkshire folk (well not all of them) - my mother was born in Richmond.

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:38 pm

Thanks Conveyancer, I'm a bit south of Richmond but Richmond is a lovely place. Why did she, or you, ever leave?

As for the property title being registered, I have a land registry plan, and I remember paying a land registry fee, so I presume it is registered. I think the fee was £19 !!!!!

despair
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Post by despair » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:56 pm

Andrew

28 yrs ago properties were often deeded differently than today

(Back then ordinary folk had nothing whatever to fear from Inheritance Tax ....that was for the rich alone....now its catching huge numbers of very ordinary folk
and you really do need to think it through in the light of todays house prices )



I know mine was deeded incorrectly and it needed altering to ensure Gordon Brown did not get more than he should

There are some very good solicitors and yes sadly there are some useless ones

Conveyancer
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Post by Conveyancer » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:06 pm

andrew54 wrote:Thanks Conveyancer, I'm a bit south of Richmond but Richmond is a lovely place. Why did she, or you, ever leave?
I think she was three or four! I was born and brought up in Brighton.
andrew54 wrote:As for the property title being registered, I have a land registry plan, and I remember paying a land registry fee, so I presume it is registered. I think the fee was £19 !!!!!
Have a look at the register entries. If you find the words: No disposition by one proprietor of the land (being the survivor of joint proprietors and not being a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered except under an order of the registrar or of the Court then you hold the property as tenants in common. If you do not, you are joint tenants.

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:52 pm

Thanks Conveyancer!!!!!!!

I have looked in our documents and read through the register. The wording you give is not in the register, nor anything similar, so I presume we are 'joint tenants'.

As joint tenants I understand that when I die the whole of the house automatically passes to my wife.

My remaining possesions and savings would be below the £125,000 threshold and therefore would all pass to my wife as next-of-kin if I die intestate.

Have I got this right?

despair
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Post by despair » Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:28 pm

If your half of the entire estate ( not just half the house ) is £125,000 that would make the whole estate worth £250,000

given rising house prices plus any savings , value of cars, household goods, jewellry etc could put the estate into the IHT bracket thus any beneficiary on final death would have to find 40% of any value over the IHT threshold and pay it before they were granted probate

Ask the CAB to explain the full effects and also check your deeds to see exactly how your house is owned and what the situation is

Beech
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Post by Beech » Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:26 am

andrew54 wrote:Sorry Conveyancer, but I just don't have faith in these professionals. I have heard of so many problems with wills drawn up by solicitors.
Why not find a solicitor you trust and ask them to draw up a will for both of you?

What would happen, worst case scenario, if both you and your wife were to die in a car accident. It does happen and it would then be up to a relative to sort out your estate to the best of their ability and without knowing what you want to happen to it.
[size=84][url=http://ask4help.org.uk/]http://ask4help.org.uk/[/url][/size]

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:46 am

Why not find a solicitor you trust and ask them to draw up a will for both of you?
Beech, I thought I had made this clear already, but I'll list the reasons.

1. I have known too many wills drawn up by solicitors go wrong.

2. Having studied where our assets would end up if we are intestate we find it matches precisely what we want to happen.

3. It costs money.

despair
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Post by despair » Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:24 am

Well then its your choice

andrew54
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Post by andrew54 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:38 am

Despair seems to be turning my questions about who inherits what, with house ownership, into another crusade to avoid giving the taxman anything....
given rising house prices plus any savings , value of cars, household goods, jewellry etc could put the estate into the IHT bracket thus any beneficiary on final death would have to find 40% of any value over the IHT threshold and pay it before they were granted probate
Our total estate is probably 300k. So when we die our son would get 138k, daughter would get 138k, and the taxman would get 24k. Sounds fair to me!

Isn't it you, Despair, that gets upset that some people have to pay for their own nursing home fees? The government can't pay for things if we all try to pay no tax!!!
check your deeds to see exactly how your house is owned
That is what I am trying to do in this thread!!! Please re-read the very top bit!!!!!!!!

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