Should I make a will when I’m buying property?
Posted on 16th August 2019
Whether it’s your first purchase, or one of many, buying a property is a big investment that will be included in your estate.
Although you aren’t required to have a Will in place when you buy a property, it’s important to be clear about what you want to happen to it when you die.
What happens if you don’t have a Will
If you die without a Will in place, the future of your estate will be decided according to the Laws of Intestacy by the courts. This could mean that some of your loved ones won’t benefit as you might have planned. Having a valid Will also means you can make sure your young children are cared for financially until they are old enough to take control of their inheritance.
Updating an existing Will
If you already have a Will, it’s worth reviewing it every five years. You might be surprised how much can change in that time.
As well as when you’re buying a property or other expensive items, it’s also a good idea to review your Will if you are making major changes in your life, for example:
if you’re getting married, because this invalidates your previous Will
if you’re going through a separation or divorce
when you start a family, or another child is on the way
if an executor dies, because you will need to appoint a new one.
Why types of property ownership are important
While your husband or wife can inherit your property, a joint purchase with a friend or partner is less straightforward.
Where you own a property as ‘joint tenants’, you will each own the whole of the property. If one of you dies, the property automatically passes to the other person, who will become the sole owner. You won’t be able to leave what you believe to be your share to anyone else.
This might seem to be the simplest option, but you should also think about what will happen if you both die, in a car accident for example, and neither of you has a Will.
If you are ‘tenants in common’ you each own a share of the property, which doesn’t have to be equal. You can say who you want your share to go to in your Will and you can divide your share between more than one person, giving you more flexibility about who inherits your assets.
Buying a house is one of life’s big events that should ideally prompt everyone to think about their Will. If you are planning to make a property purchase in the near future, I’ll be happy to give you some advice. Please get in touch.
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