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Legal Advice & Fact Sheets

Assets held in joint names

Where assets are held in joint names there are two ways in which this can be done.  The terms are “joint tenants” and “tenants in common”.  The distinction is crucial on the death of one of the owners.  Where an asset is owned by joint tenants and one dies, the deceased’s share passes automatically to the surviving joint owner; no provision in a Will can alter this.

Where the asset is owned as tenants in common and one dies, the deceased’s share passes in accordance with the deceased’s Will or if there is no Will, the law of succession.

Thus if you are splitting up with a partner and you hold assets as joint tenants the above should be borne in mind and consideration given to severing any joint tenancy.  Of course if your partner is dying or dies before you, severance would have been the wrong course of action.  It all depends on events.

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