Your Purchase: General Advice Sheet
I would like to draw your attention to the following matters:
- The Local Authority Search we receive only reveals information relating to your property. If you have any enquiries concerning land or buildings nearby then please arrange to call at the Planning Department of the Local Authority who will assist.
- It is recommended to have either a homebuyer's survey or full structural survey rather than just a valuation report. All survey points should be checked and any price renegotiation prior to exchange of Contracts, since you are deemed to have accepted the property as it is on the day of exchange. This also applies to central heating and all other services to the property.
- If you are buying the property in more than one name you must decide how you wish to hold the property. There are two ways in which this can be done.
The terms are "Joint Tenants" and "Tenants in Common" and such terms apply even where the land concerned is freehold and so the joint owners are not tenants in the normal sense. The distinction is crucial on the death of one of the owners. Where land is owned by Joint Tenants and one dies the deceased's share in the land passes automatically, and despite any provisions to the contrary in the law of succession and even in the deceased's will, to the surviving joint owners. Where land is owned by 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. Generally married couples will own their home as Joint Tenants. They may wish to consider owning their home as Tenants in Common where they are very wealthy and undertaking a series of tax planning measures, or where there are children from a previous marriage, or indeed if one of the joint owners has contributed more to the purchase price of the property than the other. If the Tenants in Common option is chosen then a Declaration of Trust setting out the separate shares in the property must be entered into and we can arrange for this to be prepared for you.
Purchasers should check direct with their accountants where a purchase involves in effect a gift by one owner to another as this may have Inheritance Tax consequences.
If any joint purchase does not fall completely in either of the two alternatives, then we can prepare a Declaration of Trust for you. Please see attached Co-Ownership Advice Sheet.
Any owner of a property should have a valid, up to date Will in force reflecting current wishes. Please contact our Wills specialist Avril Turner.