Continuing on with our 8 part series focusing on things you should know about Wills, we now reach part 6 of the series.
Your home may not automatically go to the co-owner
If you own a home it may be owned as joint tenants or tenants in common. It is important to understand the difference between these two forms of ownership, as the form of ownership will have an impact on your estate planning.
If you own the family home jointly with another person as joint tenants, the property will automatically go to the co-owner upon your death, rather than forming part of your estate and being dealt with by your Will. Owning a property as joint tenants can be useful if you believe that there is a risk that someone may apply to the Court and contest your Will and seek further provision from your estate upon your death. Owning a property as joint tenants effectively guarantees that the property will go to the co-owner if they survive you and protects the property from falling into your estate and being subject to any claim that may be made.
If however you own the family home jointly with another person as tenants in common, your share of the property will not automatically go to the co-owner on your death, rather, it will form part of your estate and will be distributed in accordance with your Will. Similarly, on the death of the co-owner, you will not automatically receive their share of the property, it will be dealt with by their Will, or the rules of intestacy if they don’t have a Will, and you may end up owning the property with someone you did not initially intend to own the property with.
It is easy to find out whether a property is owned as a joint tenancy or tenants in common. This can be determined by reviewing the title deed for the property or alternatively by completing a title search.
This information is intended as general legal information only for people living in Queensland and is not a substitute for individual legal advice.