It might sound morbid but the ownership of your investment beyond your lifetime is something that needs to be considered when purchasing a property with others.
The thought of passing away is something most of us try to avoid but it’s something that needs to be considered when purchasing a property with others. It’s important because the arrangement you enter into could determine if your hard work goes to those important to you.
When two or more people own the property with equal and undivided share they are referred to as 'joint tenants'. It’s a common scenario for married couples and those in a relationship.
What you need to know is that when one owner dies, the survivor(s) automatically own their share of the property (due to the principle of survivorship), irrespective of what it may state in their Will.
Tenants in common
Unlike 'joint tenants', each party’s ownership does not have to be equal. Shares can be apportioned to reflect the owner’s contribution. The ownership share must be stated on the Certificate of Title, otherwise it’s assumed to be held by 'joint tenants'.
An important feature in the event of an owner’s death is that they can gift their share through their Will, otherwise it will follow the rules of intestacy. Surviving tenants do not have a say as to what should happen to the deceased’s share and will not automatically get their land. This is why it’s popular with friends, investors and couples who have children prior to their relationship.
Put simply, if you are happy for the other owner(s) to have your share of the property in the event of your death then 'joint tenants' is an easy solution. If you wish your portion to go to someone else then enter the arrangement as 'tenants in common'.
Remember to seek advice
It’s critical you understand the difference between the two in order to work out which is the best option for you. We recommend speaking to a legal expert for advice on which method of ownership is right for your situation.
Don Crellin is the Managing Director of Resolve Finance, an award-winning mortgage brokerage and leader in the home finance field. Resolve Finance is part of the Alcock Brown-Neaves (ABN) Group and, on average, help over 200 homebuyers into their home each month; financing over 23,000 homes since establishment in 1997.
Don brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company having over 25 years in the mortgage industry, spanning across Australia and New Zealand.