Often when advising clients on Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Tax planning, I will talk about how couples, married or not, own their homes. There are two ways in which people hold property. Either as ‘Joint Tenants’ or ‘Tenants in Common’. It’s important to note that I’m not talking about rented property here, I’m talking about legal ownership of a property you have bought.
I’ll start by asking how the property is owned, and unsurprisingly I typically get a glazed stare, or that squinty eye type look. Perhaps the one you have right now as you think about how you own yours.
After numerous failed attempts at explaining it simply, being Italian, I decided to revert to something I love and that everyone understands, food. In this case, spaghetti.
Imagine your home is a bowl of spaghetti like the one in the picture. You both own the spaghetti, and you both eat it from the same bowl. You both equally enjoy the spaghetti and rather like the scene in Lady and the Tramp, you may even find yourselves eating the same spaghetti at the same time. The point being, you can’t really tell who owns what bit of spaghetti, but you know you both own it and you can both eat it. Whatever you do with the spaghetti must be decided together.
Tenancy in Common
Now imagine you take the same spaghetti, and divide it equally into two smaller bowls. It’s still the same spaghetti, and you can still eat from each other’s bowls. It has the same nutritional value and it’s still just as tasty. It’s just split into two. The difference here being, you can decide what you do with your own bowl.
Easier than a Jamie Oliver Recipe!
If you have any questions about your spaghetti, and more importantly what you want to do with it, give me a call.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
Penn Chambers Solicitors
0207 183 1485