The way that your own your home impacts on your estate plan. If you own your home with your significant other in a "joint tenancy", then, when the first of you dies, the other will own the house in accordance with the law of survivorship.
The way that your own your home impacts on your estate plan.
If you own your home with your significant other in a “joint tenancy“, then, when the first of you dies, the other will own the house in accordance with the law of survivorship.
This may suit your estate plan. But then, it may not, particularly if you have a blended family. In a “blended family”, one or both of the members of a couple have a child or children from a previous relationship and may also have children of the couple’s relationship.
Often in the case of a blended families, both parties want to ensure their own children ultimately benefit from their estate. One option to achieve this outcome is to own your home as “tenants in common“ (each owning a defined interest) and granting your significant other a right to reside in your home (or otherwise rely upon your defined interest) in your Will. The right to reside is subject to conditions and can be flexible so it can apply to subsequent properties purchased as your principle residence. When this right to reside ends, your interest is distributed in accordance with your wishes as expressed in your Will (i.e. to your own children).
Changing the ownership of your home when there is a mortgage usually involves refinancing the mortgage and thus cost. In any event, the attitude of the mortgagee (your bank or other lender) must usually be ascertained prior to changing the ownership your home.
We strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice about your estate plan so you are well informed when choosing your mode of home ownership, and prior to purchase.