Many people own their house as “joint tenants”. This is one of two ways in which you can own your house. You could also own it as “tenants in common”. To own your home or other assets as “joint tenants” can be an inflexible method because the surviving co-owner automatically takes everything.
Therefore, a co-owner cannot, during lifetime or by Will, give these assets to any other beneficiaries, for example to his children to utilise the nil rate band.
The solution is to hold as “tenants in common” and if the holding is already as joint tenants, it can be changed by a rather simple process.
Remember that in a two year period following the death, the terms of a Will can be varied or disclaimed by an appropriate document entered into by the persons involved. However, this may be prevented by changes in the law.
Making a Will doesn’t need to be expensive. Most solicitors charge a reasonable fee for a straightforward Will. Where the Will achieves valuable tax savings, this will normally be reflected in the fee but the savings may be vast.