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Severance of Tenancy

The laws of inheritance don’t always work as we might expect. A critical issue is exactly how your house is owned.


Many people own a house together - but is that as Joint Tenants, or Tenants in Common? Here is the difference:-

Joint Tenants

It is as if you both own all of the property. So, if one of you passes away the survivor automatically owns all of it - no matter what it says in your Will. Most couples tend to own a house this way, but it reduces what you can do in your Wills.

Tenants in Common

This is treated you each own just your share of the property (normally equal shares, but the proportions can be different). When you die, what happens to your share depends entirely upon your Will.


In your Will you may be able to protect part of your house against being lost to outside demands, such as Inheritance Tax, debts, remarriage, residential Care Fees etc - but this only works if you do not own the house as Joint Tenants.


The ownership can be changed to Tenants in Common, by undertaking a Severance of Tenancy. Your Will writer can help you check the ownership and make the change if necessary.

Severance of Tenancy


Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common?