Ask the Lawyer
Q. My partner and I own property together. If one of us dies does this mean that the surviving partner automatically receives the property?
A. When two or more people purchase property together there are two options available to them in how they wish to hold the property.
The most common form of ownership amongst couples is Joint Tenants. This means that when one person dies the property will automatically pass to the surviving registered owner under the rule of survivorship.
The other option is Tenants in Common which means each person owns a portion or percentage in the property. This is more commonly used in the purchase of an investment property. In the event one person dies their portion forms part of their estate and is dealt with in accordance with their Will or in the absence of a Will, under the laws of intestacy.
Seeking legal advice will ensure you are informed of potential issues. For example in the case of Joint Tenants, if you have children from a previous relationship and you die, the property will pass to your partner. Your partner could then update their Will to exclude your children from inheriting, and unless they are dependent on your partner they are unlikely to have a claim against your partner’s estate.
Scammell & Co.
8 Union Street, Gawler
T: 8522 7160