I am often asked, usually by first home-buyers, what is the difference between buying ‘jointly’ or ‘in common’?
Basically, if a couple buys real estate jointly it means that both own 100% of the property. So, if one dies, their name is removed from the title and the survivor is left owning 100%. Consequently, the deceased party does not have the property in their estate and is not dealt with under their Will.
However, if the couple buys the property ‘in common’ (e.g. sharing 50% each), then if one dies their 50% share is part of their estate and is dealt with under their Will. In this scenario the husband could leave his 50% share to a third party, and his wife would own the property 50% in her name, and 50% in the name of the third party.
It is always important to obtain sound financial and legal advice before deciding how to hold real estate. Some people in high-risk occupations (i.e. the risk of being sued) may choose to have their spouse/partner own 100% or they may own in common, with the spouse/partner holding 99% to their 1%.