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Joint ownership and tenants in common

My wife of 29 years and I moved in August 2022 and took out another mortgage to pay for the move, the mortgage was in both our names, when we brought the property and the solicitors put it as “tenants in common” and not “joint tenants” without our knowledge of the consequences, as I didn’t know there were different options.
My wife died of cancer in August 2023 and I’m feeling stressed as I’m now thinking the property doesn’t automatically come straight to me like I thought it should.

This only came about when I tried to set up a further fixed interest rate for the mortgage as it ends soon, but can’t proceed until this is resolved.

Why was the decision made to put the ownership of the house as “tenants in common” and not “joint ownership” when we have been married for nearly 30 years?
is this normal?

The solicitor states that it was on the initial paperwork that I agreed to, but I didn’t select one way or the other as it wasn’t explained to me at the time.
Is the solicitor at fault for assuming this or us for agreeing to it believing that this was the correct option?

Going forward what can I do to change this?
My wife didn’t make a will as we didn’t think it was necessary.
I've found out that half my wife’s share, 25% of the house value is to be given to my two sons and the remaining 25% myself.
it this correct? 
Is there a way of resolving this without solicitors?
Any help would be appreciated 🙏🏼

Comments

  • BJV
    BJV Posts: 2,535
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    Firstly so sorry for your loss. 

    I am not an expert and I am sure someone will be here soon to help.

    However, ref 25% is going to each of your sons, how was this decided if there was no will?



    Happiness, Health and Wealth in that order please!:A
  • Intestacy - who inherits if someone dies without a will?

    The estate will be divided between the husband, wife or civil partner and the children of the deceased.

    The husband, wife or civil partner gets:

    • up to £322,000 in assets, and half of the rest of the estate
    • all of the personal possessions of the deceased

    The children of the deceased are entitled to a share of the half of the estate above £322,000.

  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,083
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    The Sons could do a Deed of Variation to not take their Intestacy shares of their Mother's Estate and pass it to you instead... if both are adults and willing to do so.

    That I'd hope would preserve the transferrable NRB and RNRB to be used when you die?  But I'm not expert on this...

    NB This thread is more suited to the https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/deaths-funerals-probate sub-forum.  I assume you will need to apply to Administer the Intestate Estate and it has a wealth of info and knowledgeable people on that sub-forum.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,170
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    edited 9 December 2023 at 8:10PM
    PRJ31 said:

    Intestacy - who inherits if someone dies without a will?

    The estate will be divided between the husband, wife or civil partner and the children of the deceased.

    The husband, wife or civil partner gets:

    • up to £322,000 in assets, and half of the rest of the estate
    • all of the personal possessions of the deceased

    The children of the deceased are entitled to a share of the half of the estate above £322,000.

    This is correct.

    a) What is the current value of the house? b) How much is mortgaged? c) What is the value of any other sole assets she owns?

    Even if the total value of her estate exceeds £322k you children’s share does not have to come from the equity in the house it can come from her other assets if there are sufficient. 

    Your wife’s inheritable estate will be be made up of half the value of the house less half of the amount owned on the mortgage + any savings and investments in her sole name.

    Which part of the UK do you live? The rules in Scotland are different in that children have inheritance rights on movable assets whether there is a will or not.

    As Rodders53 has said if your children are adults they can make a deed of variation passing any share they may be entitled to you. 
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,170
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    Did your wife have any insurance policies or death in service benefits that might cover your outstanding mortgage?

    This is a really difficult time for you and your children, please visit the funerals, deaths and probate board if you have any questions on dealing with your wife’s estate or just want a bit of support please visit the deaths, funerals and probate board.

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/deaths-funerals-probate
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