Survivorship clause clarification

Would like clarification of the survivorship clause in wills. For example a married couple both have wills that leave everything to each other and in the event of both deaths to their daughter. They are both joint owners of the property they live in (no mortgage to pay) and they have a jointly owned bank account. lets say there are no other assets apart from these. Each will has a 30 day survivorship clause. In the event of one dying my understanding is that under survivorship law the assets above would pass automatically (and I assume immediately) to the surviving spouse but correct me if I'm wrong. So what effect on the above would the 30 day survivorship clause have if 1. the surviving spouse died 30 days or less after the first to die or 2. died more than 30 days after the first.


  • Linton
    Linton Posts: 17,029
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    Yes, jointly owned assets pass immediately to the survivor.  The will cannot change this.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,213
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    Survivorship clauses do not affect jointly owned assets, so if a married couple have no sole assets it is a totally pointless clause. 

    Even where people do have sole assets, in most cases, survivorship clauses do not offer any actual benefit and in a few cases could lead to an IHT liability that would not be the case if the clause was not in place as in the following example.

    Mr. Jones dies on the 1st Jan - he is the sole owner of the family home worth £600k and has £200k in savings. Mrs Jones dies on the 2nd Jan and has £200k in savings.

    If Mr Jones has a survivorship clause that passes his estate to their children if his wife does not survive him for more than 28 days, his estate will not be covered by spousal exemption so both his NRB and RNRB will be fully used up leaving £300k subject to IHT and a tax bill of £120k.

    If there is no survivorship clause then there is no IHT due on Mr Jones estate as it is covered by spousal exemption and none on Mrs. Jones as that estate can use the transferable NRBs from Mr Jones’ estate.

  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,345
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    Though there would be no practical difference (i.e. daughter gets everything), for as long as their Wills mirror each other and the daughter survives them both.
  • UE40KU6000
    UE40KU6000 Posts: 8
    First Post
    Many thanks for your replies - now I know!
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