Writing a will or updating an existing one should be considered whenever there is a significant life event. You may want to review your will when you have a child, when you get married, when you retire or when you purchase a property.
For many people, buying a house is likely to be the biggest purchase they will ever make. So, it is important to think about who would benefit from your property when you die.
Writing a will allows you to record your wishes and gives you an opportunity to plan for the future and provide for your family and loved ones.
I Have Purchased a Property With a Partner
If you have purchased your new home with a partner, to make life easier, you may choose to draw up joint wills that leave the property and everything inside it to each other. It may be that you didn’t buy the house in equal shares, and if that is the case, then you may want to make provision for that as well.
If you do not have a will when you die, the house and all your possessions will pass under the Rules of Intestacy. This doesn’t need necessarily mean that your partner will inherit your share as it will depend on how you own the house together.
There are two ways you can own a property together:
Tenants in Common
If you own as tenants in common, your share will pass under your will or Intestacy. This means that if you are not married, it could go to your parents, or to siblings rather than your partner.
If you are married, then your husband or wife will inherit your share on your intestacy.
If you have a will, it would pass under the terms of the will.
If you own as joint tenants, then the house would automatically pass to the survivor. So, if you bought the property with your partner as Joint Tenants, then your share of the house would pass to them automatically.
Once you have children, it becomes even more important to make sure your family continues to have a home to live in.
I Have Purchased a Property by Myself
If you have purchased your new home by yourself, it is important you make a Will saying who you would like to have the property when you die.
If you already have a will, it may be important to update this when you buy a new property. This is particularly important if you own more than one property.
What Happens if I Still Have a Mortgage on My House When I Die?
If you have a sole mortgage, then having appropriate life insurance will ensure that your mortgage is paid off if you die. This will allow those who you wish to benefit from your estate to do so without having to worry about not paying any debts.
If you and your partner have a mortgage together and you or your partner dies, the surviving partner will be liable for any outstanding mortgage debt. For this reason, it is a very good idea to have life insurance or death in service, which would cover the outstanding amount. If there is not sufficient money to pay the outstanding mortgage off at the date of your death, then it could make life difficult for the surviving partner. This would be especially so if they had children and perhaps were not in work.
If this would cause issues, it is important that you speak to your mortgage provider as soon as possible to discuss possible options.
There is no requirement to have a will, but once you buy a house and take out a mortgage, you should think about making a will to ensure that your estate goes to who you want it to.
Declaration of Trust
Sometimes, when you buy a property with someone else you do not buy equal shares or you do not make equal contributions to the mortgage. If that is the case, then it is a very good idea to talk to your lawyer about making a Declaration of Trust to set out at the outset what shares you purchased in the property, what should happen if you die, and what should happen if the property be sold.
How Do I get a Will?
It is very important that you seek professional legal advice when writing a will. This will ensure that your will is both valid and also achieves what you want in protecting your wishes and your loved ones futures.
Our friendly and highly regarded team of solicitors can assist you with writing a will. Either contact us on 01603 677077 for an initial discussion of your wishes or download a copy of our free Wills Questionnaire and email it to email@example.com for a quote.