How can I make sure my children inherit my home?




Emma Longstaff – Associate Solicitor

For most people the main asset you own is your home. Most people wish to ensure that the whole value of the property is left to their loved ones.

Unfortunately there are 3 major threats to you achieving your wishes:-

  1. The first threat is the scenario where the surviving spouse or partner remarries and then either:-
  • Predeceases the new spouse leaving no valid Will. The first £270,000.00 of the estate passes by the Laws of Intestacy to the new spouse. If your estate is less than this amount then this would effectively disinherit your children and/or loved ones. Anything over this amount is divided 50% to the new spouse and 50% to the deceased’s surviving children.
  • Predeceases leaving a new Will which passes everything to the new spouse/partner effectively disinheriting your own children and/or loved ones.
  • Divorces, losing 50% or more of the estate (and your children’s inheritance).
  1. The second threat is the scenario where the surviving spouse or partner owns the property jointly with a new spouse or partner and dies first. The property passes automatically to the new spouse/partner disinheriting your children through something known as ‘survivorship’ and it is irrelevant whether you have made a Will or not. However, this can be avoided during your lifetime by a legal process known as ‘severing the joint tenant’. This will mean that the Property will be owned by you and your spouse/partner as Tenants in Common.
  2. The third threat is from Local Authority care home fees, should the surviving spouse/partner need to go into care. Care home fees can be very expensive and can quickly deplete your wealth.

By carefully planning your estate and writing correct Wills you can avoid these potential pitfalls, ensuring your children/loved ones inherit what is rightfully theirs, whilst at the same time retaining control and protecting each other.

A Property Protection Trust Will does precisely what it says. It helps you to protect your share in your property. A trust is set up so each spouse or partner can determine where their share of any property is distributed on the second death. These Wills will avoid the scenarios set out above.

So what exactly does the Property Protection Trust Will do?

On your death, your half of the property is held upon Trust for your named beneficiaries, whilst allowing the surviving spouse or partner to live in the property until they die, or until they die, re-marry or cohabit with another person. Giving both you and your spouse or partner peace of mind.

How does that work?

The property that you jointly own, if owned as joint tenants, would pass by survivorship to the surviving owner. However, for the Trust to take effect the joint tenancy on your property would need to be changed to Tenants in Common.

This can be done with an application to the Land Registry to change the way the property is owned.

If you would like to know more about Property Protection Trust Wills then do not hesitate to contact one of our Wills and Probate Team here.