Buying a house together? Things to think about

Advice  |   13 July 2023

Written by
Caroline Burstein, Partner

Buying a joint property is a big commitment that requires careful consideration when it comes to legal and financial decisions. Here are some points to consider.

If you are buying a property in joint names and contributing different amounts, you might chose to hold your property as “Tenants-in-Common”.

You will then need a Declaration of Trust to record:

  1. The shares each of you own,
  2. The right for one of you to buy the other out rather than being forced to sell,
  3. An obligation to contribute equally towards the mortgage and/or repairs and if one party doesn’t how the shares are affected,
  4. A change to the shares if contributions towards substantial improvements are unequal, and
  5. What costs are to be deducted on sale before the money is split.

However, Declarations of Trust are not suitable for married couples as they do not have to be upheld on divorce. The starting point for sharing assets on divorce, including the family home, is 50:50. The court can go even further an order an outright transfer of a property held by one party to the other, particularly if there are children.

Even for couples who are not married but do have children, the court can order a property owned by one of them to be held in trust for the benefit of the children and exclude the owner from living there.

Therefore, if you are cohabiting or married and you are purchasing a property solely or jointly in unequal shares, you should speak to a member of our Family Team about methods of Asset Protection.

For further information call us today on 020 8290 0440.

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