Buying a house with your partner is exciting, but for unmarried couples, it’s crucial to discuss the not-so-romantic realities of a potential breakup. How will you handle ownership if things don’t work out?

The two common ways to hold ownership of a property as a couple: joint tenants and tenants in common.

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Joint Tenants: This means you both own the entire property together, not separate shares. If one of you dies, the surviving partner automatically inherits the whole property. This is simpler but may not be ideal if you want to leave your share to someone else, like children from a previous relationship.

Tenants in Common: This gives each partner a defined share, usually assumed to be equal unless expressly stated otherwise by the parties in writing (known as a Declaration of Trust). This allows you to stipulate how the proceeds from a sale would be divided in case of a separation, perhaps to reflect unequal contributions either to the purchase price or any mortgage payments. A Declaration of Trust protects both parties by outlining a clear agreement, avoiding future disputes.

Considering these ownership options and whether a Declaration of Trust is appropriate can save you significant emotional and financial hassle if your relationship ends.

If you are either contemplating purchasing a property with someone and would like some advice with regards to declarations of trust to protect your interests, or you have already purchased a property without a declaration of trust in place and would like some advice on your legal position, then please contact, or call 01825 762281 and we would be happy to help.

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