Scotland may be different - and you should see a solicitor in any case.
But, assuming that you would want your wife to inherit the house if you
die first, this is much simpler if it's in joint names because it would
be automatic, and your wife wouldn't be involved in probate etc. as far
as the property is concerned. Equally, you would again become the sole
owner were she to die first.
If you want to change it you will need a solicitor to re-register the
deeds in joint names - probably cost a few hundred quid.
I won't try to answer the main question, but Scotland has different
rules on inheritance and also has different names for the two sorts of
joint ownership, which may or may not exactly match tenants in common
and joint tenants. As such I think being in Scotland is very significant.
It all depends on what you want to happen if you die before your wife.
And I think you definitely need to talk to someone who knows Scottish
law before deciding. But some brief points:
a. as others have said, Scotland does make a difference: its has
different laws about joint ownership and about who inherits what;
b. if you want your wife to inherit, changing to joint ownership won't
make any difference to the inheritance tax (if any) on your estate:
everything passing from one spouse to another is exempt
c. if you die without making a will what happens depends on whether you
have children but I think your wife would be entitled to inherit the
house if it is worth less than £473,000
So off the cuff - and it is *not* something I know much about - the main
difference I can see is that a form of "common ownership" means you
wouldn't be able to try to disinherit your wife by a will leaving the
house to someone else. (I say "try" as under Scottish law she'd have
some rights in any event.) And I do hope you don't find that thought
offensive: I'm just trying to cover the "what ifs?"
The details AIUI are a bit more complicated in Scotland than in E&W.
But I *think* you'd want the house to be owned in common with a
survivorship destination so that on death, the deceased spouse's share
passes automatically to the surviving spouse.
And if you'll forgive me for stating the obvious, if you don't have a
will making one would be a good idea to do whatever you decide about the
That is interesting thank you.
I remember, long ago, I was selling my house and ended up swapping it with the buyer's house. We paid stamp duty only on the difference in values (the money that actually changed hands). I think that is not longer possible.
There are two forms of joint ownership - tenants in common and joint tenanc
y (the word tenant doesn't mean what we all think it means here). If you ar
e joint tenants then you both own all the house and when one of you dies th
e survivor will simply now be the sole owner. If you are tenants in common
then you each own only a share of the house (in money terms, not on a brick
by brick basis). This means that you can, if you so desire, leave your sha
re of the house to anyone at all, not necessarily your spouse. I own my hou
se on a tenants in common basis but most people will be joint tenants by de
fault unless they do something about it. And I don't think deeds come into
it because they are now irrelevant (I think). It depends on what's on the L
But I'm referring to England not Scotland, where it may be different.
Many thanks to all who took the trouble to reply.
I have learnt some new phrases for the search engine and now believe
that our best course of action is to consult a local (Scottish)
solicitor. The most attractive way seems to be the "tenant in common"
method being mindfull of a future nee for "long term" care.
A form seems to be available for about £14 for DIY but probably safer,
as suggested, in the long run to fork out 10 times that to have
somone who understands the (legal) language.
Thanks again for the assistance.
There is no such thing as tenant in common in Scotland. The nearest
equivalent appears to be joint ownership without a survivorship clause
Anything done which might shift care costs onto the state must be done
when those care costs are not reasonably foreseeable.
If you are over 65, in Scotland, I believe that the state funds the care
component of care homes, but not the hotel (accommodation and food) part