What would happen to my father's share of a house when he dies?

I want to know the outcome if he owned a property with my brother

Snow-covered rooftops of houses in England
The reader wonders who would inherit the share of the house. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
The reader wonders who would inherit the share of the house. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Last modified on Mon 15 Feb 2021 02.02 EST

Q If my brother and father own a house and my father dies, what happens to his share?
KI

A Thank you for such a succinct question to which there is not such a succinct answer.

A lot depends on how your brother and father own the property. If they are what are called joint tenants, if your father died, the whole property would automatically go to your brother. For this not to happen, either your father or brother would need to sever the joint tenancy while bother were still alive by serving a written “notice of severance” on the other. Doing so would make them “tenants in common” instead, which means that your brother would not automatically get your father’s share on his death.

If they are tenants in common, your father can leave his share to anyone he likes – but only if he makes his wishes known in a properly drafted will.

If your father and brother did decide to change to being tenants in common (if they are not already), as well as issuing a notice of severance, they would also need to get the property’s entry at the Land Registry updated as well. They might want to get a solicitor to draw up all the documents for them.

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