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rescuer | 22:55 Sat 02nd Jan 2010 | Law
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My wife has changed her will. Now all her money, savings etc are willed to our two children. She did so because she feels that I will have sufficient of my own should she dies firstl
My will is in her favour should I die first.
However our house is in both names so presumably if my wife dies first they could insist on me selling the house so that they could share the half of its value? I think it unlikely that the children would insist on this but...........

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It depends HOW you own the house

If you are joint tenants you will automatically inherit it whaterver the will says

If you are tenants in common then it passes to your children via her will by the sounds of it. They could insist on selling it - indeed in certain circumatances (eg bankruptcy, divorce) they might have no choice but to do so.

The will might be contestable (by you) - particularly if you become dependent on her.
You've written that your house is 'in both names' but you've not stated whether you're 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common'. (Either type of arrangement is possible when two, or more, people co-own property).

If you're joint tenants, neither of you owns any specific portion of the house. It's your legal partnership which owns the house. When one of you dies, the surviving partner automatically acquires the whole of the house. That rule overrides anything which might be written in either of your wills. (Neither of you can leave your 'share' of the house to anyone, since neither of you actually owns a share of the house).

So (assuming that you're joint tenants, which is the more usual arrangement for co-ownership of properties between spouses), your children won't be entitled to any part of the house (or of its value) when one of you dies.

If you and your wife are tenants in common, then each of you owns a specific share in the house. (That share would normally be 50%, unless otherwise specified in the title register for the property). If your wife died first, leaving a will dividing all of her estate between your two children, they would then each have a quarter share of the house. Things could then get rather messy. You could (subject to having the necessary capital) offer to buy out their shares. Otherwise they could seek to force you to sell, but you could apply to the courts to delay any such sale.

So you need to check whether you're joint tenants or tenants in common. If you don't have direct access to the deeds, you can download a copy of the title register, for £4, from the Land Registry:
https://www.landregis...ortal/Property_Search

Chris
Spouses are not liable to pay inheritance tax whereas others are. If the property is worth more than £250k it would have to be sold to realise the inheritance tax due.
Excuse me for butting in - but happy New Year Chris. x
"If the property is worth more than £250k it would have to be sold to realise the inheritance tax due."

Don't know where this random number came from, but it isn't true. Liability to IHT on death of the second partner would depend on the total value of the estate of the second-to-die - not on some randomly-evented value of the house alone.
Question Author
My thanks to all for very sensible, interesting answers. I will check the deeds which I have. It is 29 years since we bought the house and I don't remember any type of ownership being mentioned at the time

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