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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Ownership and income tax: legal background: joint ownership - joint tenants

Property is held in the name of A and B. A and B are the legal owners.

In a joint tenancy, A and B are jointly entitled to the whole of the property. There is no division of the property. If one of the joint tenants dies, ownership passes automatically to the surviving owner.

Because of the survivorship rule, this form of ownership is the way that most married couples or civil partners are likely to own property, although for IHT planning purposes couples may later in life separate or ‘sever’ the joint tenancy into shares/tenancy in common (TSEM9220), for example by giving notice of severance. The surviving joint tenant can also sever the joint tenancy by way of an instrument of variation.

Joint tenancy is less likely where a property is held in the name of more than two individuals or by individuals not in a personal relationship - tenancy in common is more likely to apply (TSEM9220).