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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Ownership and income tax: legal background: joint ownership - tenants in common

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

In a tenancy in common, A and B are each entitled to a specific share in the property. The shares in which the property is owned may or may not be equal. For example A is entitled to 50% and B to 50%; or A is entitled to 75% and B to 25%. When property is held in this way, on the death of one tenant in common the deceased’s share does not pass to the surviving owner. It forms part of the deceased’s estate, and so passes to their successor under the terms of their will or the rules of intestacy.

Words of separation or ‘severance’ are likely to be used. These are words that indicate the property is to be held in shares, for example ‘equally’, ‘in equal shares’, ‘half and half’, ’50/50’, ‘one third/two thirds’, ‘60%/40%’.

Tenancy in common is the way that individuals who are not in a personal relationship are likely to own property. It would be unusual to find that they intended the survivorship rule to apply.