7. Property and bank accounts

Money in a joint bank account automatically passes to the other owners. Other bank accounts are part of the estate.

What happens to the person’s property depends on how it was owned.

Joint tenancy

If the property was owned under a ‘joint tenancy’ (‘joint owners’ in Scotland), the deceased and the other owner both own the whole of the home. Ownership passes to the surviving owner.

Tenancy in common

If the property was owned under a ‘tenancy in common’ (‘common owners’ in Scotland and ‘coparceners’ in Northern Ireland), 2 or more people owned the home either in equal shares or a defined percentage.

The person’s will (or the law if there’s no will) decides who inherits their share.

Owned outright

The will(s) (or the law if there’s no will) decides who inherits property that is owned outright by the deceased.

Contact the mortgage company, check the Land Registry or get legal advice if you’re unsure how a property’s owned - you may need to update the property records.