How you own property is important when considering estate planning as what you think you own and can give away, may not be property you can gift through your Will.
When you own property as a joint proprietor, you and whoever you own the property with, own it together. As Meg states; "people who purchase property as joint tenants own the whole of the property together. If one owner dies then the deceased’s share of the property automatically passes to the surviving owner. The most significant effect of joint ownership is therefore that the property doesn’t from part of your estate on your death, rather it automatically passes to the other owner."
As property owned this way does not form part of your Estate on your death, careful consideration should be given as to how you own property and is particularly important in circumstances where you are part of a long term second relationship or a blended family.
If property is owned as tenants-in-common parties own a defined portion of property and are able to do whatever they wish with their portion. This means that your share of the property can be given to the person who owns the other share or can be given to someone completely different. This is the same if you own property in your individual capacity.
Finally, if you own property as a trustee, this property is not yours to gift in your Will and must be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of your Trust.
If you think that your will or the way you own your property doesn’t suit your situation, please contact me or one of the other lawyers in our Will & Powers of Attorney team on 03 5445 1000 to discuss further.