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The Property Doctor.

Byline: Emyr Pierce

Q. I own a property with three other people. We shared the PS10,000 deposit and have equal shares in the mortgage. Two of my co-owners wish to sever the agreement but I can't afford to buy both shares. What should I do? A. This is always the potential problem when you own a home with one or more people who are unrelated. Unless you are able to buy out your co-owners then the only alternative is for you to sell the property and look for one of your own. Unless you can find an alternative investor who can assist you or is willing to purchase the interests of the other two owners, or you can afford the repayments on a larger mortgage, then your co-owners, who between them own the majority share of the interest in the property, could force you to sell and you, as the owner of a minority interest, would have no grounds on which to prevent such a sale. Q. My ex-wife has served me with something called a Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy on the house we used to own and live in together. What effect could this have on me? A. One of the first steps taken by spouses when they separate is to serve a Notice of Severance of the Joint Tenancy of the home owned between them. This means that, as joint tenants, the survivor of you would inherit the deceased party's share in the event of the death of one of the owners. By serving a notice, one party is notifying the other that they wish to own the property jointly as tenants in common. The main difference with this is that, in the event of the death of one of the joint owners, the deceased party's interest will pass to the specified beneficiary in accordance with the terms of any existing will or, in the absence of a will, in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. The end product is that in the event of your ex-wife's death, her share will no longer pass to you - but to whomever she has nominated in her will. The same applies to you. Critically, the notice will suggest that your ex-wife will have executed a new will, and you are advised to make arrangements to change yours to ensure your choice of beneficiary inherits your share. Beware that until your Decree Absolute is pronounced, you remain married and there is a danger that your estate could pass to your ex-wife. If your Decree Absolute has been long since finalised then this is no longer a concern.

Emyr Pierce is managing partner of Emyr Pierce Solicitors in Cardiff, Western Mail Conveyancer of the Year, specialising in domestic and commercial property.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 19, 2014
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