Legal Q&A:how can I make sure my daughter gets my share of our house when I die?

My new husband wants our new house to be "jointly" owned, but this would cut my daughter out if I die first. What can I do to ensure my share passes to her?

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Question: My husband and I are about to buy a house together. We only recently married — he’s been divorced twice and I am a widow.

We are each putting the same deposit in of 50/50 and we will open a joint account into which we will each pay the same amount of money for household bills. He says that we need to own the property “jointly” so that when the first of us dies it passes automatically to the other.

However, I have a problem with this because he has a good job, earns loads and has no kids, while my daughter is a single mum and I’d like my share to go to her, especially as her father has died. How can I arrange this without upsetting my new hubby?

Answer: You must tell your new husband that you want to provide for your daughter and grandchild when you die. Perhaps part of the funds which you are using for the deposit on the new house is money you inherited on the death of your first husband — if so, you could explain that you would like that money to end up with your daughter and her child.

The property can be held jointly by both you and your new husband, but as tenants in common in equal shares. If you hold the property in this way, when you die your half share will pass under the terms of your will, and so you could leave it to your daughter and/ or grandchild.

It would also be sensible for a trust to be put into place to cover various circumstances, so that, for instance, if your daughter wished to sell the half share she inherits, your husband could have an option to buy it from her for market value instead of the property being placed on the open market.


If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a legal director in the private wealth group of Foot Anstey.

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