Breaking up isn’t hard to do


BreakupI have a client who recently got a nasty surprise: while they were still together, but after things had gotten bad, his now ex-wife changed their house from joint tenants (meaning they both owned the whole house, with rights of inheritance on death of one party) to tenants in common (meaning each share of the house goes through that person’s estate). She then did a will leaving nothing to my client, and when she died several months later, he ended up owning the house jointly with her siblings.

Unfortunately, changing a property from joint tenants to tenants in common is an easy thing to do and requires no notice to the other person. The only real way to guard against it is to have a domestic contract in place that deals with the house.