Info & Advice

How can splitting up and a relationship breakdown affect your property ownership?

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One of the immediate consequences of a relationship breakdown is that one of the couple is almost inevitably going to be moving out of the matrimonial home.   Sometimes, that exit is delayed by circumstances and sometimes the former couple have lives that take paths that do not cross very much and remain in one property, albeit in separate bedrooms for some time.   Not ideal, but everybody is different and when splitting up, one of the key drivers is to be practical.

Both parties will have concerns as to their rights and how best to ensure their changed circumstances allow them some continuing security in a particularly uncertain time.

Sometimes the home will need to be sold, because it no longer serves their needs or because it is not affordable for one on their own, but if it is viable for one to remain and buy-out the other, then they often need to sort out the mortgage.

If there is a mortgage there may need to be some changes, maybe to take the outgoing person off the mortgage or otherwise deal with the property without a sale.

All of these circumstances are things we have come across and resolved before although it’s rare for two situations to ever be closely mirroring and have no distinguishing feature, so solutions are bespoke.

How would a relationship breakdown affect your succession planning?

It’s important to remember that if you are married without a Will in place your spouse is entitled to inherit a significant amount of assets which may be the greater part of your estate on your death.

If you have a Will and have not separated, it is highly likely that you each will leave the bulk of your estate to the other on death.

A divorce being made final automatically revokes a Will and if you are no longer married then the intestacy rules in favour of a spouse would no longer apply because you are no longer spouses.

In all cases, therefore, you should be reviewing your arrangements carefully.

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