If you are buying property in joint names, it is important that you understand there are two different ways in which a property can be owned.
Firstly, if the property is held as joint tenants, the survivor (or survivors where there are more than two owners) automatically inherit the property on the death of the co-owner, regardless of any contrary indication in the Will or in the operation of the law relating to intestacy (which applies where someone dies without leaving a Will). A joint tenancy can at any stage be easily converted into a tenancy in common (see below) at the instigation of any one of the co-owners.
This is the most common arrangement for married couples buying a home together.
Tenants In Common
The share of a joint owner who dies is not inherited automatically by the surviving co-owner or co-owners, but passes in accordance with the deceased’s Will, or by operation of the law of intestacy where no Will has been left.
A tenancy in common can be in equal shares or can be arranged so that the eventual proceeds of the sale of the house can be divided in any way you wish.
This type of arrangement is often used, in conjunction with a Will, in cases of co-habiting couples, second marriages, or where friends or business associates buy property together. It is often also used in conjunction with a Declaration of Trust, where one of the co-owners pays a substantially higher share of the deposit.
The above is for general guidance only. The law is constantly developing, particularly in this area and you should not make any final decisions without discussing your particular circumstances with us.