Where more than one party purchases a property in Scotland the title can be held with what is called a "survivorship destination" or in "pro indiviso" shares.
A survivorship destination means that on the death of either party, the deceased's share of the property will pass automatically to the survivor. This clause will override the terms of any Will put in place by the deceased. Survivorship destinations are common where the parties to the title are a couple.
Where a title is held in "pro indiviso" shares this means that where one party dies, their share of the title will pass in accordance with the terms of their Will.
Often, where couples are clear that they would like their interest in the property to pass to their spouse or partner, it seems like the obvious choice to include a survivorship destination. An advantage to this is that that there may be fewer steps required in order to administer the deceased's estate and it could give the parties comfort knowing that they are secure in the property no matter what the terms of their partner's Will are.
Are Survivorship Destinations flexible?
A major issue with survivorship destinations is that once the clause is included, it cannot be revoked by one party; both parties must agree to remove it by having another deed prepared. The clause does not allow for any flexibility and will always trump the wishes of the deceased's Will. There are certain exceptions to this, for example where the parties divorce the clause becomes ineffective.
Survivorship destinations can also create issues in terms of tax planning, mitigating care costs and even where one party may have been sequestrated. They are also very inflexible for couples who have children from previous relationships that they wish to protect via their Will.
When purchasing a property as much consideration should be given to how you choose to hold the title as you would put into making a Will.
Get in touch - we're here to help
If you'd like to discuss survivorship destinations and how they may impact on your own circumstances please get in touch with our Private Client team.
Elgin: 01343 542623
We have solicitors and offices across the country in Glasgow (next to Glasgow Central Station), Edinburgh (next to Haymarket Station), Inverness, Thurso, Elgin and Shetland - and working from home, ready to help in person or over the phone or on a zoom call.
We can provide the assistance you need to protect your assets and your loved ones. This will allow you to put your mind at ease, knowing everything is in hand.