Conveyancing traps and pitfalls

The Greek Goddess of Justice, known as Themis, in the Brisbane courts precinct.
The Greek Goddess of Justice, known as Themis, in the Brisbane courts precinct. Rae Wilson

SALLY and Sam have been together for many years and each have children from previous relationships.

They own a property together as joint tenants and each have substantial assets in their sole names. They are aware that when one of them dies, the survivor will receive the house by way of "survivorship” because they own the house as joint tenants.

Therefore they make wills leaving their estate to their respective children.

Unfortunately, Sally and Sam purchase another property and are advised that because they are in a "blended family”, they should purchase the property as tenants-in- common.

They do not seek legal advice and do not update their wills.

When Sam passes away, the effect of his will means that his half of the house is left to his children and Sally receives nothing. Sally makes a claim on his estate.

On the other hand, John and Jane own property as tenants-in-common.

They make wills, granting each other the right to reside in the property for life and when they both pass away, their half of the house is left to their respective children.

They too sell the property and purchase another.

They are advised that because this is their main asset, if they wish to protect the survivor they should purchase the property as joint tenants.

They do not seek legal advice and do not update their wills.

When Jane dies, John receives the whole of the property by way of survivorship and the provisions in her will regarding the life interest are meaningless.

Jane's children now stand to receive nothing when John dies. They make a claim on her estate.

It is important to get the right advice when buying or selling real estate.

If you would like Manny to address a particular legal issue, send your request to or phone him on 6648 7487.

Topics:  legal advice manny wood

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