It might seem like a strange question to ask! However, considering that buying a home is likely to be the biggest investment that you will make, it makes sense to think about a Will at this juncture of your life. 

 The first thing to say is that it is not a legal requirement. You do not need to make a Will to complete your house sale. Whether or not you choose to create one at this stage will depend on who else owns the home and other your other life circumstances, like if you have children. 

 Buying on your own 

If you are buying a house on your own then you may decide that you do not need a Will at this stage but it will depend on your life circumstances and who you would like to inherit the property. 

 If you do not make a Will, then the rules of intestacy will apply. That means that the people that will inherit the property will either be a surviving spouse or civil partner, or your children. If you do not have a spouse or children, then close relatives like siblings, parents or nieces and nephews will inherit.  

 You might be happy with the consequences under the rules of intestacy but it can help to have a Will anyway, just so that your wishes are clear. Similarly, you might want to leave something to people who would not benefit from the rules of intestacy like a close friend, or a long-term partner, and the only way you can do that is through your Will. 

 Buying a house with a spouse 

This situation is generally straightforward. Your legal spouse or civil partner will automatically inherit the whole property under the Right of Survivorship, if you die before them. You cannot amend that position in your Will so even if you make a Will to deal with your other assets, the property you own with your spouse will pass to them.  

 Buying with a friend, sibling or partner that you’re not married to 

When you buy a property with a friend, sibling or a partner who you are not married to, then what happens after you die depends on whether you own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common. For a little more explanation on what those terms mean, please read our previous blog, which explains your options for ownership. 

 If you own the property as joint tenants, then the property automatically passes to the other person when you die and they become the sole owner of the property. 

 However, if you are tenants in common then you each own a share of the property. Under these circumstances, it is often a good idea to write a Will when you buy the property. That way, you can leave your share to whomever you like, and you can divide it between multiple people if you want to. 

 Key takeaways 

Writing a Will is one of many things to think about when you are buying a house. It is not a legal requirement, so you do not have to do it straightaway but you might want to think about it after you’ve settled in and unpacked all your boxes.  

The two key things to consider are: 

  • The rules of intestacy: If you do not make a Will, the property will be left to certain close relatives. Are you happy with that? Would you like anybody else to inherit? You have more control over it if you make a Will.  
  • How you own the property: If you own the property as joint tenants or you own the property with your spouse, they will inherit the property, regardless of your Will. 

However long you leave it after you have moved in, it’s usually a good idea to have a Will in place and buying a property is one of those key life moments where it makes sense to draft or update your Will.  

We are happy to talk you through your options and recommend trusted Will-writers if you would like any help.