Are you leaving loved ones a legacy of stress?

Published: 24/01/2013

You’ve written a Will so you’re loved ones are protected and provided for. However could the assets you leave actually result in added emotional stress and financial implication?

Typically one of the most valuable assets people leave in their Will is property. A leasehold property however could turn out to be a financial burden on the beneficiary.

This is said from personal experience; I inherited my father’s house when he passed away. Despite remarrying he had always been adamant that the house was to be mine, securing my financial future for many years to come.

However he was totally unaware that there was only 67 years left on the lease or, at least, oblivious to the impact that a reducing term of years would have on its saleability.

Even with a 67-year lease, the property was incredibly unattractive to prospective buyers. This is because most banks and building societies need a longer term to lend to buyers. I found myself in completely unknown territory, my already fragile emotions at the loss of my father turning into utter despair by my total inexperience and bewilderment at the legacy I had been left. My only salvation being the fact I worked for a highly experienced solicitor who was able to help me through this whole process!

I was eventually able to sell the property albeit at a considerably reduced price and only after purchasing the freehold, something that I know would have frustrated my father immensely!

If you are leaving property in your Will, it is good idea to check if it is a leasehold property and, if so, how long is left on the lease. This is easy to do. Simply contact the Land Registry who will be able to provide this information. Please note there may be a small charge for this service.

Once you know the current situation you are able to make an informed decision about what to do next to ensure your loved ones best benefit from your estate and in the most stress free of ways.

One of the advantages of having Goldsmith Williams as your solicitor is that we offer expertise in many areas of law. So you find yourself thinking about making a Will and discover the property you wish to bequeath is leasehold, we can handle the whole thing.

Content correct at time of publication

Show All Articles