Private client legal expert Laura Harrington-Rutterford offers some pearls of wisdom regarding Declarations of Trust. These are the two common stories Laura hears around couples owning property together:

If there is one sentence that would make me rich if I could earn 10p for every time I heard it in Private Client it would be:-

I trust my partner and I don’t need to put in writing that we own the property in unequal shares!!

My response is always, of course, you trust your partner otherwise you would not be making such a big commitment in living together and purchasing a property together – but do you trust your partner’s mother/father/sister/brother/children!

Why does that affect you?

Well if you own the property as tenants-in-common, what would happen if something happened to your partner? Has he made a will? If not or if he has but not left his share in the property to you, then you could find yourself financially disadvantaged. Your partner’s mother/father etc. may not know of your agreement or may not care.

Declaration of Trust Myth

I put in the deposit when we purchased, so I will automatically be entitled to this back if we sell’.

This is not true – you would not automatically be entitled to any deposit back just because you were the one that put it down. Owning property together is a big step and it is always good to organise and formalize the agreement in writing.

If you would like to speak to Laura about declarations of trust, call her on 01206 239 768 or email