*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

Most couples have assets that they own jointly together with their spouse. However, you may be surprised to learn that for most cases, these jointly owned assets do not form part of your estate when you pass away. Let’s take a look at some common types of assets.

Real Estate

When you own real estate together with another person, it is can be registered on title in two ways: Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.

Joint Tenants

If your property is registered as joint tenants, it means that each owner does not own a specific share of the property but rather the whole property jointly. In this case, when one co-owner dies, the property will automatically pass to the surviving owner/owners. Accordingly, this asset will not form part of your actual estate.

Tenants in Common

In some cases, property is registered as tenants in common. This means that each person listed on the title deed owns a specific share of the property. If the property is owned as tenants in common, the specific share you own forms part of your estate. You can accordingly, gift the percentage you own to whoever you choose in your will.

Bank Accounts

When a bank account is held jointly, that bank account and its entire balance passes automatically to the surviving co-owner of the bank account. Accordingly, this account will not form part of your estate.

However, it is important to note that being a signatory to an account is not the same as holding an account jointly with someone.


Shares held jointly will usually pass automatically to the surviving co-owner and accordingly will not form part of your estate.

Notional Estate

In New South Wales, in certain circumstances, when a family provision claim under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) is made, property jointly held may be ‘clawed back’ into the estate to make provision for the applicant.

Contact us today to discuss your assets and how to ensure your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes after you pass away.