A beneficial joint tenancy can be ‘severed’ (i.e. converted into a beneficial tenancy in common) but severance must take place prior to death.7

In some circumstances, parties enter into a deed of variation8 after the deceased’s death which states that a joint tenancy shall be deemed to have been severed prior to death. This does not affect an actual severance of the joint tenancy. It is a legal fiction for the purposes of altering the inheritance tax payable on the estate and for the reading back provisions in the Inheritance Tax Act 19849.

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