Estate planning is an essential part of managing a person’s financial health, ensuring that the assets we work so hard to accumulate over our lifetimes are passed on to our loved ones according to our wishes. Among these assets, real estate (or property) often represents the most significant portion of an individual’s estate. Leaving properties to relatives in wills, therefore, requires careful consideration and planning. In this blog, we will explore the complexities and best practices of leaving real estate to relatives in the UK, aiming to provide a clear guide for those looking to make informed decisions about their estate.

The Intricacies of Leaving Property to Relatives in Wills

Understanding the Importance of a Will:

A will is a legal document that specifies how your properties and assets should be distributed upon your death. Without a will, your estate would be divided according to the rules of intestacy, which may not align with your personal wishes. Creating a will offers peace of mind and ensures that your property is inherited by the relatives you choose.

The Process of Including Property in Your Will

  • Identify Your Property Assets: Begin by compiling a detailed list of your property, including primary residences, holiday homes, and investment properties.
  • Decide on the Beneficiaries: Clearly identify which relatives you wish to inherit your properties. Consider the implications of leaving property directly to minors and explore options such as trusts.
  • Understand the Tax Implications: Inheritance tax can significantly impact the value of the property your relatives will receive. Professional advice can help in structuring your will in a way that minimises tax liabilities.
  • Consider Joint Ownership: For property owned jointly, understand the difference between ‘joint tenants’ and ‘tenants in common’, as this will affect how your share of the property can be bequeathed.
  • Specify Your Wishes Clearly: To avoid disputes and confusion, be as specific as possible in your will. If you wish to impose conditions on the inheritance or have specific instructions for the property’s use, make these clear.

The Role of Executors and Trustees

Choosing the right executor(s) and, if necessary, trustee(s) is crucial in ensuring that your wishes are carried out effectively. These individuals or entities will manage your estate, deal with legal matters, and ensure that your property is distributed according to your will.

Legal Considerations and Seeking Professional Advice

The laws surrounding wills and inheritance can be complex, and small oversights can lead to significant issues. It is strongly advised to seek professional legal advice when drafting your will, particularly when it involves property. A specialist will planner can help ensure that your will is legally valid, reflects your wishes accurately, and considers all potential legal and tax implications.


Leaving properties to relatives in your will is a significant decision that requires thoughtful consideration and careful planning. By understanding the process, seeking professional advice, and clearly specifying your wishes, you can ensure that your property is passed on according to your intentions, providing security and peace of mind for both you and your loved ones.

For personalised advice and assistance in drafting your will, consider consulting with a legal professional who specialises in estate planning and wills like us here at The Will Centre.