Jointly owned artwork

If two cousins jointly inherited a piece of artwork under the intestacy rules what happens when one of them dies - does it pass to the surviving co-owner or under their own Will/intestacy?

Many thanks

Anne Duguid


LGP Solicitors

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In the absence of further information the beneficiaries will inherit as joint beneficial tenants (not tenants in common).

On either death the deceased’s interest will pass by survivorship.

Either beneficiary could (in lifetime) sever the joint beneficial tenancy if desired.

Malcolm Finney


The cousins will take subject to the statutory trusts (set out in s.47 Administration of Estates Act 1925).

Under the statutory trusts, the entitlement is contingent upon attaining age 18, so that if the cousins are both over the age of 18 when the first one dies, their interests have vested “in equal shares” so that the deceased cousin’s intertest is within their estate and passes under their will (or intestacy) and does not pass to the surviving cousin by survivorship.

Should the deceased cousin have failed to attain age 18 (or to have married under that age), then their intertest will fail and, if the only other beneficiary under the intestacy was the other cousin, the failed share will accrue to that other cousin.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

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Surely, if the cousins have inherited under intestacy, they can only have taken as tenants in common, as the legislation does not provide otherwise?

Cliona O’Tuama


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