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Dear Shade,

My husband wants me to include his name on the documents of the properties I bought before we got married. I refused to. Now, he buys assets in his name only saying I started it first. What do I do? Should I ignore him? Or would you advise me to start buying my own assets in my name only or heed to his request for peace to reign? I’m confused.

Joy from Jos.


Dear Joy,

I appreciate you reaching out to me on this rather personal and sensitive subject.

Couples are at liberty to purchase property either individually or jointly, but it may be advisable to evaluate one’s matrimonial situation critically before making decisions on whether to purchase assets in one’s personal name or as joint owners with one’s spouse.

It is not an abominable act for spouses to purchase assets in their personal names. In Nigeria, the purchase of assets jointly by spouses could be interpreted to symbolize unity and synergy within a marriage and could increase the bond between spouses, thereby making them feel relevant to the other spouse.

Joint ownership of assets may also be considered as an estate planning option for many spouses, given that the surviving owner eventually ends up owning the asset, which may be utilized to catering for expenses as the need may arise, rather than having the assets frozen and unreachable. However, it is important to bear in mind that in the event of a simultaneous demise of both spouses, distribution of the jointly owned properties would be subjected to intestacy laws and may not reflect the true intentions of the owners.

I would therefore advise that you discuss your options with your husband and enlighten him on the estate planning benefit of joint ownership and the dangers of having sole ownership as the only plan. Other Estate planning tools such as Wills and Trust may be used to further secure a solid estate plan.

I do hope that I have been able to be of help to ease your concerns and I wish you all the very best in your marriage.




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