Updating your property Deeds after the death of a spouse
The death of a loved one is always a very said occasion and changing the Land Registry records is probably the last thing to be considered. At some point, however, it should be done. The method of doing so is simple and costs little to do. This article will explain what steps to take, what forms needs to be completed, and how to obtain the forms for free.
Home Ownership After the Death of a Husband or Wife
A common query a surviving spouse has, following the death of his or her spouse, is how to change the Land Registry Title Register to show the change in ownership. This, of course, means to remove the name of the deceased spouse, leaving the surviving spouse shown as the sole owner. What people commonly think of as their Deeds is actually referred to as the Title Register.
Joint Tenancy Ownership
When a house is owned by two or more people, e.g. a husband and wife, as joint tenants in equity, which is usually the way a property is held, each owner has a 100% share of the property. This means that when one of the owners die the other owner assumes ownership of the property as right of survivor. There is no need to transfer the property as the survivor already owns a 100% share in it. This is so, even were there are more than two owners.
Uncertainty of Ownership Type
If you are not sure whether you own the property as a Joint Tenant or as a Tenant in Common you should look at a recent copy of the Title Register, B section, for the following clause:
If this wording is present it means there is a tenancy in common and you will need to instruct a solicitor to convey the property into your sole name and then apply for registration at the Land Registry. If the wording is not present it means the property is registered as a beneficial joint tenancy. Select the link to learn more about beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common.
Effecting a Change of Owner Name at the Land Registry
The Land Registry should be informed of the death and the Title Register changed to the sole name of the surviving owner. If this is not done there may be difficulties when attempting to obtain official documents such as a passport, driving licence, etc. This is because official organisations will usually check your identity by looking at the Land Registry records.
Making the change at the Land Registry requires the completion of Form DJP. This is available for free from the Government website, and the link is provided at the top of this page. You will need to send this, together with evidence of the death (death certificate, grant of probate or letters of administration), to the Land Registry at the office dealing with your property. The Title Register will state, at the top thereof, the name of the Land Registry office and also the Title Number, which will also be needed for Form DJP. The address of the Land Registry office can be obtained from the link.
Summary of Documents to send to the Land Registry
- Form DJP
- Evidence of Death, either:
- Official copy of Death Certificate
- Official copy of Grant of Probate
- Official copy of Letters of Administration