What Does Assent of Property Mean?

19 April 2017

By Probate Property Conveyancer Theresa Arkless

In Conveyancing terms, an Assent is the name of the document used to transfer legal ownership of property or land from the Estate of someone who has died, into the name of the new owner.

Who Can Assent Property?

When someone dies they don’t automatically get removed from the property title. In order to be removed from the title, the Land Registry will need evidence that the person has passed away. 

If the property is jointly owned and one person dies ownership passes to the surviving owner/s automatically because you can’t hold property once you’ve passed away. If the Land is registered you can apply to the Land Registry to have the title updated using a form DJP. If the property is not registered a death certificate will need to be placed with the deeds.

If there are no co-owners surviving, only an appointed Personal Representative can deal with the property. To do this, the Personal Representative will need to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Once the Grant has been obtained, the Personal Representative will have the legal authority to deal with the property. This includes the authority to sell the property or to Assent it to the beneficiaries of the Estate.

How to Assent a Property or Land

If the land is registered with the Land Registry, rule 58 of the Land Registration Rules 2003 states that the Assent must be on Form AS1 or Form AS3, which you can download free from the link below. An application form AP1 must also be completed. The completed forms must be sent to the Land Registry with the Grant, identity documents and any other evidence you may need to provide.

Rule 58 of the Land Registration Rules 2003 doesn’t apply to unregistered land, because some Assents occurred before the registration of an Assent became compulsory. Older Assent documents are usually titled ‘Assent’ but are set out in the same format as a Conveyance, with the date, details of the parties, details of the property, terms and signatures. A new Assent of unregistered land can be done with a Form AS1 or Form AS3. This would need to be sent to the Land Registry with a form FR1 and form DL along with all the Title Deeds and evidence you may need to provide.

Assent vs Transfer or Conveyance

An Assent is different from a Transfer or Conveyance because you can only Assent property from the Estate of someone who is deceased.

The Assent will also be for no value. So if a Beneficiary is paying money to the Estate so that he/she can take ownership, this is a purchase and not an Assent. An Assent wouldn’t be appropriate if money is being paid because an Assent is essentially a gift from the Estate, and you can’t gift something in return for money.

This situation may occur where there are several beneficiaries and one wants the whole of the property. If so, the beneficiaries may come to an agreement where one pays the others for their shares based on the value of the property so that they can become the sole owner. In these cases a Transfer would occur so that the money paid can be accounted for in the document, in the Estate accounts and also at the Land Registry, as there may be tax implications. 

What Happens After an Assent?

The Assent takes place on the day it is dated. From that date the property belongs to the new owners and they will be responsible for it.

The Assent needs to be registered with the Land Registry. This includes Assents of property that is unregistered, because the Land Registration Act 2002 states that following an Assent a property must be registered.

Download free Assent forms from gov.uk website by clicking on the links below:

Form AS1 for Personal Representative/s to Assent the whole of a registered Title.

Form AS3 for Personal Representative/s to Assent part of a registered Title.

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