What's Involved in a Probate Property Transfer?

24 November 2017

When someone dies, their property will either need to be sold, or transferred to someone else. If a Probate property is to be transferred, the way in which this happens depends on how the property was owned. This information applies in England and Wales.

Joint Tenants

If a property was owned as Joint Tenants with someone else, and that person is still alive, the property will pass to the surviving owner. A common example is a husband and wife who own their home as Joint Tenants. If the husband passes away first, the property will automatically pass to the wife.

This applies regardless of what the Will says. So for example, if Andrew and Barry own a property together as Joint Tenants and Andrew dies, Barry will automatically receive Andrew’s share. Barry will then own the property in its entirety – even if Andrew requested in his Will that his son Tommy inherit his half of the property.

When a Joint Tenant dies, it’s necessary to remove the deceased person’s name from the Land Registry register. To do this, you need to complete a Deceased Joint Proprietor (DJP) form and send it to the Land Registry with an official copy of the death certificate. You can do this without getting a Grant of Representation from the Probate Registry.

Tenants in Common

If a property was owned as Tenants in Common with someone else, the deceased’s share of the property will pass to their beneficiaries, rather than passing automatically to the other owner.

The person who inherits the deceased’s share of the property will either be named as a beneficiary in the Will, or will be determined by the Rules of Intestacy if there is no Will.

Taking the above example of Andrew and Barry. If they owned a property as Tenants in Common and Andrew dies, his share of the property would be dealt with according to the terms of his Will. Andrew’s son Tommy is the beneficiary in his will, so will inherit whatever share Andrew owned.

Where the deceased owned a property as Tenants in Common, Probate will be needed. The way in which the property is transferred will depend on who the beneficiary is.

However, it’s important to note that the beneficiary will not necessarily have their name registered on the property title, unless the surviving owner consents. If the surviving owner does not agree, the beneficiary can enter a restriction with the Land Registry. This would allow the beneficiary to protect his or her interest in the property.

The beneficiary is entitled to the deceased’s share of the property and the equivalent monetary value. This means that when the property is sold, the beneficiary should receive the appropriate share of the proceeds.

Sole Owner

If a property was owned in the deceased’s sole name, the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will, or the Rules of Intestacy. This type of property transfer is known as an ‘assent’.

To assent a property, the Personal Representative (the Executor or Administrator) must go through the Probate process and obtain a Grant of Representation. Once this Grant has been issued, the Personal Representative can apply to the Land Registry to have the property transferred into the name of the beneficiary/s.

To do this, the Personal Representatives must send the relevant forms to the Land Registry, along with the Grant of Representation (or an official copy) and the Land Registry fee. The beneficiary must also fill in an identification form. As long as everything is completed correctly, the registered title will be transferred from the deceased’s name to that of the beneficiary.

Help Transferring a Probate Property

If you’re dealing with a deceased person’s Estate and you’re not sure how their property was owned, you can check with the Land Registry.

Or if you’re struggling to understand what needs to be done with a loved one’s property after their death, we can help you.

With our Probate Complete Service* we take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with the legal, tax (excluding VAT), property and Estate administration affairs. This includes an in-house property team that can deal with the transfer or sale of Probate property on your behalf.

*We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.

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