Transferring a Property after Death – Probate Case Study

03 April 2017

Client Situation

Mrs W instructed our Probate specialists to administer the Estate of her late husband, who had passed away without leaving a Will.

His Estate, which consisted only of an unregistered property, was not administered at the time of his death. This is because she believed that her husband's Estate, including the property, had passed to her. It was only when she made her Will that she discovered the property was only in her husband's name. She wanted our help administering the Estate to make sure that her daughters would not face any difficulties if she passed away.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (not VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.

How We Helped

We helped Mrs W by applying for the Grant of Representation on her behalf. This enabled us to transfer the property from her husband's Estate to her name.

When we reviewed the property documents, we noticed that the mortgage named Mrs W as a borrower, which suggested that she was the legal owner of the property. However, there was no evidence of this on the Title Deeds. We checked with Mrs W to see whether her husband had formally gifted the property to her, but she said there wasn’t a Deed of Gift. The property description was not specific in the Title Deeds, and it did not make reference to a title plan, so we sought advice from our property team.

Our property team suggested that Mrs W could obtain a Land Registry compliant plan which would clearly outline the boundaries of her property. We then arranged for the compliant plan to be carried out. This was sent to the Land Registry, along with the application to transfer the property into Mrs W's name.

As such a long time had passed since the death of her husband, the property had increased in value. The value of the property at the date of her husband’s death was £40,000. The current market value for the property was between £90,000 and £93,000. As there was a gain in the property value, there was a potential Capital Gains Tax liability.

We contacted HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and explained the circumstances. We asked if the Private Residence Relief exemption could be applied. This was on the basis that Mrs W had lived in the property since her husband's death and it was her primary residence. After a few weeks, we received a letter from HMRC advising that as Mrs W had no other property, and the property was her main home, and there was no Capital Gains Tax to pay.

The Outcome

Once HMRC had responded, we contacted Mrs W to inform her that she didn’t need to pay any Capital Gains Tax. She was very pleased with the result as it was one less thing for her to worry about.

Mrs W expressed her gratitude with everything that we had done for her, saying that she has been very happy with the work carried out on her 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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