Death of Joint Owner of Property.
My Mother in law recently lost her husband after a long illness. His will leaves all his estate to her. She would like to know if she has to have his name removed from their property deeds. And also how she would do this.
Probate Answers: Death of Joint Home Owner.
Their are two types of joint property ownership – see http://www.tenancy-severance-service.co.uk/ for more details, but the potted version is:
1) Death of a Joint Home Owner as Joint Tenant
Each owner owns all of the property (in practical terms) so if one dies, the other automatically inherits there share, and shares cannot be given away by Will. Clearly, when the first one dies, the second will own the whole property, which they then CAN leave by Will.
2) Death of a Joint Home Owner as Tenants in Common
Here, the owners all own a proportion of the property – usually half, but not necessarily. If one dies, they can leave their share in their Will, subject to any restrictions in the original agreement which set up Tenants in Common.
In this case (only) the procedure to register the property in the name of the survivor is relatively simple. Whilst there is no requirement to take immediate action, it is better in the long run to do so as soon as practicable.
No, she doesn’t have too, but it is probably more straight forward to do it now.
Assuming the property is Registered (and you can check on the Land Registry site), the form to fill in is a DJP from www.LandRegistry.gov.uk – the form is straightforward EXCEPT that it appears to ask for documents to be signed by a conveyancer. Just ignore that box. I think it is still free.
If it isn’t registered then it really ought to be registered, again a process which is much easier while one of the owners is alive. It isn’t hard (once you get the papers) but it does take some time, so is expensive to do through solicitors (though we do it for clients). Essentially it is a question of filling in a long form listing all the title documents and then sending the lot Special Delivery to the relevant Land Registry with the fee.