When two or more people own a property, there are two types of ownership with the Land Registry, joint tenants and tenants in common. When dealing with property in a Will, depending on how the testators wish to distribute their property, the question of ownership must be raised.
Joint tenants is the most common and standard way for property to be registered at the Land Registry when purchasing a property. The general concept of joint tenants is simple enough to understand. The ownership is tied together between the proprietors, therefore when either passes the away, the survivor(s) will inherit the deceased’s share of the property by survivorship. If this is the wish of the testators, no further action should be taken as this mean the property does not need to enter probate. The survivor(s) will just need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate and a completed Death of Joint Proprietor form (DJP) to the Land Registry remove the deceased from the title. Please note, this is still part of the deceased’s estate for IHT purposes.
Tenants in common is slightly more complex, but in some circumstances this is a much-needed way of owning the property. The term ‘severing the tenancy’ is a fairly literal statement as you are severing the bond of joint tenants that tie these shares together, meaning each proprietor can distribute their share of the property as they wish. When using Trusts in a Will over property, the property must be owned as tenants in common, otherwise the deceased’s share of the property will pass to the survivor(s) automatically which would cause the Trust to either fail, or the property not entering the Trust.
When WillPack draft Wills with a Trust for property, as part of the service we will search the Land Registry to check on the ownership, and if the property is held as joint tenants we will provide the appropriate forms for your clients to sign and date so that the title will show the property being owned as tenants in common. These forms should be sent back to us to forward on once they are signed.