Voluntary First Registration of property

In this article we deal with Voluntary First Registrations and Reduced Land Registry fees.

As part of a continuing drive to promote the voluntary first registration of those remaining unregistered properties, the Land Registry offer a reduced fee for voluntary first registration applications. By way of background, the majority of properties are now registered with the Land Registry which means that title details and evidence of the ownership are lodged with the Land Registry and guaranteed by them.  There are certain trigger events, such as sales, which result in the compulsory registration of properties and in recent years many properties have therefore been registered.  If, however, your property has not been sold or changed hands for many years then it is possible that it is unregistered and it is worth considering whether to make a voluntary first registration application.  There are numerous benefits to proceeding with a voluntary first registration:

–     Storage – the Land Registry will electronically store the title details negating the need to keep the title deeds lodged in a strong room or bank for safe keeping;

–     Protection – registration is the best way to protect your ownership and ensure that the Land Registry requires your involvement in any sale or mortgage of the property;

–     Protection – registration minimises the risk of future adverse possession (“squatters’ rights”) claims;

–     Future Sales – it ensures that any queries over your title can be resolved prior to any future sale:  sales can be held up or even fall through due to queries over the title which could have been resolved in advance by voluntary registration;

–     Getting your affairs in order – registration means that your property affairs are in order and will be more straightforward for your Personal Representatives to deal with.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of a voluntary first registration application then do contact us for a no obligation conversation and we will be able to give you an estimate of the legal fees and Land Registry fees payable.


What happens to my property if I don’t make a Will?

By way of an example, husband dies leaving a wife and two children under 18.  He owns a house in his own name worth £375,000 and has savings worth £100,000.  The mortgage on the house is covered by an insurance policy and so the total estate is £475,000.  He had been thinking about making a Will and had expressed the wish that the whole of his estate should pass to his wife but if she had died before him, a trust for the children with capital passing to them at age 30.  Unfortunately he never got around to doing a Will and on his death the Intestacy Rules were applied:

  • The wife gets a legacy of £250,000 which is less than the value of the house.  She also gets the contents of the house and any car which her husband owned.
  • What is left is divided in half.  The wife gets the income from one half and the other half will be invested and paid to the children when they reach 18.
  • On the wife’s death the money held for her goes to the children.  For as long as the children are under 18, the rules cannot be varied without a Court Order.

On the figures given in the example, the wife does not get the whole of the value of the house.  This is all very different to what the husband intended – namely that everything went to his wife.  He was also thinking of putting the house into joint names with his wife, but did not get around to doing it.  Had he done so, this would have made life easier for the wife as his widow.

So how could life have been made easier for the wife?

The husband died without a Will and the intestacy rules applied.  The house was in the husband’s sole name and in such a situation his wife would receive £250,000 and a life interest in £112,500, to be held on trust (based on the figures in the last scenario).

The position would be very different had the house been held in joint names as tenants in common (i.e. both husband and wife each owning a divisible 50% share).  In which case, only half of the house would be subject to the intestacy rules (the husband’s share).  Using the same figures, the wife would be left with £437,500 and a life interest in £18,750 (held on trust).

Alternatively, and perhaps the most favoured position (dependant on personal circumstances) would be if the husband made a Will.  In which case, the husband could leave all property he owned to his wife.  In this case, the wife would receive £475,000 outright (no trust).  The house could also have been held in joint names as joint tenants.

If you have any queries relating to Wills or the way in which property can be owned, do contact us.

Have you thought what would happen to your pet when you die?

Have you thought what would happen to your pet when you die?

Did you know that there are approximately 67 million pets in the UK?  Some 23% of UK households own at least one dog and 19% own one cat.

There are a number of options:

  1.  Ask a friend to look after your pet and consider leaving a legacy to the executors appointed by your Will with instructions that the money is used to maintain the pet.
  2. Leave a legacy to the friend whom you ask to look after your pet.
  3. If your pet is old, consider leaving instructions for it to be put down.
  4. Leave some money to an animal charity with the requirement that the charity which you choose will look after your pet for its life.

Whichever you choose, we can advise you how to safeguard your pet’s future, and also in relation to your Will.  Two thirds of the population do not have Wills, which means that the Intestacy Rules will apply to your estate if you die without a Will!