How you transfer ownership of an inherited property depends on a number of factors.
When you transfer ownership of an inherited property, you’ll complete a series of different forms with the Land Registry depending on how your loved one owned the property, if the property is registered or unregistered and if the property is to be transferred to beneficiaries under a will or sold to a third party.
We have set out step by step guides for each stage below, along with links to all the relevant forms you will need to fill in to transfer ownership of an inherited property. So let’s get started…
Step 1: Find out how and if the inherited property is registered
The process you will need to follow to transfer ownership of an inherited property will vary depending on how the property was owned by your loved one.
The first thing you need to establish is how the property was owned. The three most popular ways a property can be owned are:
- Joint tenants. Your loved one owned the whole of the property jointly with another person.
- Tenants in common. Your loved one owned a distinct share of the property that doesn’t automatically pass to the other joint owner(s).
- Sole owner. Your loved one was the only owner of the property.
If you don’t know how the property was owned, you can check the title register. If you don’t have a copy of the title register, you can download a pdf copy for £3 from Land Registry.
Once you have a copy of the title register, you will need to check section “B” which is called the “Proprietorship Register”. This will tell you how the property is owned depending on the number of names and if it includes specific wording:
What if I can’t find the property at Land Registry?
If you can’t locate a copy of the title register on the Land Registry, it’s likely that the property hasn’t been registered.
If the property isn’t registered, a transfer of ownership will trigger the need to register it for the first time. Skip ahead to section 3 of the article to find out how to register an unregistered property.
Where your loved one was the sole owner of the property, or owned the property as tenants in common, you will need to obtain a “grant of representation”. We cover how to obtain a grant of representation in step 2 below.
If your loved one owned the property as a joint tenant, then you can skip ahead to step 3. The surviving owner will be able to deal with the transfer of ownership without the need for a grant of representation.
Step 2: Obtain ‘probate’ or ‘letters of administration’
The “personal representative(s)” (PRs) are responsible for sorting out the estate of the person who’s passed away.
The PRs will either need to obtain “probate” or “letters of administration”. This proves their authority to transfer or sell the property in accordance with the will.
Who makes the application and what you apply for depend on whether or not your loved one left a will:
- If there is a will: the executors will need to apply for a grant of probate.
- If there is no will: the next of kin (aka administrator) will need to apply for letters of administration.
If your loved one was the sole owner of the property, you’ll need to obtain a grant of representation. If your loved one jointly owned the property as tenants in common, it’s also likely that you will need to obtain a grant of representation.
How do I apply for probate?
The next steps you will need to take to apply for probate are:
1. Complete the relevant probate application form
The form you’ll need to complete depends on whether the person left a will or not.
You can also apply for probate online here. Applying online is quicker than applying for probate by post.
2. Complete the relevant Inheritance Tax Summary Form
Along with your probate application form, you will also need to submit the relevant Inheritance Tax Summary Form. The form must be signed by all applicants.
No Inheritance Tax due
If your loved one passed away on or after 1 January 2022, and there’s no Inheritance Tax to pay, you won’t need a separate Inheritance Tax Summary Form. Instead, you’ll need to report estimates of the estate’s value as part of your probate application.
Inheritance Tax due
If you have worked out the value of the estate and there’s Inheritance Tax to pay, you will need to send the relevant forms to HMRC and wait 20 working days before you can apply for probate.
You will need to complete the following forms:
- Form IHT400: you can find guidance notes on how to complete form IHT400 here.
- Form IHT421: you will need to fill out this form if you’re applying for a grant of representation in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
3. Send the application to the Probate Registry
Your application must include:
- An official copy of the death certificate (or an interim death certificate from the coroner)
- The original will (if there is one)
- Application fee of £273*
*If the estate is worth less than £5,000, you don’t pay a fee. You may also be able to get a full or partial discount if you are currently on a low income and/or claiming certain benefits.
Do you need a grant of probate to transfer property?
You don’t always need a grant of probate to transfer property. It depends how the property was owned.
- Joint tenants. You don’t need a grant of probate to transfer the inherited property.
- Sole owner. You would need to obtain a grant of probate.
- Tenants in common. You would almost always need a grant of probate.
Step 3: (Option 1) How to transfer ownership when a joint owner dies
If the property is registered in joint names, and the other person wants to continue living there, you’ll just need to notify Land Registry of the death.
You can do this by filling in form DJP, which will remove your loved one’s name from the register.
You’ll also need to send an official copy of the death certificate, along with the completed form DJP, to HM Land Registry.
Step 3: (Option 2) How to transfer ownership if property is registered to a sole owner?
You will need to get probate before the property can be sold if the inherited property is registered to a sole owner.
The forms you will need to complete in order to transfer ownership of the property will depend on if you are transferring the property to a beneficiary in a will, or selling the inherited property to a third party.
We have set out both processes, and the forms you will need to complete, below.
If you transfer to a beneficiary in a will
If you are transferring the inherited property to a beneficiary in a will, you will need to fill in the following forms:
- Form AP1. You can read the guidance on how to complete form AP1 here.
- Form AS1. You can read the guidance on how to complete form AS1 here.
- Form ID1. The beneficiary must fill in this form (as well as anyone transferring the property who isn’t the executor of the will)
The application must also include:
- The original or a certified copy of the grant of probate or letters of administration
- A fee – check the fee calculator to find out the correct fee payable
- SDLT certificate or self-certificate (if tax was paid on the property)
You should send all completed forms, supporting documents and the fee to HM Land Registry.
If you sell the property to a third party
If the inherited property is sold to a third party, you need to:
- Transfer the ownership of the inherited property
- Provide the buyer with a certified copy of the probate or letters of administration
You can transfer the ownership of the property by following these steps:
- Fill in form AP1. This is the application to change the register.
- Fill in form TR1. This is the form to transfer a registered property.
- Fill in form ID1. This proves your identity when registering an application with the Land Registry. It must be signed by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
- Pay the required fee. You can check what fee you’ll need to pay using the fee calculator.
- Send everything to the Land Registry.
A solicitor or conveyancer will be able to deal with the above for you.
Step 3: (Option 3) How to transfer ownership if the property isn’t registered
If it turns out that the inherited property isn’t registered, a transfer of ownership will trigger the need to register it for the first time.
How to register a property for the first time
You will need to register the property for the first time if you find out the property is unregistered when you inherit it.
Gov.uk has a handy step by step guide on how to register a property for the first time.
Because you have inherited the property, you will also need to include either:
1. A completed AS1 form. The executor needs to fill this out if the property was in the name of a sole registered owner and it’s been left to you in a will.
2. A completed TR1 form. The surviving owner needs to fill this out if they jointly owned the property and you are inheriting a share.
As you can see, transferring ownership of an inherited property isn’t a straightforward process. We would recommend speaking with a solicitor or conveyancer, who will be able to help with any applications you need to make.
If you want to know more about transferring ownership of an inherited property or are looking to sell a property you’ve just inherited, please give me a call now on 0330 223 5568.
By Matthew Cooper, Founder of Home Selling Expert