Most jointly owned properties in England and Wales, by default, are owned as a beneficial joint tenancy. The main legal affect of this is that the joint owners each own 100% of the property and so if one owner dies the other owns the entire property without any further transactions or dispositions. This means that for Inheritance tax purposes the property does not form part of the deceased's estate and does not therefore attract payment of tax.
One major disadvantage, however, is that the respective joint owners cannot Will their share of the property to someone else in the event of their death. To overcome this problem the beneficial joint tenancy needs to be severed and the Land Registry notified. This will change it to a Tenancy in Common.
You will know if your current mode of ownership is a tenancy in common as the following wording will be present in the B section of the Title Register:
RESTRICTION: No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the Registrar or the court.
If the above wording is not present the mode of joint ownership is a beneficial joint tenancy.
Converting a joint tenancy involves preparation and service of a Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy and then the registration of a Restriction at HM Land Registry. The consent of the other joint owners is not necessary (but they should countersign it as an acknowledgement), so that you can convert even if the other joint owners disagree.
1. Order your search by clicking the Buy Now button
2. Notice of Severance will be uploaded to your documents section within MyAccount. You should print off 2 copies for each of the other joint owners, and should sign all the copies. You should then ask the other joint owners to each sign the acknowledgment on the notice and hand it back to you. This is your receipt, which you should keep in a safe place.
3. Land Registry Form SEV will also be uploaded to your MyAccount documents area, which you should sign and then ask each of the other joint owners to sign. This is to be sent to the Land Registry office serving your area. We will advise you of the correct address in the report provided.
4. Post Form SEV to the Land Registry. Please note that there is no additional fee to be paid to the Land Registry. Please do not send the Notice of Severance to them, but only Form SEV.
No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the Registrar or the court.