Death of a Spouse


Spouses and couples living together and jointly owning their property will either hold the property as joint tenants or as tenants in common. When one joint owner dies the Land Registry records need to be updated and the method to do so will depend on how they hold the property.

Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common

When a house is owned by two or more people, e.g. a husband and wife, as joint tenants in equity, which is usually the way a property is held, each owner has a 100% share of the property. This means that when one of the owners die the other owner assumes ownership of the property as right of survivor. There is no need to transfer the property as the survivor already owns a 100% share in it. This is so, even where there are more than two owners.

Uncertainty of Ownership Type

If you are not sure whether you own the property as a Joint Tenant or as a Tenant in Common you should look at a recent copy of the Title Register, B section, for the following clause:

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 this wording is present it means there is a tenancy in common and you will need to instruct a solicitor to remove the Restriction and to convey the property into your sole name, and then apply for registration at the Land Registry. If the wording is not present it means the property is registered as a beneficial joint tenancy. Select the link to learn more about beneficial joint tenancies and tenancies in common.

Registering the Death of a Joint Tenant

The Land Registry should be informed of the death and the Title Register changed to the sole name of the surviving owner. If this is not done there may be difficulties from organisations that use the Land Registry records to check their data.

Making the change at the Land Registry requires the completion of Form DJP. This is available for free from the Government website. You will need to send this, together with evidence of the death (death certificate, grant of probate or letters of administration), to the Land Registry at the following address:

Land Registry Citizen Centre
PO Box 74
GL14 9BB.

Title Register

The Land Registry Title Register holds data relating to the property ownership, purchase price, mortgage, tenure, covenants, rights of way, leases and class of title.


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Title Plan

The Title Plan shows an outline of the property and its immediate neighbourhood, and uses colours to identify rights of way, general boundaries and land affected by covenants.


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Lease & Lease Plans

The Lease and its Lease Plan usually form one document and are both provided for the one fee. They are very useful in resolving disputes, particularly with car parking and other shared areas.


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