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What happens to a property title after the registered proprietor’s death?

Nov 17, 2022

Property ownership can be a confusing and complex process, whether you are buying, building, or selling. Furthermore, if you are buying where the previous owners have passed away, or are selling a home of your loved ones who recently passed away – there as a few extra steps for you to consider.

Understanding what happens to a property, particularly where the owners have passed away, entails a few additional layers. Don’t worry, this article breaks it down for you.

Firstly, what are the types of property ownership?

Sole ownership: This is when a property is owned solely by a single person. They are the only name on the land title.

Tenants in common: This can be held by two or more people. Each person has a share of the property, but this may not be an equal share.

Joint tenants: A popular ownership, particularly for long-term committed couples. Each owner has an undivided interest in the property.

With a passing, what happens next?

In normal circumstances, the deceased person’s Will specifies a named person to deal with the estate, or a deceased’s next of kin if there is no Will. They are responsible for managing the affairs and will often either obtain ‘Probate’ if there is a Will, or ‘Letters of Administration’ if there isn’t a Will. This enables them to act as the personal representative. Through a Probate or Letters of Administration, the representative is able to transfer or sell the property.

A few important things to remember:

  • There is usually no rush to sort out what happens with their property
  • If the property is registered as joint tenants, the surviving party automatically inherits the deceased parties share of the property. An application to Landgate needs to be made to transfer the share to the surviving party.
  • If the property is registered as tenants in common the deceased parties share is referred back to their Will or Letters of Administration. An application to Landgate needs to be made to transfer their share.
  • If the property is solely owned, you need to get Probate or Letters of Administration before the property can be sold.
  • If you are selling a property, the Certificate of Title needs to be in the Executors or Administrators name before it can be transferred to a buyer.

Are you still lost?

I can help. Essence Conveyancing is a boutique settlement agency that focuses on providing each individual client with immense attention to detail, so that they gain clarity and confidence through their settlement. I invite you to speak to me today! I am happy to guide you through the property process, regardless of your situation.

Disclaimer: Please note, the contents of this article do not constitute conveyancing advice, are not intended to be a substitute for conveyancing advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek conveyancing advice or other professional advice in relation to any particular matters you or your organisation may have. To find out more, please contact us.