How to add a partner or spouse to your property deeds
A 'transfer of equity' is when the current owner of a property or land, adds or removes one or more individuals to the deeds (title) of a property.
You may, for example, wish to transfer equity if you decide to:
- Sell your share in a property
- Buy out an ex-partner after a separation
- Buy out a joint owner
- Adding a new partner or spouse to the deeds of your home
- Gift a property (or share in a property) to a child, spouse or civil partner
Putting someone 'on the property deeds' means changing the ownership of the property.
When couples get married or enter a civil partnership, it is common to merge financial lives. It maybe that you are soon to be or already married or in a civil partnership. Either way, you may want to share the ownership of your home.
One reason for registering a partner as a joint owner is to protect their interest in the home if you die.
If a spouse or civil partner was to die, the surviving partner would not have to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT).
Partners who are not married or in a civil partnership may have to pay IHT if their partner dies. Adding a partner to the title of the property can ensure that the property passes to the surviving partner and there will be no IHT.
What is the legal (conveyancing) process of transferring equity?
To transfer equity on a property or land, it will be necessary to:
- Obtain and review a copy of the property's title from the Online Land Registry
- Prepare the transfer deed legal documents
- Obtain the necessary consents from lenders and landlords (where applicable)
- Decide on the right form of joint ownership
- Arrange for all parties to sign and witness the legal documents
- Register the new owner/s interests with OLR
Which type of joint ownership is right for you and your partner?
If you want to add your civil partner or spouse to your property deeds, you will need to think about what type of joint ownership is most suitable. You will also need to consider the implications for your mortgage.
In England and Wales joint owners can be either:
'Joint tenants' each hold an equal share of 50% of the property, and when one person dies, then the sole property ownership automatically goes to the other joint tenant under the 'Right of Survivorship'.
As a joint tenant, you cannot pass on your half of the property to anyone else but the other joint tenant when you die.
Tenants in common
'Tenants in common' can each own equal or different percentage shares in the land or property.
Tenants in common might, for example, collectively decide to adjust the ownership percentage split according to the financial contribution each party will be making.
This percentage ownership each tenant in common has in the property, is known as the 'beneficial interest'.
If one tenant in common dies, their share of the property will not automatically transfer to the other tenant/s in common. Instead, the share would be passed on in accordance with the terms of the will.
Contact us if you need to add your partner or spouse to your property deeds by filling up the contact form.
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