Wills and Unregistered UK Property
Registered and Unregistered Property
HM Land Registry originally came to be in 1862 but it wasn’t until the Land Registration Act came into force in 1997 that it became compulsory to register property in the UK. From this point on each time a property is purchased a Solicitor or Conveyancer is required to file documents with the Land Registry so the property ownership can be entered into a public register.
Prior to 1997, it was possible for owners to volunteer to register their property. Nowadays the majority of property is registered. There are however still unregistered properties out there, this can be for a number of reasons.
One I come across most often is where couples purchased their home prior to 1997 and only realise its unregistered when they estate Plan to include a Lifetime Interest in Property trust into their Wills. This requires them to check the Land Registry register to confirm whether they own the property on a Tenants in common basis.
Registering property as being owned on a Tenants in common basis and Including a Lifetime Interest in Property Trust in a Will allows a defined share of the property to be ring-fenced for the benefit of children in the future.
This can be particularly useful for people in second marriage situations and is achieved by granting a lifetime right to reside in the property for a surviving spouse or partner. Whilst at the same time protecting the capital of the property for the benefit of future generations.
What do I do If my Property is Unregistered
If your property is unregistered you are able to make a voluntary first registration. You can do this by paying the appropriate FEE to the Land Registry, completing the relevant forms and providing evidence of ownership, for example, the property Title Deeds.
Advantages of Voluntary First Registration
There are a number of advantages in voluntarily registering unregistered property, for example:
- Gives an accurate title guaranteed by the Land Registry detailing how the property is owned.
- Saves time and money in the future for example, when arranging mortgage finance or selling.
- Provides better protection against claims of adverse possession or squatter’s rights.
- Puts an Estate in good order for the benefit of future generations.
- Reduces the risk of title deeds being lost.
- Reduces the number of documents that need to be retained.
- Opportunity to uncover problems with a title that could have been undiscovered.