If you own a property in the UK, you might be thinking of changing the name on your house’s title deed for a variety of reasons.
There are many ways to go about changing the information on official documents like your title deeds and it usually depends on the circumstances or reasons behind the change. For more complex legal matters, it is always advisable to consult with solicitors for your situation. Some circumstances like mortgages, inheritances, joint ownerships, and death of owners are bound to much more convoluted legal processes so HM Land Registry recommends such cases be handled by solicitors.
However, there are also plenty of cases that can be personally handled by the owners themselves. These are often everyday cases that do not cause any legal consequences to the ownership of the property and are simply done for updating records. For cases like this, the paperwork can most likely be done without the assistance of any solicitors, thus avoiding substantial costs borne by the client.
In this article, we will go through some of the most common cases for changing names on title deeds and what documents and fees you might need to prepare for the process.
Changing Your Name on the Title Deed (No Change in Ownership)
Our legal or official names can change for a variety of reasons. Whether you just got married or divorced, you might feel the need to update your name on title deeds for whatever foreseeable reason in the future.
According to the HM Land Registry, the process of updating your name is straightforward and can easily be done using a couple of forms already available online. The following processes apply for properties located in England and Wales. For those looking for details on Scotland, scroll down below to see the guidelines for the Registers of Scotland.
All you need for the process are documents to prove the change of your name. These can include a certified copy of a name change, a marriage certificate, a civil partnership certificate, a copy of a deed poll, a statement of truth, or a statutory declaration before someone who can take oaths.
If you are returning to your original surname after a divorce or a dissolution of a civil relationship, you simply need a copy of your marriage certificate or civil relationship certificate.
You should fill this up along with the AP1 application form used for a change in the registry.
If you do not have any certificate mentioned above available and you’re not using a conveyancer or solicitor, you will have to submit additional documents. This includes the confirmation of identity form and an official document that displays your former name, such as a passport, driving license, or utility bill.
If you’re updating your name because you’ve changed your gender, you should also submit the application form CNG along with a document proving the gender change. This can be a gender recognition certificate, a new birth certificate, or a letter or certification from a UK-based medical practitioner to confirm you underwent a gender change.
Send these documents along with the corresponding certificates to their addresses available on the forms. The certifications should be original versions as copies will not be accepted. These forms will be returned to you after the office successfully updates the registry.
These applications cost nothing and you do not have to pay for anything unless you will be using a conveyancer or solicitor to process your documents.
Changing Your Name on the Title Deed in Scotland
If you live in Scotland, you only need to fill out the notification of inaccuracy form along with evidence that the names represent the same individual and send these to the Registers of Scotland. This can be in the form of a letter from the solicitor, sworn statements or confirmations, or other documents similar to the process of the HM Land Registry. Changing your name entails no fees.
Take note that you are not legally required to change your name to continue rightfully owning or selling property in Scotland. The solicitor will only notify the registers during the process of enacting a sale or a remortgage for your property. Only then will they proceed to update your title deeds with your new name.
Death of a Joint Owner
Sometimes, we suffer the death of our loved ones and these might cause unexpected issues about the ownership of property they left behind.
When an owner dies, there are usually a couple of arrangements that need to be made before any action on the property can be done. Such incidents can inhibit processes in mortgage and selling so it might be important to consider sorting such situations out.
Normally, the complexity of such situations necessitates a solicitor, especially if the deceased is the sole owner of the property. The property either goes to a beneficiary or through the probate process for transfer to those interested in purchasing the property. Both processes entail numerous fees and can vary per case. It is also highly essential to get a solicitor for these cases as the paperwork and process can be very complex.
However, if the property was jointly owned by the deceased and other individuals, the property’s ownership will be transferred to the surviving owner/s of the property. In order to remove the deceased person’s name from the title deed, the surviving owners must file the application form AP1 along with form DJP.
The process may be held back a bit if the property is under a mortgage. This is because the mortgage lender must first give permission to remove the deceased and assess if the surviving owners are financially capable to make the remaining repayments for the mortgage.
It is recommended that a conveyancer or solicitor handle these transfers to get the changes correctly and favorably. It is also generally cheaper to do these changes compared to waiting until the property is being processed for a sale.
There are no fees for removing a deceased joint owner from the registry. For transferring ownership from a sole owner who died, the fees can vary greatly along with the cost of the solicitor.