Assent of Property

Assent of property describes the process of transferring ownership of a property from a deceased person to their beneficiaries.

Assent of property is different from a transfer of equity or a conveyance because only property in the estate of a deceased person can be assented. Assents are effectively a gift from the estate and have no value. There cannot be any payment or part payment in return for the property: this would make it a purchase or transfer of equity.

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common

If the property is held as a joint tenancy and one person dies, ownership passes to the surviving owner automatically. For registered properties, you can apply to the Land Registry to have the title updated. If the property is not registered a death certificate will need to be placed with the deeds. We can help you with this if needed.

If there are no surviving owners or the deceased was a Tenant in Common, then the deceased’s will determines what happens.

Importance of a will

Wills are key to the assent process. A will is a legal document whereby someone (the testator) states their wishes regarding distribution of their assets and property after death. If there is a will, the property will be transferred in accordance with it. This is known as testate succession.

If there is no will

When someone dies without a will, this is known as dying intestate. In this case, the law determines how their estate is distributed. The rules of intestacy are straight forward but, crucially, they may not align with the wishes of the deceased. These situations are always a reminder of the importance of a will.

Role of executors

Executors are trusted people named in wills to enact the wishes of the deceased. They ensure that assets and property transfer to beneficiaries in accordance with the will. The first part of this process is applying for probate. When probate is granted the executors can legally manage and distribute the estate.

Inheritance tax issues

If the estate of the deceased has a value in excess of the Inheritance Tax Threshold, there may be a tax burden. This will need to be cleared by the executors before property can be assented. Issues with Inheritance Tax are another reason to properly plan for death, as they can be extremely stressful and expensive.

Contact us

If you have to deal with a loved one’s estate or property, it’s essential to understand the basics of assenting property. Consulting with one of our legal professionals can provide valuable guidance through the process, making a potentially challenging time a bit more manageable. Remember, having a clear and up-to-date will is the key to simplifying the process.