Updating Names on the Registers of Title

There are a number of situations which might occur during a person’s life which may render the name or names appearing on the registers of title to that person’s property inaccurate and in need of correction. It is not a legal requirement to make the correction however it will need to be dealt with when the property is sold (or inherited) and dealing with it straight away will help to avoid delays at that stage, as well as reducing the risk of any fraud whereby a person for example assumes an identity which no longer exists in order to borrow money against the property.

Applications need to be made to the land registry office which serves the property. Follow this link to find the office which serves your property. Applications are generally very straightforward and free.

Death of a Joint Proprietor

Where a property is owned jointly and one of two proprietors has died then that person ought to be removed from the register. This does not need to be done immediately and can be dealt with as part of a sale however in these days of identity fraud it is always wise to keep the register up to date.

An application should be made using form DJP and should be accompanied with the original death certificate, grant of probate or letters of administration. Alternatively a certified copy of any of the above can be supplied.

Change of Name as a Result of Marriage

If you decide to take your spouse’s name on marriage then a letter to the land registry together with the original marriage certificate (or a certified copy) should generally suffice. On occasion the land registry may also require some other proof of identity such as a passport.

If the register has not been updated when the property comes to be sold then provided you are still married it will simply be necessary to supply your solicitor with your marriage certificate at the time, however a problem can arise where you are subsequently divorced since you will be unable to produce your marriage certificate. This can lead to a situation where your identity documents are in your married name however the property is in your maiden name. The situation becomes more problematic where you have subsequently remarried.

These kinds of complications are rarely anticipated until it’s too late therefore it is wise to keep the register up to date at all times.

Change of Name as a Result of Divorce

Where following a divorce you choose to revert to your maiden name, you should write to the land registry together with a certified copy of your decree nisi. This is only necessary if the property is not already in your maiden name.

This should only be done if you intend also to update your passport, driver’s licence, bank account etc.

Change of Name Where You Wish to Be Know By Another Name

Although you have not married or divorced, you may simply wish to be known by a different name. The title to any property you own should be amended to reflect this otherwise you will have problems when you come to sell.

You will need to produce to the land registry a statutory declaration as to change of name. As with any statutory declaration it will need to be signed in the presence of a solicitor. This will probably be needed for other purposes such as updating your passport, bank account and driver’s licence.

Correcting a Mistake

If you notice, after you have purchased a property and your ownership has been registered, that there is a mistake on the register in respect of your name, you will first need to establish whether the mistake was made by the land registry or by your conveyancer. To do this you should telephone the land registry. They hopefully are able to tell you over the telephone though they may ask you to put your question in writing.

If it is the fault of the land registry then they should simply update the register. If it was an error by your conveyancer then you should ask them to correct it. The land registry will need proof that there is an error and a written statement from your conveyancers should suffice. If such a statement cannot be obtained then you will need to produce your ID to the land registry as proof of your correct name and potentially also a statutory declaration, which will need to be signed in the presence of a solicitor.

Even a seemingly minor error, such as Richard instead of Richards, can cause delays to a sale or remortgage, as the name on the transfer or mortgage deed will need to match the name on the register exactly.

Change of Ownership

Where there is an actual change of ownership, such as a sale, assent or transfer of equity, then an application in form AP1 will need to be made and a fee will be payable. These applications are much more in depth than those outlined above and legal advice should be sought.

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