There are occasions when you may decide to add or remove a name from a property’s ownership record, and this is referred to as ‘transfer of equity’. While the process may seem daunting, with the proper guidance from a regulated professional, it doesn’t need to be even in more complex cases. In this article, our property team look at the transfer of equity process and answer a few frequently asked questions.
What is Transfer of Equity?
Transfer of Equity is the legal process needed to take someone off or add them to the title deeds of a property. Subsequently, adding or removing them as a named owner. Due to the fact that at least one of the original owners of the property will stay the same, transfer of equity is not the same as selling the property. In most cases, the process can be quick and straightforward. However, some transactions may take longer or be more complex. Typically, this will be when there is a mortgage on the property or other factors such as disputes are involved.
What are the reasons for transferring equity?
Transfer of equity would be used if you wanted to:
- Divide assets due to a separation or divorce.
- Adding a new partner to the property deeds.
- Buy out another equity partner if you are currently a joint owner of a property.
- Be more tax-efficient. Transferring equity to your children or other family members can offer some inheritance tax benefits. However, you should always seek appropriate advice first regarding your tax liabilities.
What are the tax implications on a transfer of equity?
If you are transferring equity to your spouse, civil partner, or a charity, then there are currently no capital gains tax implications. However, the property would likely be subject to the capital gains tax (CGT) if you transfer it to anyone else, including other family members or children.
A transfer of equity could also trigger Stamp Duty Land TAX (SDLT). Speaking with a specialist legal adviser will ensure you are fully aware of your obligations regarding IHT and SDLT and offer guidance on the most efficient way to manage your estate.
Can I Transfer Equity to a child?
If you wish to transfer property ownership to someone under the age of eighteen, related or unrelated, you will need to set up a deed of trust. Legally, someone who is under eighteen cannot hold property ownership. However, this document allows a trustee to hold the property until the person turns eighteen and the equity (property ownership) is transferred to them.
What happens if a part-owner dies?
Equity will normally be transferred to the surviving owner if the property is jointly owned, under the rules of ‘right of survivorship’. The surviving owner will need to complete a DJP application form and send it to the Land Registry as part of the transfer process.
Do I need a solicitor for a Transfer of Equity?
Although in some cases, you could complete a transfer of equity without a solicitor – although some forms will likely need a signature to be witnessed by a notary or legal professional – it is not advised.
The transfer of equity process can be complex. You must fully understand the various implications, such as stamp duty, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax, and ensure that the property is correctly registered with the Land Registry.
What is the Transfer of Equity process?
The key stages in a transfer of equity include:
- Obtaining and reviewing the title deeds from the Land Registry– including checks for a mortgage or any other restrictions on the property.
- Checking and confirming the identity of each party.
- Preparing the transfer deed documents ready for signature.
- Notifying third parties– obtaining consent from any third party involved, such as a mortgage lender, bank or building society.
- Land Registry Fee– a fee is payable to the HM Land Registry, depending on the type of application. To calculate the correct cost, see HM Land Registry Calculator.
- Registration of the deed transfer at the Land Registry – you or your solicitor will send the completed forms and correct fee to the HM Land Registry.
Expert Transfer of Equity Legal Advice
Regardless of your reasons for transferring equity, even if no money is changing hands, it is essential to speak to a conveyancing solicitor to ensure that everything is done correctly and that you protect yourself legally.
At Larcomes Legal Limited, we have a specialist team of highly experienced residential property solicitors who have the experience and resources to ensure your transaction is carried out as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.