Registering trustees' interests in land

I would like members comments on the following:-

This is the scenario

Husband dies being sole owner of his and his wife’s property.

In his Will he leaves his wife a life interest, then half property to wife’s children and other half to his two sons when interest ends.

The executors / trustees of the Will are wife and one of deceased’s son.

As part of the administration solicitors transfer property out of deceased’s name into that of trustees, ie wife and son – there is a standard form A restriction on the property.

Wife dies some years later and when solicitors come to administer her estate obtains updated title deeds and see that property is registered in her and stepson’s name.

Solicitor contacts step-son and he says that property held in trust under provisions in his father’s Will.

Solicitor checks the husband’s Will and confirms the same and that the husband’s Will divides his property into two equal shares.

However, solicitor is unaware that the property was held in husband’s sole name at time of his death and assumes - as this is what the family thought, and surviving trustee does not contradict this - that the wife owned half the property
when her husband died; therefore only half the property passes under husband’s Will and the other under wife’s Will.

Obviously, there is nothing on the title to indicate how the property is beneficially owned and what I would like members comments on are:

How do others register trustees’ interest in land in these circumstances?

Is there any way one could flag up or signal when registering trustees as legal owners what their beneficial interests are?

Is there another cleverer way of dealing with this situation?

All comments gratefully received, as usual!


Gill Collins

Warwick & Barker

Both TR1 and AS1 include boxes to identify the nature of the ownership.

Box 10 provides for joint owners to identify the manner in which they hold the property. Where held on trust (other than for themselves), the appropriate narrative can be added after ticking the box for the third option (or added in box 11)

Alternatively, the Land Registry form JO can be completed, using the fourth option in box 5 and, again, setting out the nature of the interests under the trust of land.

In the case in question, the narrative could be “The property is held 100% upon the trusts of the will (dated ?) of X, who died on ??”. Such wording can be added into either TR1, AS1 or the JO form.

Paul Saunders

Everything was done correctly, but the solicitors for the wife’s estate should have obtained a copy of H’s estate accounts or at least the TR1 or AS1 transferring the property on the first death, which would have made
it clear it was the whole property that was subject to the trust.

If there is a trust, then trust accounts should be kept-but if the house was the only asset I can see why this did not happen.

The land registry would not allow entries on the title as to beneficial interests.

Simon Northcott