Q&As

What is the process for removing a joint freeholder from a title where they have been absent for 30 years with no contact and steps to trace them have been unsuccessful? Previously, the freeholders had a verbal agreement that the present freeholder would deal with the day-to-day running of the property and bear any costs relating thereto.

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/02/2021

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the process for removing a joint freeholder from a title where they have been absent for 30 years with no contact and steps to trace them have been unsuccessful? Previously, the freeholders had a verbal agreement that the present freeholder would deal with the day-to-day running of the property and bear any costs relating thereto.
  • Presumption of death
  • Dealing with HM Land Registry

What is the process for removing a joint freeholder from a title where they have been absent for 30 years with no contact and steps to trace them have been unsuccessful? Previously, the freeholders had a verbal agreement that the present freeholder would deal with the day-to-day running of the property and bear any costs relating thereto.

The process for removing a joint freeholder from a title where they have been absent for 30 years will depend on whether the individual is alive or dead. If they are alive, then only they (or someone acting on their behalf, for example, an attorney or deputy) can act to remove themselves from a title. If, however, the joint freeholder is dead, then it will be possible for the remaining joint proprietor(s) to deal with the legal estate on production of evidence regarding the actual or presumed death.

Presumption of death

If, as in this scenario, the joint freeholder has been absent and it is unclear whether they are alive or dead, with steps to trace them being unsuccessful, it becomes necessary to consider obtaining an order that the person is deceased.

Obtaining an order presuming a person is dead can take time, not least because it is necessary to prove that there is sufficient reason to believe the person concerned has not been alive for the previous seven years.

With the

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