My father died without a will — who gets his house? - the Sunday Times Home Help

Rebecca Fisher, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, private client team.
Rebecca Fisher
2 min Read

I am 69 and resided with my father until he died, aged 93, in December 2020. He died intestate...I want to have ownership of the cottage, in which I now reside alone, transferred into my name. I want to enable equal shares in the property to be allocated to my siblings on my demise. My two brothers and sister agree with father’s verbally expressed wish that the cottage go to me on his death...Are you able to advise how this transfer could be achieved?

Writing in the Sunday Times' Home Help column, partner Rebecca Fisher answers a reader's question about intestacy rules, explaining that as his father passed away in 2020, it is now too late to vary his intestacy. However, the readers' siblings could gift their shares to him, transferring ownership this way.

She notes that this would have complex tax implications for all parties involved, as the gifts would be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) and possibly inheritance tax (IHT).

"A deed of variation is not possible, however, as your father died in 2020, so your siblings could gift their shares to you. That is a disposal for capital gains tax (CGT) — they may have to pay CGT if the property has increased in value since your father’s death. In addition they may need to report the transfer of the property to HMRC as it is a disposal of residential property. Your siblings should seek tax advice before making any gift."

The full article is available to read online at the Sunday Times.

Rebecca is a partner in the private client team. She advises families and individuals on all aspects of private client law including willsestate planningadministration of estatestrusts and powers of attorney. She regularly advises clients including entrepreneurs, business owners and multi-generational family businesses on succession planning, with particular focus on inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning.

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