Q: My husband and I bought our house together two years ago and have just got married. I’ve contacted my bank, HMRC and so on to let them know my married name but a friend said I also need to change the name on the house deeds. Is this necessary and do I need to do it through a solicitor?
A: It is not a legal requirement to update your property deeds when you get married, but if you have changed your name either the deeds will have to be changed before you can sell the property or you would need to produce a certified copy of your marriage certificate on sale. If you leave it until the point of sale it can cause a delay so it is preferable to get the Land Registry record updated beforehand.
Getting the name changed on your deeds is an easy process and you do not need to involve a solicitor. Generally there is no fee to pay either. You simply need to send a letter to the Land Registry office requesting the name change, together with either the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
It is surprising how many couples own property together before entering into a marriage or civil partnership, and as a result change their names, and do not think to change the name on their deeds until the conveyancing solicitor handling the later sale of their property makes the discovery.
It is particularly difficult if the property is being sold after a divorce because there is no longer a marriage certificate to submit. So you can end up with a situation whereby identity documents are in someone’s married name but the property is in their maiden name. Even more difficult is if after the divorce one party remains in the property, remarries and acquires yet another name.