Inheriting a home can often come with mixed feelings -despair at just losing a loved one on one hand and delight at gaining a property than can potentially change your financial fortune, especially if we are talking about an estate. At that point, when you receive the property, probably through the deceased’s will, the logistics of handling it are probably the furthest thing from your mind. In the months and years to follow, this might prove to raise a lot of issues for you. Therefore, understanding the right steps to take with your inherited property can alleviate such future issues.
That said, the most important first step to take is to make the property legally yours with a proper transfer process. The transfer of property ownership in Nigeria is governed by various laws, however, the primary legal framework is the Land Use Act of 1978, which vests all lands in the state governors, and the Property and Conveyancing Law of the relevant state, which outlines the procedural requirements for property transfers.
Doing a transfer is very important because you find that in Nigeria, many people are exercising control over properties that are not even in their names only to tell you that “It is my father’s (or mother’s) house.”
The steps to take to legally make the property yours is what we shall be dealing with in this article.
When you inherit a property the first thing you need to ensure is to get it legally transferred in your name. In other words, you need to make sure to change the deed of the house you just inherited so that you can truly call it your own.
Being on the Deed of a house means that you are the legal and rightful owner. A house deed is a legal document that is used to transfer the ownership of real property from one person to another. Being on the deed of a property is important because it proves that you have the legal right, as the owner of the property, to take actions related to that property. For example, it gives you the right to sell the property one day.
How do you change the deed to your name?
i. Get a Copy of the Probated Will: Before you can change the deed on the inherited house, you must collect some vital documents and information. The first document you want to obtain is a copy of your loved one’s Will that has been probated by the court. The person who wrote the Will should have included a statement that they bequeath the property to you upon their passing, including a full description of the property in question. Most states will require proof that the Will has been probated before you can change the deed.
ii. Confirm the Nature of Property Ownership: Before you make any further moves on the property, you must confirm if it’s a single ownership (that is the person who bequeathed the property to you) or joint-ownership (the person and others). If it’s a single ownership, then you have less headache to deal with.
However, in the case where the property was jointly-owned, then you will need to take some extra steps. This means that there are two or more people on the deed, and upon the passing of one of those people, the deed belongs to the surviving owner. You must confirm that you’re actually eligible to inherit the property, even if it was bequeathed to you in a Will. The probate court should discover any possible issues and make a decision.
iii. Get a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate: There is need to obtain a proper proof that the previous owner of the home has passed away before you can legally be considered the new owner. To prove this, you will need a copy of their death certificate to submit along with the copy of the new deed, depending on the laws of the country.
iv: Draft a New Deed that Names You as the Property Owner: Once you’ve collected all the necessary information and documents, it’s time to draft a new deed. In this deed, spell out your full legal name and address, plus the full legal name and address of your loved one who passed away. The Deed of Assignment must contain essential information, such as the description of the property, purchase price, terms and conditions of the transfer, and the parties’ signatures.
v. Obtain Governor’s Consent: After executing the Deed of Assignment, the assignee must obtain the Governor’s consent or relevant authority, as required by Section 22 and 26 of the Land Use Act. This typically involves submitting an application, along with the relevant documents and payment of applicable fees, to the Governor or the authorized representative for review and approval.
vi. Pay the Statutory Fees and Stamping: After obtaining the consent of the Governor or relevant authority, you will be required by the Land Use Act to pay the requisite statutory fees for the property transfer and stamping. This must be done within 30 days of execution of the Deed of Assignment according to the Stamp Duties Act.
vii. Finally, Register the Transfer: Once the Governor’s consent is obtained, the assignee must register the transfer at the relevant land registry within 60 days of the execution of the Deed of Assignment in accordance with the Land Registration Law of Lagos State. This involves submitting the executed Deed of Assignment, the Governor’s consent, and other supporting documents to the land registry for registration. Registration of the transfer serves as evidence of ownership and protects the assignee’s legal rights. PWAN Stars have great new properties that you can enjoy all through life and still bequeath to your children in old age. Contact us today for further information on them.