Do I need to apply for probate?

My father-in-law died in 2014. My mother-in-law has started in residential care. As part of this process we have Lasting Power of Attorney for my mother-in-law. We have applied for a Deferred Payment Arrangement with my mother-in-law’s local authority to pay for her care. As part of this process we found some papers. It seems that some years before his death my father-in-law made a Deed of Gift to transfer 50% of their property to my mother-in-law for them to hold as Beneficial Tenants in Common. They then both made new wills so that their 50% share of the property to was to be left in trust. In my father-in-law’s case, the trustees were to be his wife and his daughter. I have looked on the Land Registry and can see that the tenancy in common has been registered. There is a restriction on the title, ‘No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court’. So I have two questions.
1 - Is there any need to apply for probate, my father-in-law had little money and no assets other than the family home?
2 - We are considering the option of renovating the family home and renting it out to pay towards my mother-in-law’s care. Does this alter any answer given to (1)?

As ever with this type of thing, it is all new and I’m in the initial ‘getting my head around it all’ phase. Any help gratefully received.


Hi Mike.

Definitely one for the CAB to get their teeth stuck into :

Legal advice … nobody on this forum is qualified to give that.

As for the second question , AGE UK are best placed to give you the full sp on that … and not for just the present moment in time :
( Renting … affect capital value … runs into deprivation of assets ??? That’s why AGE UK are better to fully answer that one. )

The two are not mutually exclusive.


We have applied for a Deferred Payment Arrangement with my mother-in-law’s local authority to pay for her care.

( Purely curiosity … by choice / advice / recommendation … given the number of products out there ? )


My mother-in-law has started in residential care.

I assume that CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare is NOT a factor here ?

I’d ask the Probate Registry in your area.
My mum always said their house was in joint names, so after dad died I asked the solilcitor to register mum as the owner of the property with the Land Registry, only to find that dad had been sole owner!
We then had to apply for probate years after dad died!!

It’s so important that important information like this is shared in a family, not kept secret.
In your circumstances, I’m wondering who made the application to the Land Registry and why they didn’t tell anyone??

The Land Registry is based in Weymouth, we had a query about our own property (and discovered we owned some of what we thought belonged to our neighbours!) I’d suggest that you rang them first for an informal chat, or visited if it’s not too far away. They were very helpful to me.

Otherwise, have a look at their website for information.

Any legal fees regarding MIL’s property should be paid for by her money, NOT yours, by the way.

I agree that you might contact the probate office to see if they can help and AGE UK about the renting out. But I am wondering why this arrangement was made and what the purpose of the trust was, and who the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust are. I would think you need to know that, and I would think a solicitor could explain it, but is there any other paperwork, or which solicitor made this arrangement in the first place?

I do know that husband and wife are usually joint tenants, but if they become tenants in common, there is always a note at the Land Registry that neither one of them can sell the house alone. It isn’t a big deal, but you would need paperwork to show that of all the people with rights in the house, only one is still alive - then you should be able to get the note removed. So I am thinking, the more paperwork you can find, the less work a solicitor would need to do to help you.

You aren’t wanting to sell, though. I am. I own a house 100% but I can’t sell it on my own. We sent documents to the Land Registry, but if it doesn’t respond soon, I can appoint my solicitor a trustee and he can sell it jointly with me!

Not sure if this is really helpful.