Preparation of public deeds

Preparation of public deeds


Public deeds are legal documents which are formally registered and provide a record of an agreement between at least two parties.


To be a deed, a document needs to be:


  • in writing
  • must make clear that it is intended to be a deed by the person making it, or the parties to it – this is done by the document describing itself as a deed, or expressing itself to be executed as a deed or otherwise
  • must be validly executed as a deed by the person making it, or one or more of the parties to it.


Property Deeds


The most common public deeds involve property, such as title deeds registered at HM Land Registry to record details of property ownership from the moment a property is completed and is bought and sold.


Deeds of Trust are common in property law – for example, when a property is held by a third party as part of an agreement between a lender and a borrower. The deed is held until any mortgage debt is paid off – when this happens, a reconveyancing deed returns title in the property (ownership) to the lender and they transfer title in the property to the borrower via a Trustee Deed.


Deeds of Trust


When a trust is set up to hold assets belonging to a family or individual, a trust deed is drawn up appointing trustees to manage the assets held in the trust and registering the trust.


Trusts can be used for many purposes – for example, to hold assets to pay for a child’s education, or even the education of future generations of a family.


Trusts can also be a tax efficient way of minimising tax liability for probate, as assets held in the trust will not be included in an estate.


Deeds of trust can also be used in cases where a property is owned jointly, but one party has paid more than the other – a deed of trust ensures that in the event the property is sold or a relationship between the co-owners breaks down, each party receives a share reflecting their original investment. Sometimes this is known as a co-ownership agreement.


In inheritance tax planning, it is also possible for spouses and civil partners to hold property as tenants in common or as joint tenants – a deed can be drawn up for either: as tenants in common, a property would pass automatically to the surviving partner upon the death of the other; whereas as joint tenants, the partners can choose to leave their share to whoever they wish and their share of the property is also ring fenced from assessment, should the other partner need to live in a public sector care home, or need to claim welfare benefits.


Lasting Power of Attorney


Individuals and families may also consider deeds such as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), of which there are two types – LPA for health and welfare and LPA for property and finances.


The person granting power of attorney is known as the donor – and they choose one or more attorneys to act for them, should they become incapacitated and unable to act for themselves in matters regarding their healthcare or making financial decisions.


LPA forms are complex – and LPA should never be considered without careful thought. It is always best to seek legal advice when considering giving a family member power of attorney, to make sure both the donor and the attorney understand exactly what is involved and the attorney(s) understands their legal duties, as the best interests of the donor must always be placed first and foremost.


It is also possible for donors to make partial deed of revocation to remove a person from the LPA.


Deed of Family Arrangement


Another form of deed families may come across is a Deed of Family Arrangement – this is used in cases where a will needs to be amended once a loved one has died, often to make a will more tax efficient or because a family member has been overlooked.


Family members can agree on how assets in an estate should be distributed –and this agreement is registered via the Deed of Family Arrangement.


A Deed of Family Arrangement can also be useful where a will might be contested – if a family member has been left out of a will, or has not been adequately provided for, or another person claims from the estate, such as an ex-partner of the decedent.


It is always necessary to seek legal advice when considering drawing up public deeds, as without legal advice, it is possible to make decisions that could have negative lasting implications for the future wealth or welfare of families and individuals.


Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate Solicitors – Preparation of Public Deeds


Duncan Lewis wills and probate solicitors offer clear and focused advice on the preparation of public deeds – and can complete the paperwork and register the deed on behalf of clients, to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and the parties are aware of the legal aspects of a public deed.


There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide – and our specialist wills and probate solicitors can advise individuals, families and high net worth individuals on wills and probate matters, including preparation of public deeds.


Duncan Lewis offers competitively-priced fixed fees for wills and probate matters, whenever possible – with hourly rates for contentious probate matters.


For expert legal advice on Wills and Probate and the Preparation of Public Deeds, call Duncan Lewis Wills and Probate Solicitors in confidence on 0333 772 0409.