News - Real Estate - Services (April
Treatment of land titles when property owner passes
WHEN a registered landowner dies,
the law requires that changes be made to the Certificate of Title,
to be done at the National Land Agency's titles division.
Where the property is held
jointly, the surviving owner must make an application to note the
death of the deceased joint owner.
"This is done in the form of a
statutory declaration, and must first be submitted to the Stamp
Office for death duties to be assessed," says Joan Walker,
The declaration known as the
Revenue Affidavit sets out the estate or all the properties that
were held by the deceased landowner and helps the Stamp Office
determine the amount of death duties to be paid.
The surviving landowners must pay
death duties, but the law provides some exemptions, for example,
if the property is used as a principal place of residence, said
Walker, noting that the exemptions are captured in the Stamp Duty
and Transfer Tax Act.
This means that as long as the
landowners lived on the property, as opposed to having a business
there, they are eligible for the exemption.
Otherwise, the death duty amounts
to 15 per cent of the estate's value.
The Stamp Office provides the
applicant with a Form 8 or Stamp Commissioner's Certificate as
proof that the relevant duties have been paid or that an exemption
has been granted.
That form is submitted to the NLA,
alongside the existing land title, the declaration cross-stamped
by the Stamp Commissioner, the Death Certificate, and $100 flat
fee to register the notation of death on the title.
It takes approximately 15 days
for the notation to the title to be completed, and the amended
title returned to the applicant.
"We actually register and note
the death on the existing title," said Walker. "No new
title will be issued unless a separate document is submitted
requesting a new title."