by Clare Lewis, a Licensed Conveyancer with GHP Legal.

Q: My partner and I have been together for almost four years and are planning to start a family. Our house is in my name only, but I would like her name on the deeds to show my commitment to our relationship. Does she have to be on the mortgage too?

A: Firstly, you will need to ask your mortgage lender to have her name added, so be aware that they will carry out income and credit checks and possibly charge a fee.

To add your partner’s name to the deeds, you will need a ‘transfer of equity’. You will both need to sign a Transfer Deed which transfers ownership from one party to another. Once this is completed your solicitor will submit the application to the Land Registry for the Register/Deeds to be updated.

Before you do anything, however, you should take legal advice as there are wider implications than just mortgage payments. There could for example be stamp duty and tax implications. Then you must decide whether you want to own the property as tenants in common, or as joint tenants.

Tenants in common is where each of you owns a specified percentage of the property which you can then pass down to your children in the event of your death. This is sometimes the preferred option in cases where one party has put more capital into the property than the other. Joint tenants is where both parties have equal rights to the whole property, and in the event of a death the property passes on to the other owner.

Finally, you should ask your solicitor to update your Wills to reflect your life changes and ensure that what you wish for the future is carried out when you have gone.

This question has been answered by Clare Lewis, a Licensed Conveyancer with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194