Corporeal Hereditament

Corporeal Hereditament
Corporeal Hereditament
Full Overview Of Corporeal Hereditament

Corporeal hereditaments form a fundamental concept in the realm of property law, specifically in the context of English real estate. These are tangible, inheritable properties that one can physically perceive and occupy.

At DLS Solicitors, we aim to provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of such legal concepts to ensure informed decision-making in property transactions. This detailed overview explores the concept of corporeal hereditaments, their legal implications, types, and the processes involved in their management and transfer.

What are Corporeal Hereditaments?

Definition and Nature

Corporeal hereditaments refer to physical, tangible properties that can be inherited. The term originates from common law and encapsulates real property that one can physically touch, such as land and buildings. The distinction between corporeal and incorporeal hereditaments lies in their physicality; while corporeal hereditaments are tangible, incorporeal hereditaments pertain to intangible rights, such as easements or profits à prendre.

Legal Framework

The legal basis for corporeal hereditaments is grounded in common law and statutory provisions. Key statutes such as the Law of Property Act 1925 and the Land Registration Act 2002 provide the foundation for understanding and managing these properties. These laws ensure that corporeal hereditaments are properly recorded, transferred, and protected under English law.

Types of Corporeal Hereditaments


Land is the quintessential example of a corporeal hereditament. It encompasses not only the surface of the earth but also the soil beneath and the airspace above, within reasonable limits. Ownership of land includes rights to the minerals beneath and any natural resources on the surface.

Buildings and Structures

Buildings and structures erected on land are also considered corporeal hereditaments. This includes residential properties, commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and other permanent constructions. The ownership of such structures is inherently linked to the land upon which they stand.


Fixtures, which are items attached to the land or buildings in such a way that they become part of the property, are classified as corporeal hereditaments. Examples include built-in appliances, fitted kitchens, and plumbing installations. The distinction between fixtures and chattels (movable items) is significant in property transactions and inheritance.

Ownership Rights

Ownership of corporeal hereditaments bestows various rights upon the holder, including the right to possess, use, and enjoy the property. These rights can be exclusive, meaning the owner has the sole authority to determine how the property is used, within the limits of the law.

Transfer of Ownership

The transfer of ownership of corporeal hereditaments involves a formal legal process, typically executed through a deed. This process requires thorough due diligence, including title searches to ensure the property is free from encumbrances and legal disputes. Conveyancing solicitors play a crucial role in facilitating these transactions, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and protecting the interests of the parties involved.

Inheritance and Succession

Corporeal hereditaments are inheritable, meaning they can be passed down to heirs through a will or intestate succession. The laws governing inheritance of real property ensure that the decedent’s wishes are honoured, or, in the absence of a will, that the property is distributed according to statutory rules.

Land Registration

The Land Registration Act 2002 mandates the registration of land and associated corporeal hereditaments. This registration process provides legal certainty and protection for property owners, as it records ownership and any interests or encumbrances affecting the property. Registered land is easier to transfer and provides clear evidence of title.

The Role of Solicitors in Corporeal Hereditaments

Advising on Transactions

Solicitors are instrumental in advising clients on the purchase, sale, and lease of corporeal hereditaments. This includes conducting due diligence, drafting and reviewing contracts, and ensuring compliance with all relevant legal requirements. At DLS Solicitors, we offer expert guidance to navigate the complexities of property transactions.

Handling Disputes

Disputes involving corporeal hereditaments can arise from boundary issues, ownership claims, and breaches of covenants. Solicitors provide legal representation in such disputes, aiming to resolve them through negotiation, mediation, or litigation if necessary. Our team at DLS Solicitors is adept at handling property disputes, ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients.

Estate Planning and Probate

In inheritance, solicitors assist clients in estate planning to ensure the smooth transfer of corporeal hereditaments to heirs. This involves drafting wills, establishing trusts, and navigating the probate process. Our expertise in estate planning ensures that our client’s wishes are honoured and their assets are protected.

Key Considerations in Managing Corporeal Hereditaments

Maintenance and Upkeep

Owners of corporeal hereditaments have a responsibility to maintain and upkeep their properties. This includes regular maintenance, repairs, and health and safety regulations compliance. Proper maintenance not only preserves the property’s value but also ensures its safety and usability.

Property Valuation

Accurate property valuation is crucial for various purposes, including sales, purchases, inheritance, and taxation. Professional valuation services assess the market value of corporeal hereditaments, considering factors such as location, condition, and market trends. At DLS Solicitors, we collaborate with valuation experts to provide our clients with reliable property assessments.

Environmental Considerations

Environmental considerations are increasingly important in the management of corporeal hereditaments. Issues such as land contamination, flood risks, and energy efficiency can impact property value and usability. Compliance with environmental regulations and sustainable practices are essential to mitigate these risks and enhance the property’s appeal.

Planning and Development

Any significant alterations or developments involving corporeal hereditaments require planning permission from the local authority. This process involves submitting detailed plans and ensuring compliance with planning policies and regulations. Solicitors can assist in navigating the planning process, addressing objections, and securing the necessary approvals.

Case Studies

Residential Property Purchase

Consider a young couple seeking to purchase their first home. The process involves conducting a title search to ensure the property is free from encumbrances, reviewing the sale contract, and facilitating the transfer of ownership. At DLS Solicitors, we guided the couple through each step, ensuring a smooth transaction and protecting their interests.

Commercial Lease Agreement

In another scenario, a business owner wishes to lease commercial premises for a new venture. The lease agreement must clearly outline the terms, including rent, duration, and responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. Our solicitors at DLS ensured the lease terms were fair and balanced, providing the client with a secure foundation for their business.

Inheritance of a Family Estate

A complex case involved the inheritance of a large family estate with multiple corporeal hereditaments, including farmland, residential properties, and commercial buildings. We assisted the heirs in navigating the probate process, valuing the properties, and resolving disputes among the beneficiaries. Our comprehensive approach ensured that the estate was efficiently managed and fairly distributed.

Technological Advancements

Advancements in technology are transforming the management and transaction of corporeal hereditaments. Digital platforms for property transactions, blockchain technology for secure and transparent title transfers, and advanced data analytics for property valuation are some of the innovations reshaping the industry. Staying abreast of these developments is crucial for property professionals and owners alike.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

The growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental impact is influencing the management of corporeal hereditaments. Green building practices, energy-efficient retrofits, and sustainable land use are becoming integral to property development and management. Compliance with environmental regulations and adopting sustainable practices can enhance the value and appeal of properties.

Legal and Regulatory Changes

The legal and regulatory landscape governing corporeal hereditaments is continually evolving. Changes in planning policies, land use regulations, and property taxation can significantly impact property management and transactions. Solicitors must stay informed of these changes to provide accurate and up-to-date advice to their clients.

Title and Ownership

Understanding the nature of title and ownership is fundamental in dealing with corporeal hereditaments. The title refers to the legal right to own property, while ownership is the actual possession and control of the property. Title deeds are the official documents proving ownership of a property. At DLS Solicitors, we conduct thorough title searches to ensure clear and undisputed ownership for our clients.

Easements and Rights of Way

Easements and rights of way are common issues associated with corporeal hereditaments. An easement grants a non-possessory interest in the land, such as the right to cross another person’s land. These rights can significantly impact the use and value of property. We advise clients on the implications of existing easements and assist in negotiating and drafting new easements when necessary.

Covenants and Restrictions

Covenants are legally binding promises included in property deeds that restrict or mandate certain uses of the property. They can be positive (requiring the owner to perform certain actions) or restrictive (limiting the owner’s actions). Understanding and adhering to these covenants is crucial, as breaches can lead to legal disputes and devaluation of the property. We provide expert guidance on interpreting and complying with covenants.

Mortgages and Charges

Corporeal hereditaments are often subject to mortgages and charges as a means of securing loans. A mortgage creates a legal charge on the property, allowing the lender to repossess the property if the borrower defaults on the loan. It is essential to understand the terms of any mortgages or charges on a property, as they affect ownership and the ability to sell or transfer the property. At DLS Solicitors, we ensure that our clients fully comprehend their obligations and rights concerning mortgages and charges.

Planning Law

Planning law governs the development and use of land and buildings. Obtaining planning permission is a critical step in property development, involving compliance with national and local planning policies. Failure to secure planning permission can result in enforcement actions and the need to reverse unauthorised developments. Our team assists clients in navigating the planning process, from preparing applications to addressing objections and securing approvals.

Practical Steps for Property Transactions

Due Diligence

Due diligence is a vital process in property transactions, involving comprehensive investigations to uncover any potential issues with the property. This includes title searches, environmental assessments, planning history reviews, and surveys. Conducting thorough due diligence mitigates risks and ensures informed decision-making. At DLS Solicitors, we conduct rigorous due diligence to protect our clients’ interests.

Drafting and Reviewing Contracts

Contracts form the backbone of property transactions, outlining the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties. Drafting clear, precise, and legally sound contracts is crucial to avoid disputes and ensure smooth transactions. Our solicitors have extensive experience in drafting and reviewing property contracts, ensuring that all necessary provisions are included and legally compliant.

Completion and Post-Completion

Completion is the final stage of a property transaction, where ownership is officially transferred, and the purchase price balance is paid. Post-completion tasks include registering the new ownership with the Land Registry, paying any applicable stamp duty, and ensuring all contractual obligations are fulfilled. We guide our clients through the completion process, ensuring all legal requirements are met, and the transaction is successfully concluded.

Estate Planning and Probate

Wills and Trusts

Estate planning involves preparing wills and trusts to manage the distribution of assets, including corporeal hereditaments, upon the owner’s death. A well-drafted will ensures that the owner’s wishes are honoured, while trusts can provide ongoing management and protection of assets. Our solicitors specialise in estate planning, helping clients structure their estates efficiently and according to their wishes.

Navigating Probate

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. It involves proving the will’s validity, valuing the estate, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Navigating probate can be complex and time-consuming, especially when the estate includes multiple corporeal hereditaments. At DLS Solicitors, we provide expert guidance and support throughout the probate process, ensuring a smooth and efficient estate administration.

Dispute Resolution

Common Disputes

Disputes involving corporeal hereditaments can arise from various issues, such as boundary disputes, breaches of covenants, or conflicts over easements and rights of way. These disputes can be contentious and require expert legal intervention to resolve. Our solicitors are skilled in handling property disputes and offering negotiation, mediation, and litigation services to protect our clients’ interests.

Mediation and Negotiation

Mediation and negotiation are often preferable to litigation, as they can be quicker, less costly, and less adversarial. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable solution. Our team is experienced in mediation and negotiation, striving to resolve disputes amicably and efficiently.


When disputes cannot be resolved through mediation or negotiation, litigation may be necessary. This involves taking the dispute to court, where a judge will make a binding decision. Litigation can be complex and requires thorough preparation and expert representation. At DLS Solicitors, we provide robust legal representation in property disputes, ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients.


Corporeal hereditaments are a critical aspect of property law, encompassing tangible, inheritable properties integral to real estate transactions and management. Understanding these properties’ legal implications, types, and processes is essential for effective property management and informed decision-making.

At DLS Solicitors, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services to our clients, guiding them through the complexities of corporeal hereditaments. From advising on transactions and handling disputes to estate planning and navigating regulatory changes, our expertise ensures that our client’s interests are protected and their property goals are achieved.

As the property landscape evolves, staying informed of technological advancements, sustainability trends, and legal developments will be crucial. Our commitment to continuous learning and adaptation enables us to offer our clients the highest level of service and support, ensuring their success in the dynamic world of real estate.

Corporeal Hereditament FAQ'S

A corporeal hereditament refers to physical, tangible property that can be inherited. This includes land, buildings, and fixtures attached to the land. It is distinguished from incorporeal hereditaments, which are intangible rights or interests in property, such as easements.

Corporeal hereditaments, such as land and buildings, are tangible and can be physically touched. In contrast, incorporeal hereditaments are intangible rights or interests associated with property, like rights of way or profits à prendre.

Yes, corporeal hereditaments can be transferred or sold. The transfer usually occurs through legal mechanisms such as sale, gift, or inheritance, and must be documented appropriately to ensure proper title transfer.

Yes, fixtures, which are items attached to the land or buildings in such a way that they become part of the property, are considered part of corporeal hereditaments. Examples include built-in furniture, plumbing fixtures, and certain types of machinery.

Corporeal hereditaments are significant in property law because they constitute the primary form of real property. Understanding what qualifies as a corporeal hereditament affects ownership rights, transfer processes, and taxation.

Corporeal hereditaments are subject to various taxes in the UK, including Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on transfers, Council Tax for residential properties, and Business Rates for commercial properties. The exact tax liability depends on the property’s use and value.

The transfer of corporeal hereditaments typically involves legal documents such as deeds, sale contracts, and transfer forms. For registered land, the transfer must be registered with the Land Registry to complete the transfer of ownership.

Yes, corporeal hereditaments can be subject to easements, which are rights for others to use the property for a specific purpose (e.g., right of way), and other rights such as restrictive covenants that limit how the property can be used.

Upon the owner’s death, corporeal hereditaments form part of the deceased’s estate and are distributed according to the terms of the will or, if there is no will, in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Executors or administrators handle the transfer process.

Yes, corporeal hereditaments can be leased. A lease grants the tenant the right to use the property for a specified period in exchange for rent. The lease terms, including duration and rent amount, are typically outlined in a lease agreement.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 15th July 2024.

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Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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