Full Overview Of Hereditaments

Hereditaments are a crucial concept in property law, encompassing any property, whether real or personal, that can be inherited. Understanding hereditaments is essential for estate planning, property management, and probate matters. At DLS Solicitors, we specialise in these areas and aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of hereditaments, addressing their types, legal implications, valuation, and the complexities involved in their management and transfer.

Definition and Types of Hereditaments

The term “hereditament” refers to any property that can be inherited. Hereditaments are broadly categorised into two main types: corporeal and incorporeal.

Corporeal Hereditaments

Corporeal hereditaments are tangible properties with a physical presence that can be seen and touched. These include:

  • Land and Buildings: This encompasses residential, commercial, and industrial properties. As a corporeal hereditament, land includes the ground itself and any structures affixed to it, such as houses, offices, and factories.
  • Fixtures: Items permanently attached to the property, like built-in cabinets, plumbing, and heating systems, are considered part of the land and hence corporeal hereditaments.

Incorporeal Hereditaments

Incorporeal hereditaments are intangible rights associated with property. These include:

  • Easements: Rights to use another person’s land for a specific purpose, such as a right of way or a right to draw water.
  • Profits à Prendre: Rights to take something from another’s land, like minerals, timber, or game.
  • Rent Charges: Regular payments made by a landowner to a third party, often as a result of historical agreements.

Legal Framework

Hereditaments are governed by a complex legal framework that includes property law, inheritance law, and tax regulations. Key legislation affecting hereditaments includes the Law of Property Act 1925, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, and the Capital Gains Tax Act 1979.

Law of Property Act 1925

The Law of Property Act 1925 is a cornerstone of property law in the UK, consolidating and modernising earlier statutes. It governs the transfer of land and interests in land, providing the legal foundation for creating, transferring, and extinguishing both corporeal and incorporeal hereditaments.

Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975

This Act ensures that certain family members and dependents can apply for reasonable financial provision from a deceased person’s estate if they were not adequately provided for in the will or under the intestacy rules. It impacts the distribution of hereditaments within an estate.

Capital Gains Tax Act 1979

The Capital Gains Tax Act of 1979, along with subsequent amendments, imposes a tax on the profit made from the disposal of assets, including hereditaments. Understanding the tax implications is crucial for estate planning and the transfer of property.

Valuation of Hereditaments

Valuing hereditaments accurately is essential for estate planning, tax calculations, and probate. Valuation involves assessing the market value of both corporeal and incorporeal hereditaments.

Valuation of Corporeal Hereditaments

The valuation of corporeal hereditaments, such as land and buildings, typically involves:

  • Market Analysis: Comparing the property with similar properties recently sold in the area.
  • Condition Assessment: Evaluating the physical state of the property, including any structural issues or required repairs.
  • Location Factors: Considering the property’s location, including local amenities, transport links, and neighbourhood desirability.

Valuation of Incorporeal Hereditaments

Valuing incorporeal hereditaments can be more complex due to their intangible nature. This may involve:

  • Income Potential: Assessing the potential income generated by rights such as easements or rent charges.
  • Legal Rights: Evaluating the strength and duration of the legal rights associated with the hereditament.
  • Market Demand: Considering the demand for such rights in the current market.

Transfer of Hereditaments

The transfer of hereditaments can occur through sale, gift, or inheritance. Each method involves different legal processes and considerations.

Sale of Hereditaments

Selling hereditaments requires a legally binding contract and adherence to conveyancing procedures. This involves:

  • Title Investigation: Ensuring the seller has the legal right to transfer the property and that there are no encumbrances or legal issues.
  • Contract Preparation: Drafting a contract that outlines the terms of the sale, including the price, completion date, and any conditions.
  • Completion and Registration: Finalising the sale by transferring ownership and registering the change with the Land Registry.

Gift of Hereditaments

Gifting hereditaments, particularly within a family, can have significant tax implications. The process involves:

  • Deed of Gift: Creating a legal document that transfers ownership without financial consideration.
  • Tax Considerations: Understanding potential inheritance tax and capital gains tax liabilities.
  • Legal Advice: Ensure the gift is made in accordance with legal requirements to avoid future disputes.

Inheritance of Hereditaments

Hereditaments are often transferred through inheritance, which can be a complex process involving:

  • Wills and Intestacy: Determining the distribution of property based on the deceased’s will or the rules of intestacy if no will exists.
  • Probate: The legal process of validating the will and administering the estate, including the transfer of hereditaments to beneficiaries.
  • Tax Implications: Calculating and paying any inheritance tax due on the value of the hereditaments.

Management of Hereditaments

Effective management of hereditaments is essential to maintaining their value and ensuring compliance with legal obligations.

Property Maintenance

Maintaining corporeal hereditaments involves regular inspections, repairs, and improvements to preserve the property’s condition and market value.

Legal Compliance

Ensuring compliance with legal requirements, such as health and safety regulations, building codes, and tenancy laws, is crucial for managing hereditaments.

Financial Management

Managing the financial aspects, including paying taxes, collecting rents, and budgeting for maintenance and improvements, is essential for maximising the value of hereditaments.

Challenges and Considerations

Managing and transferring hereditaments involves several challenges and considerations that require careful planning and professional advice.

Legal Complexities

The legal framework governing hereditaments is complex, requiring a thorough understanding of property, inheritance, and tax laws. Legal advice is essential to navigate these complexities.

Tax Implications

The transfer and management of hereditaments can have significant tax implications, including inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and stamp duty. Understanding these implications and planning accordingly is crucial.

Family Dynamics

Transferring hereditaments within a family can lead to disputes and conflicts. Clear communication, fair distribution, and legal documentation are essential to managing family dynamics.

Market Fluctuations

The value of corporeal hereditaments can fluctuate based on market conditions. Regular valuation and market analysis are important to make informed decisions.


Properties that can be inherited, whether tangible or intangible, are known as hereditaments in property law. It is crucial to understand their types, legal framework, valuation, transfer, and management for effective estate planning and property management. At DLS Solicitors, we offer expert advice and support to help our clients navigate the complexities of hereditaments, enabling them to make informed decisions and effectively manage their properties. Whether you are dealing with the sale, gift, or inheritance of hereditaments, our team is here to assist you at every step, providing tailored solutions to meet your needs.

Hereditaments FAQ'S

A hereditament is any kind of property that can be inherited. This term includes both tangible property, such as land and buildings (real hereditaments), and intangible property, such as rents or rights (incorporeal hereditaments).

Real hereditaments are tangible properties that can be inherited, such as land, buildings, and other structures attached to the land. They are a type of real property.

Incorporeal hereditaments are intangible rights or interests in property that can be inherited. Examples include easements, profits à prendre, and rentcharges.

Hereditaments are classified into real hereditaments (physical property like land and buildings) and incorporeal hereditaments (intangible rights like easements and rents).

Hereditaments are significant in inheritance law because they represent the assets that can be passed down from one generation to another through Wills or intestacy. Understanding the type of hereditament helps determine how it is handled in the distribution of an estate.

Yes, hereditaments can be sold or transferred during a person’s lifetime. Real hereditaments, like land and buildings, can be sold through conveyancing, while incorporeal hereditaments, such as easements, can be transferred through legal agreements.

Hereditaments are assessed for various taxes, including inheritance tax, which is levied on the value of the estate at the time of the owner’s death. Real hereditaments may also be subject to property taxes like council tax or business rates.

In the context of business rates, hereditaments refer to any rateable unit of property. The valuation of these hereditaments determines the amount of business rates payable by the occupier.

Yes, leasehold interests can be considered hereditaments. Although the tenant does not own the freehold, their leasehold interest in the property can be inherited or transferred, subject to the terms of the lease.

The transfer of real hereditaments typically requires a deed, such as a conveyance or transfer deed. Incorporeal hereditaments might be transferred using specific legal documents pertinent to the type of right, such as a deed of assignment for easements.


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: 11th 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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