Main Residence Nil Rate Band

#1
I have been looking into how the recent additional nil rate band for a main residence works and can't find absolute confirmation on one point relating to the ability to transfer the unused amount from one spouse to the estate of the other spouse. Specifically, does the first spouse to die have to have formally owned any part of their main residence?

My situation is that I bought our current property on my own, with a mortgage just in my name which is now paid off. My girlfriend then moved in with me and subsequently we got married. The Land Registry entry has never been changed so it is me who is listed as the proprietor.

If I die first, my wife gets everything, and then when she dies our estate will benefit from my transferred IHT allowance for both the standard £325,000 plus the additional main residence allowance, curently £125,000 added to hers giving us £900,000 which is above what the estate will be worth so no IHT to pay.

However, in the reverse situation, would the transfer of nil rate main residence band be allowed? I've seen some guidance implying you just need to have had a UK based main residence but other guidance which talks about having a "qualifying interest" which seems to imply ownership.

If it's not allowed, there must be loads of people in the same boat and I expect I would have found plenty of stuff through google, which I haven't. If it needs attention, I guess I could just gift joint tenancy to my wife. Any help would be appreciated.
 
#2
I'm more than 90 per cent certain that you are 'tenants in common' so either way it passes seamlessly to t'other on the death of either.
 

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