Categories
Conveyancing

What is a conveyancing solicitor and do I need one?

Private Legal Services

7th September 2020

Home sales and purchases are among the most complicated, time-consuming experiences you’ll encounter in your life. The associated legal procedures are together called conveyancing, and most people find that they need expert help to navigate them. A conveyancing solicitor assists with all aspects of the process to mitigate hurdles and ensure that both purchases and sales happen smoothly.

What a Conveyancing Solicitor Does

Many people assume that conveyancing solicitors only handle the paperwork regarding a home purchase, but in fact, they also facilitate the title transfer, inspect the property, and address legal issues that come up during the process. They’re well versed in multiple areas of law so that they can assist clients with all aspects of a home transition.

Whether you’re selling or purchasing a property, conveyancing solicitors are responsible for helping the transaction meet both parties’ satisfaction. This entails acquiring the title deed from you, your current solicitor, or your mortgage lender; preparing the property information form; and communicating with the other party’s solicitor. It’s a good idea to use the same solicitor for both buying and selling.

Here’s a brief overview of how the conveyancing solicitor operates during the transaction:

  • The conveyancing solicitor conducts property searches and helps you get a full, accurate portrait of the property’s risks, liabilities, amenities, and other attributes.
  • The seller’s conveyancer will provide a draft contract that defines the conditions of the sale and the completion timeline.
  • The seller’s conveyancer will also obtain the title deeds and other key documents.
  • After the seller signs the contract, it will be sent to the buyer’s conveyancer for approval.
  • Next, the conveyancers exchange contracts, and the buyer’s deposit is transferred to the solicitor. The contract is legally binding and the prospective buyer is required to pay 10 percent of the property value if they drop out.
  • On the completion date (usually 1–4 weeks after the contract exchange), the property is legally transferred to the new owner, who pays the outstanding balance, and the seller must vacate the property and turn over the keys.

Conveyancing solicitors are not to be confused with licensed conveyors, whose legal expertise is limited to property law. However, they are fully certified to handle conveyancing, and indeed, they help establish regulatory standards in the practice. Still, if you need assistance with other legal issues associated with your home transition (e.g. divorce-related division of assets, tenant agreements, etc.), it’s best to bring a full-service conveyancing solicitor on board.

Why You Need a Conveyancing Solicitor

Some property buyers attempt to carry out conveyancing themselves, but given the process’ complexity, it’s strongly recommended to hire an expert. It’s too easy to overlook key contract provisions or potential issues on the property itself.

For example, some buyers have purchased homes only to discover that the land itself is a leasehold. Without a conveyancing solicitor checking for this, buyers could unwittingly pass their property to the landowner once the lease expires. Other buyers have learned that their new property ownership entails a vulnerable site, such as archaeological remains or abandoned mines. A conveyancing solicitor will assess all characteristics of a property, including the risk of floods, ground contamination, and underground infrastructure, so that buyers can make the best decision.

Conveyancing solicitors also help the transfer of property go smoothly. If you attempt to handle the process yourself, you’ll likely find yourself struggling to juggle contract exchange, funds transfer, keys pickup, and the overall completion timeline. The process can take several weeks and be nerve-wracking for both the buyer and seller. As it is, you’ll have lots of forms to fill out, so it’s a good idea to let your solicitor handle what they can. When both parties have solicitors, it’s typically much easier for all tasks, documents, and funds to move in a stepwise fashion, leading up to the joyous moment of final, legal homeownership.

Conclusion

Conveyancing is a multi-faceted process that must be executed in a timely, orderly fashion to ensure smooth property transactions. Buying or selling a home is already quite stressful and emotional, and so it’s wise to select a conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer to assist you. This way, you can gain the peace of mind that you fully understand what you’re purchasing or get the most out of the property you’re selling, and have expert help during the process. Moving house is stressful enough! We are committed to making the process of buying and selling a house run as smoothly as possible. For expert professional conveyancing services, contact Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors and get the next chapter of your life started!

Categories
Probate

The Probate Process: Applying for Probate and Taking Next Steps

Applying For Probate

24th July 2020

When a loved one passes, it’s already a difficult enough time without added stress. On top of that, it can be a challenging process taking on the complicated duties of administering the estate, but that’s exactly what the executor of a Will and an estate has to do.

This is called the probate process, and it involves calling in assets, paying off any remaining debts, and paying any applicable inheritance taxes. All of that comes before distributing the estate according to the Will of the deceased or, worse, dealing with the rules of intestacy if the deceased died without leaving a Will.

Most of the time, a probate lawyer is best equipped to help an executor through this process, but before going to that step, it’s important to understand the process first. The exact steps and details may vary according to the Will and other factors, but what follows is a basic summation of the process.

Apply for a Grant of Probate

The person designated as the executor of the Will must file for a Grant of Probate with the probate court. This is the process of asking for legal recognition of executor status and permission to represent and administer the estate.

Additionally, the executor has to file the Will and a death certificate with the court along with any other documents the jurisdiction may require. The court will then hold a hearing to approve the executor. This is also the stage where the court will hear any objections from other parties regarding the executor.

If the deceased did not leave a will, the court will decide how to administer the estate, or a relative of the deceased, commonly the next of kin, may petition to become the executor.

Give Notice and Take Inventory of Assets

Assuming the executor is approved and obtaining the Grant of Probate succeeds, it is now time to notify all creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs that the estate is in probate. The exact means of doing this may vary by local laws.

At the same time begins inventorying all assets and appraising their values. This includes but is not limited to financial accounts (bank, retirement, etc.), stocks and bonds, real estate holdings, and valuable personal items (art collections, automobiles, and jewelry are some examples).

Take Care of Remaining Bills and Debts

Before distributing assets to beneficiaries and heirs, it is necessary to close out any outstanding debts. This can be a time-consuming process because it often requires extensive scrutiny of records, accounts, and the like.

Likewise, the executor has to pay all applicable income and inheritance taxes.

To pay these debts, the executor will use the estate’s assets. In the event that the estate cannot cover all debts, the court will have to take over and prioritize the remaining claims against the estate.

This works the other way as well. If there is money owed to the estate, such as through paychecks, rent owed by tenants, and other forms of owed compensation or remuneration, the executor sees that those obligations are met.

If there are disputes between creditors and the estate, it’s best for the executor to seek representation by a probate lawyer immediately if he or she has not already done so.

Establishing an estate account to pay bills and other expenses makes this part of the process easier to manage.

Distribute the Rest of the Estate

Now that all debts have been covered, it is time to distribute the remaining assets according to the instructions in the Will. This is the stage where there might be disputes between the executor and beneficiaries, and this possibility is another persuasive argument for hiring a probate lawyer to help steer the executor through what can be a protracted, complicated, and occasionally bitter process.

Finally, Close the Estate

With all debts paid and assets distributed, the executor submits all records and receipts to the court and petitions for the estate to be closed. Once the court grants that, the executor is released from that role.

Probate Service by Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors

By now, you likely appreciate that the task of being the executor of an estate and managing the probate process is a daunting one even when everything goes smoothly. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all this on top of the stress surrounding the deceased’s passing. When there are disputes or when the Will is unusually complicated, things can get even more difficult to sort out.

Sometimes an executor desperately needs help. Sometimes an executor really prefers not to manage this process at all and would rather entrust it to a skilled professional solicitor.

Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors personalises its probate services according to every particular circumstance, and our lawyers are experts in managing and walking you through every step of the process.

Because we know this is a challenging time and a difficult process, we’ll work at a pace comfortable for you. Because we have spent more than a decade specializing in just such affairs, we work tirelessly to make this process as easy as possible on you while being efficient and effective in closing the estate. And because we know that circumstances can change rapidly, we provide the flexibility you need to handle all legal proceedings surrounding the passing of a loved one.

Let us help you manage your responsibility as executor and get you and your loved ones the closure they need. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us, and let us help you move forward and ensure that your loved one’s estate is wound up properly.

Categories
Wills

Do I Need A Will?

Wills

22nd April 2020

10 Compelling Reasons to Write A Will

The concept of preparing a will can seem daunting and let’s face it, nobody enjoys raising the subject of their eventual death among loved ones. For the procrastinators among us, it’s often overlooked as ‘something I must get around to doing when I have time’ and for many, that time never comes. You can read more about that scenario in our article titled ‘What is Probate?’.

Another common justification for avoiding the process is simply the assumption that it wouldn’t be a necessary thing to do for someone who doesn’t own high value assets.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we specialise in will writing and helping our clients understand the importance of documenting even the most inexpensive assets which may have huge sentimental value to a loved one following their death.

In this article we share 10 compelling benefits of preparing a will as we aim to bust a few myths on the topic and demonstrate the importance of writing even the simplest of wills.

  • To ensure that on your death, your estate passes to beneficiaries of your choice and excludes you specify. This can include specific sentimental items that you’d live a nominated person to receive.
  • To save your heirs from considerable time, trouble and expense incurred as a result of you not having a will.
  • To make sure that your assets are passed to the partner you live with in the event that you’re not married or in a registered civil partnership. The law doesn’t automatically recognise partners who live together and without a will in place, your partner could be left with nothing.
  • To protect any children or dependents who may not be able to care from themselves. Without a will, there could be uncertainty about who will look after and provide for your children or dependants following your death.
  • To legally document any changes to your circumstances e.g. marriage, divorce, separation or children. Changes to your circumstances could make all or part of a previous will invalid or inadequate.
  • To help ensure that your heirs save significant amounts of inheritance tax and to understand how inheritance tax affects what you own.
  • To plan efficiently for tax purposes regarding any property you own outside of the UK.
  • To manage any tax and administration issues if you were born outside of the UK or if you have long term connections outside of England & Wales.
  • If You have assets that could be put into trust before your death. wills only take effect upon death and it may be appropriate for you to put assets into a trust during your lifetime as this could have significant tax benefits.
  • If you made a will without the help of a trusted expert, you may have made a mistake which may cause problems for your family or friends after your death.

If you have any questions about the necessity of preparing a will or updating an existing will in relation to your personal circumstances, please contact Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors based in Woodley for trusted advice and a professional and respectful service.

Tel: 0118 343 2737
Email: [email protected]

Categories
Conveyancing

Equity Release

Conveyancing | Equity Release

22nd April 2020

Why You Need A Solicitor To Act On Your Behalf

Many people find themselves needing access to more cash during retirement or in later life. In a scenario where you don’t have enough savings, there are ways to use the value of your home to boost your finances.

At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we support our clients with the conveyancing process after your Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor has explained the different Equity Release options available to help you extract cash from your property.

Equity Release is only available to people aged over 55 and is paid back on the sale of the property.

The Conveyancing Process

After your Financial Advisor or Mortgage Advisor has helped you with the right financial product, Equity Release provider such as Nationwide or Legal and General will make you a mortgage offer.

They will ask you to nominate a Conveyancing Solicitor to act on your behalf. Equity Release is one of our core services at Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors so we are well placed to assist by executing the following process:

  • We will organise an appointment to meet you, face to face or online.
  • Advise you about the Mortgage Deed together with the accompanying documents from the Equity Release Provider.
  • Send all the documents to the Equity Release Provider’s Solicitor.
  • Answer any additional enquiries that the Equity Release Provider’s Solicitors will raise.
  • Send the equity release monies to you on receipt.

For more information about whether we can help represent you as your Equity Release Conveyancer, get in touch with Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors based in Woodley for trusted advice and a professional and respectful service.

Tel: 0118 343 2737
Email: [email protected]

Categories
Lasting Powers of Attorney

Lasting Powers Of Attorney (LPA)

22nd April 2020

A Guide To Understanding The Different Types Of LPA

When it comes to giving someone Lasting Power of Attorney, there are a few fundamental things to note about the different types and what they mean. In this article, Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors has outlined the options that can be put in place to give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs.

If you’re aged 18 or older and have the mental ability to make financial, property and medical decisions for yourself, you can arrange for someone else to make these decisions for you in the future if there comes a time when you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. This legal authority is called “lasting power of attorney” and will give people that you nominate the power to make decisions on your behalf.

The person who is given power of attorney is known as the “attorney” and must be over 18 years old. You are known as the “donor”.

There are 2 different types of LPA:

Personal Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

A personal welfare LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your daily routine in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions. This can include washing, dressing, eating, medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining medical treatment.

Property & Financial Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Property and financial affairs LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions about your money and property, including managing your bank or building society accounts, paying bills, collecting your pension or benefits and, if necessary, selling your home.

Once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, it can be used immediately or held in readiness until required.

It’s generally recommended that you set up both a personal welfare LPA and a property and financial affairs LPA at the same time and many people do this while reviewing or revising their Will. You can read more about the benefits of preparing a Will in our article titled ‘Do I need a Will?’.

For more information about LPA’s or advice on registering an Attorney, get in touch with Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors based in Woodley for trusted advice and a professional and respectful service.

Tel: 0118 343 2737
Email: [email protected]

Categories
Probate

What Is Probate?

Applying For Probate

22nd April 2020

A SIMPLE GUIDE TO THE STAGES OF PROBATE

Managing the financial and property related affairs of a loved one when they die is never easy. At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we have prepared a simple guide to talk you through the steps required when administering a dead person’s estate.

The entire administration process is called ‘Probate’. In a nutshell, this process involves organising the finances, assets and possessions of the deceased and distributing them as inheritance – after paying any debts and taxes.

Every estate and every Will is different so the process will vary according to the instructions left in the Will and the assets, creditors and beneficiaries the estate has. You can read more about the benefits of writing a Will in our article titled ‘Do I need a Will?’

If you have been appointed an Executor in somebody’s Will, you are responsible for carrying out probate. There are four main stages to the process:

  • Assessing the total value of the estate and whether it’s liable for inheritance tax.
  • Apply to the probate registry for a grant of probate and submit an inheritance tax form to the tax office.
  • Pay any inheritance tax that is due and swear an oath at a Solicitors office or a probate registry.
  • Administer the estate by gathering in assets, paying off any debts and distributing what is left according to the Will.


For more information about applying for probate or the probate process including how long it takes and how much it costs, get in touch with Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors based in Woodley for trusted advice and a professional and respectful service.

Tel: 0118 343 2737
Email: [email protected]