If you have question, please do not hesitate to contact us. Here are a selection of our most frequently asked questions

Residential Conveyancing FAQs

How long does it take to buy or sell a house?

It usually takes between 6-8 weeks depending upon the prevailing market conditions, the complexity of the transaction and the length of the chain.

Will I have to pay a deposit?

There is usually a deposit of 10% of the purchase price to pay on exchanging contracts. However when you are selling as well as buying at the same time, often the deposit paid by your buyer will be accepted by your seller.

What is 'exchange of contracts'

You are legally committed to buying/selling a property when the solicitors acting for the buyer and seller have 'exchanged' contracts. The contracts are exchanged once the solicitors are satisfied that the necessary checks and searches have been carried out. The 'exchange' is a telephone conversation between the solicitor acting for the seller and the buyer when they agree on the date and time that the contract is legally binding. The seller and the buyer do not need to be present when the solicitor exchanges contracts. Until contracts are exchanged both the seller and the buyer are free to withdraw from the transaction and there is no legal obligation or any legal responsibility to the other party. The completion date (moving date) is set upon exchange of contracts and cannot usually be changed following an exchange of contracts.

Gifting Property

Do I pay tax if I give away my Property?

This all depends on your personal circumstances and there is no 'one size fits all' response. We would need to consider in full detail your particular circumstances and provide advice tailored to you.

Can I still live in my home following the gift?

Yes. Formal arrangements to ensure that you can remain living in your home would be required to provide peace of mind that you do not have to leave your home following the gift.

Can my family ask me to leave?

This depends on your circumstances and whether you have put in place a formal agreement to ensure that you can remain living in your home. We will discuss the pros and cons of gifting your property at the start of the transaction.

What happens if my son or daughter gets divorced or becomes bankrupt following the gift of my property to my son or daughter?

There are certain measures that we can put in place at the time that the gift is made. Prevention is better than the cure. A gift of property transaction is not without certain risks and our specialist solicitors will discuss these with you.

What happens if I go in to a care home?

This depends upon your personal circumstances and any formal agreements with your family as to what is to happen if you are no longer able to live in your home. Depending on the length of time between the gift of your property and the need to move to a care home is one of the factors that the Local Authority will consider when assessing eligibility for a local authority funded place in a care home. This will be discussed with you if it is a concern.

Commercial FAQs

What is ‘Due Dilligence’?

This is the buyer’s process of checking the financial records, legal information (employment contracts, licences and permissions etc) and ownership of the business assets. It can include numerous ‘standard’ enquiries which are later followed by more business specific enquiries. It can be a long process, especially if the seller has not gathered all the relevant information together prior to agreeing a sale.

What is a Warranty?

A warranty is a statement of truth or fact given by the seller to the buyer for the buyer to rely upon. Warranties can include legal, commercial and financial information about the business which the buyer cannot readily check for themselves. If any warranty about the business is later found to be incorrect or misleading the buyer may be able to sue the seller under the warranty.

Who will need to be involved?

Whether you are a buyer or seller you will need to have advisers on hand. Depending on the nature of the business to be sold or acquired your advisers could be a variety of professionals. As a minimum an accountant should be involved to advise you on any tax implications.

What are ‘Heads of Terms’?

These are the major points of the deal which have been agreed between the seller and buyer. The marketing agent or your solicitor can prepare these. Advice from your solicitor should be obtained prior to agreeing or finalising the heads of terms. The heads of terms set out the parties involved, the purchase price, the business and assets to be sold. It will also identify any unusual or bespoke arrangements agreed between the buyer and seller.

I am looking to rent a shop. What should I look out for in the lease?

This depends on whether you are taking an existing lease for the remainder of the years left under the lease or negotiating a new lease. There are many factors which should be considered when taking a lease of a property, such as the state of repair of the property, the local property market, its location and the bargaining power of the landlord and the tenant.

If you are taking an existing lease then the landlord will usually be unwilling to negotiate any of the terms of the lease. Unusual restrictions and obligations may affect your ability to use the property in the way you intend or may oblige you to incur significant costs, to cover repairs, to comply with current laws or to improve the property. For this reason, it is important for the lease to be carefully reviewed by an experienced commercial property solicitor who will advise you on its terms and highlight any unusual or restrictive terms.

If you are looking to negotiate a new lease, there will be some flexibility with the terms. These could include a limitation of the repair obligation (for example if the property is in a poor state of repair) a right for the tenant to bring the lease to an end early (a break clause) or to obtain a rent free period. We recommend that you involve us during the process of agreeing the ‘Heads of Terms’ with the landlord or the landlord’s agent . This is a process of negotiating the main terms of the lease. Once Heads of Terms are agreed, it is difficult (and can be costly) for any amendments to the Heads of Terms to be negotiated between solicitors. Many tenants are unaware that they can ask a solicitor for advice at this crucial stage.

Who is responsible under a lease for the repairs and maintenance of a commercial property?

You will need to read your lease carefully. The answer to the question is not as straightforward as it would appear. It is usual for a tenant to be responsible for repairs and maintenance to the property, but provisions in the lease may mean that the tenant’s repair obligations are limited. Some leases also set out who will be responsible for repairs to different parts of the property, for example the landlord may repair the structure and/or external parts.

The answer may also depend on how the disrepair has been caused. If, for example the disrepair has been caused by flooding, the landlord may be responsible for making good the flood damage under the terms of the lease (provided that the landlord is obliged to insure the building under the lease). We strongly recommend that, if in doubt, you should obtain advice from a commercial property solicitor who will review your lease and be able to provide you with the appropriate answer.

Divorce and Separation FAQs

How much does it cost to get divorced?

Typically a divorce settlement has two key elements; the procedure to obtain the final divorce order (Decree Absolute) and the resolution of financial issues. Our level of support can be tailored to suit you depending on your needs. We offer;

Premium service – we will deal with everything on your behalf, in accordance with your instructions. This will include advising you throughout, corresponding with the court and your ex or their solicitor and if necessary, representing you at meetings and court hearings. We will provide you an estimate of the cost before taking steps on your behalf.

Fixed fees service – where you pay a set amount for each element

Document service – where you only require help preparing the documentation

As well as the solicitor’s fees there are the court fees (payable to the court). We offer a free consultation to discuss your requirements and explain your options and outline their associated costs.

Do I need to attend court if I am getting divorced?

In the vast majority of cases, it is not necessary for you to attend court to get divorced from your spouse. If the divorce is contested by your spouse, or you cannot agree who will pay the costs of the divorce proceedings, then you may be required to attend court but this is very rare. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve issues surrounding financial provision or your children, you may need to make an application to court and attend a hearing. However, we can advise you about the options available, including mediation and collaborative law, to help you and your spouse work out an agreement.

Why do I need a solicitor to help me resolve financial issues on divorce?

The resolution of financial issues between you and your spouse on divorce is not always as straightforward as dividing the assets down the middle. There are a number of factors that a court would consider if it was required to decide what order should be made as to your financial arrangements. Primarily the court considers the needs of any children of the marriage, but it will also consider other factors including, but not limited to, your ages, the length of the marriage and your housing needs. A solicitor can advise you on what a court is likely to consider relevant.

If you have reached an agreement with your spouse, it is important that this agreement is set out clearly and made binding on both of you. Such agreements may, depending on the circumstances, be able to include a ‘clean break’ clause to prevent your spouse making any further financial claim against you.

How do we decide where our children should live after we separate?

The courts do not make any orders automatically with regard to children’s arrangements within divorce proceedings. It is hoped that you can make agreed decisions between you as their parents in their best interests. If you are not able to reach an agreement, you may need to apply to the court for an order under the Children Act 1989. We can advise you about the other options available, including mediation and collaborative law, to help you reach an agreement.

What happens if my spouse refuses to get divorced?

With four out of the five grounds for divorce, your spouse does not need to consent to a divorce. One of the most common grounds upon which petitions are issued is that of unreasonable behaviour, and your spouse does not need to consent to a divorce, or admit that their behaviour has been unreasonable, in these circumstances. However, a non-consenting spouse may delay the process by refusing to file an acknowledgement at court that they have been served with the divorce petition). In spite of this, you can still progress the divorce by proving they have received the paperwork even if they have not returned it.

Wills, Trusts & Probate FAQs

Why make a Will?

Making a Will provides peace of mind; ensuring your assets are divided amongst those you wish to benefit and can also limit the amount of inheritance tax that must be paid and make distribution of your estate much easier.

Who needs a Will?

It is advisable that every adult should write a Will. A Will is not just for passing on property and financial investments. If you have infant children you should make a Will naming legal guardians to care for your children after your death. Your Will also enables you to make proper financial provision for your children by using trusts to protect them whilst they are vulnerable and until they are mature enough to receive what can potentially be very large sums of money.

Why use a solicitor?

It can be a difficult time for the family following the death of a loved one and having a Will in place means there is one less thing to worry about. Employing a solicitor can help to avoid, or reduce, conflict by providing impartiality at an emotional time.

We are experienced in dealing with complex estates and inheritance tax planning issues, so you can be assured that our solicitors will deal competently and thoroughly with any issues arising.

By appointing a solicitor to write your Will, it is their responsibility to ensure that all the necessary legal requirements are complied with.

How much does a Will cost?

We offer a fixed fee Will-writing service. For those with complex estates, or specific requirements that require detailed planning, we will provide a competitive quote for our expertise.


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