What is probate?
Probate’ is the practice of sorting out a deceased person’s affairs after they have died. This will involve locating any testamentary dispositions (i.e. a will); arranging a funeral; collecting in their assets and converting them into cash (where applicable); obtaining a Grant from the probate registry; settling or paying the deceased’s debts and liabilities; and, distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
Can I challenge the will?
It is possible to challenge a will. The common ways that a person with a sufficient interest in a will or estate can challenge a will is on grounds of validity, construction and formality. We mainly encounter concerns over validity. The typical challenges that we deal with are wills created by a testator that lacks testamentary capacity; due to undue influence occasioned by a beneficiary; and, a testator that lacks knowledge and approval of the will. The credibility of the evidence that you have (or that we can gather on your behalf) will inform how best to bring your challenge.
What happens to deeds when purchasing a house?
Most properties are now registered at the Land Registry and the legal documents are held electronically by them. We will send you copies of the documents, and any other supporting documents once the application for registration has been completed. Any old deeds that are no longer needed to prove title to the property, would normally be sent to you.
When will I get my money?
If you are just selling, or there is a surplus due back to you after completion of your sale and purchase, we will always try to send this to you on the day of completion or on the next working day. Payment is usually made by BACS transfer which takes 3 to 5 working days to clear into your account. If you require the monies on the same day, we can transfer this by CHAPS transfer at a cost of £24. You should request this in advance and provide us with your account details.
Where and when can I have the keys to my new property?
These are usually kept with the agent selling the property but we will confirm this to you before completion.
The keys can only be released on the day of completion when the sellers solicitors confirm to the estate agents (or buyers solicitors where there are no estate agents) that they have received the full purchase monies.
How do I agree a completion date?
You need to agree a date with your sellers/buyers either directly or through the Estate Agents. You should bear in mind that we will try to meet this date but this is not always possible particularly if the date is too soon or some important documentation or information is missing. Please do not book time off work, removal companies or give notice on any temporary accommodation unless Contracts have been exchanged and we have confirmed a completion date to you. It is best to discuss this date once we are near exchange of contracts as if a date is agreed too far in advance it is difficult to know if this is realistic and all the work involved will be completed in time.
What deposit is required?
Generally you will need to provide a 10% (of the purchase price) deposit although it can be a lesser amount of both the seller and buyer agree. This is paid over from the buyers’ solicitor to the sellers’ solicitor upon exchange of contracts.
If the deposit is less than 10%, there is usually a clause in the contract which confirms that if the buyer does not proceed to completion following exchange of contracts, then the seller has a right to pursue the buyer for the full 10% funds.
What is the difference between an exchange of contracts and completion?
An exchange is when the buyer and seller enter into a legally binding agreement to buy and sell on a set date. Once an exchange has taken place, both parties are committed to the sale/purchase, and cannot pull out of the transaction without legal penalties. Exchange of contracts is also when the buyer must pay a deposit, usually 10%.
Completion refers to the day on which all payments have been made/received, that the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer; the day that you move house
What is the difference between freehold and leasehold properties?
With Freehold property you own the property and the land on which it is situated. With Leasehold property you own the property for a fixed term, but you do not own the land. You would usually pay an annual ground rent to the Freeholder and at the end of the term, the land reverts back to the Freeholder.
Should I get a survey?
Yes. The contract provides that the seller has no liability to you for the condition of the property. If after exchange of contracts you discover that repairs were necessary then you would have no claim against the seller. If you have a mortgage, the mortgage company will insist on a basic valuation being carried out. However this only protects your Lender. It is therefore not recommended that you rely upon the valuation report alone because the condition of the property is not considered in detail. We would recommend that you obtain a more detailed inspection known as a Home Buyers Report. We can recommend surveyors in the local area who can do this for you.