How do I begin divorce proceedings?
As long as you have been married for at least one year, a divorce petition can be prepared. This is submitted to the court and the other party would receive a form of acknowledgement. Following the interim divorce order you would apply for the Decree Absolute. Our family law solicitors are on hand to ensure your divorce is dealt with in the correct manner.
How long does a divorce normally take?
If uncontested, a divorce could typically be completed in under six months. This could extend to twelve months if there are financial complications or issues relating to children.
How long does a typical House Sale/Purchase take?
Purchasing or selling a House with no major problems should take approximately 4-6 weeks. The Purchase/Sale of an Apartment should take approximately 8-10 weeks.
One of the main factors will be how many people there are in the chain, the longer the chain, the greater the possibility there is for delay.
We are unmarried what happens to my partner?
Unmarried partners and co-habitees have no automatic entitlement to any of the estate of the other partner. The only way to protect this situation is to make a Will.
What happens to my children/grandchildren?
It is particularly important to make a Will if you have young children or grandchildren.
Through your Will, you can ensure that you protect their financial future and appoint your chosen guardians to look after them.
What happens to my estate if I don’t make a will?
If you die without having made a Will, your estate is distributed according to the laws of Intestacy. These laws include a set list of people who it regards should benefit from your estate, however, the list might not contain the people you had envisaged.
It is a common misconception that in the event of your death, everything will pass automatically to your spouse.
Only if you have no other close living relatives will this happen. Similarly, if you do not make a Will, complicated legal disputes can arise over the question of “who gets what”.
Making a Will is the only way to ensure that you decide how your property and possessions are distributed after your death. Our Wills and Probate solicitors are here to ensure you receive professional advice and support.
What if I have a large estate?
If your estate or the joint estates of a husband and wife exceed £325,000 it would be wise to consider making a specialist tax planning Will that is designed to save your benefactors having to pay large sums of Inheritance Tax.
Inheritance tax is charged at 40% on assets held over and above £325,000. Used to maximum effect, tax planning Wills can save £114,000 in Inheritance Tax.
What if I wish to challenge a will after death?
A Will can be challenged after death if it is believed that the person who made the Will was either mentally incapable of understanding the terms of the Will at the time it was signed, or if it is believed that the Will was signed under the influence of a third party.
Also, if you believe that you ought to have benefited from someone’s Will or Estate, but this has not happened, you may have a right to make a claim against that person’s assets.
What is Conveyancing?
Essentially, Conveyancing is the term used for the transferring of ownership of property from one person to another. A number of matters will need to be examined to ensure that the property being purchased is good and marketable with no legal defects. This will involve investigating the legal title to check, amongst other things, that adequate rights are in place for gaining access to the property; checking what restrictions a property is subject to and carrying out all necessary searches to ensure that no adverse planning or environmental matters affect the property. Our conveyancing solicitors are on hand to ensure you receive the correct advice in a timely manner.
What type of Survey should I carry out?
There are three types of Survey, the Valuation or Condition Survey, the HomeBuyer Survey or a Building Survey.
The Valuation or Condition Survey is the most basic and cheapest of all Surveys and is required by your lender and entails a Surveyor visiting the property to confirm the market value, reinstatement value and report on matters which could affect a lender’s decision to lend. The Valuation Survey is purely for your Mortgage Lender's benefit and will not provide you with the necessary detail which you will need should there be any adverse issues.
The HomeBuyer’s Survey is the mid-tier Survey and will highlight any causes for concern with recommendations for any further action which might be required.
A Full Structural Survey would be recommended if the property being purchased has been extended and there are concerns as to the stability of the extension or if the property is old (typically more than 100 years).
Further Guidance can be found on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Website - www.rics.org
What would I be entitled to?
A court is guided by many factors when considering the financial issues, these include assets, income, financial obligations, the duration of the marriage. There are many things for the court to consider and no two cases are ever the same.
When should I change my will?
The most obvious time to change your Will is when you experience a change in your family circumstances. This could be marriage, separation, divorce, remarriage or the birth of a child or grandchild for example.
If you are separated but not divorced, your former spouse will have a claim against your estate after your death unless you make a new Will. If you are divorced, but wish to continue to benefit your former spouse after your death, then you will need to remake your Will.
If you already have a Will, marriage will automatically revoke it and you would need to make a new one.
It is also advisable to remake your Will if your financial situation changes or you would like to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable.
Who looks after my estate after I die?
If you die without a Will, the Law decides who will look after your estate.
If you make a Will you can appoint an Executor or Executors who are entrusted with your property and possessions after your death, and who will ensure that your wishes are carried out. It is important to make a Will so that you decide now who this is. If you are married, you may wish to appoint your wife or husband, and many people consider grown up sons or daughters as another obvious choice. Alternatively you may wish to appoint a professional person such as a Solicitor to act as your Executor or to act jointly with your husband or wife or son or daughter.
It is advisable to appoint two Executors as this safeguards your interests should one of the Executors be unable to act.
Will the house have to be sold?
Again, no two cases are completely alike. Typically, one of the principle concerns of the court is how the children, and everyone else, are to be accommodated. This could mean that the family home may be sold, with the proceeds being divided such that everyone can find a new home.