Wills Probate and Trusts

Claiming against the Estate of a Deceased Person image

Claiming against the Estate of a Deceased Person

4th March 2015

Introduction

If a family member dies and either as a result of the deceased’s Will or the intestacy rules (which govern who gets what when a person dies without leaving a valid Will) you do not get an inheritance or an inheritance that you consider to be insufficient, you might still be able to make a claim/further claim against the estate of that deceased person under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”).

The Grounds for the Claim

There is just one ground upon which you can make such a claim namely:-

“That the disposition of the deceased’s estate effected by his Will or the law relating to intestacy or the combination of his Will and that law, is not such as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant.”

The Act does provide some guidance on “reasonable financial provision”.

Reasonable Financial Provision

Expectations of reasonable financial provision will depend upon the type of applicant.

  1. Spouse

Unless at the date of death there was in force a separation order and the separation was continuing, the standard of reasonable financial provision shall be:-

“Such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a husband or wife to receive, whether or not that provision is required for his or her maintenance.”

If there is a separation order in force and separation is continuing, then the standard will be:-

“Such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance.”

When the deceased and the survivor were engaged in matrimonial proceedings that have not resulted in an order for ancillary relief at the date of death (i.e. financial issues were outstanding) and an application is made for reasonable provision within 12 months of that death, the Court will in effect entirely ignore the fact that there was a divorce.

This will not apply to a separation order situation unless, at the date of death, the order was in force and the separation was continuing.

  1. Civil Partner

Similar provisions apply in respect of these applicants as per spouses.

  1. Other Applicants

The standard here is the same as that for a spouse/civil partner with a separation order, namely, such provisions as would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for their maintenance.

Categories of possible applicants here include former spouse/civil partner who has remained un-married/not in a civil partnership, a co-habitee, a person who prior to the date of the death of the deceased was wholly or partly maintained by the deceased (and not necessarily a family member), a child of the deceased and any other child treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to a marriage/civil partnership.

Factors to be considered

In determining an application, the Court must consider factors which may vary according to the status of the applicant.  There are some common factors as follows:-

(i)         The applicant’s future financial needs and resources (including earning capacity).

(ii)         The future financial needs and resources (including earning capacity) of any other applicant.

(iii)        The future financial needs and resources of any beneficiary (including earning capacity).

(iv)        The deceased’s obligations and responsibilities towards any applicant or beneficiary.

(v)         The size and nature of the deceased’s net estate.

(vi)        The physical and/or mental condition of the applicant or any beneficiary.

(vii)       Any other matter the Court considers relevant (including the conduct of any party).

If you wish to consider making a claim against an estate, or you are a beneficiary or executor in effect facing a claim from another party then please contact Daven Nagen on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or call in or visit our offices at 23 New  Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

If you want advice in making your Will in order to reduce or eliminate the risk of such claims being made against your estate then please either contact one the Wills, Probate & Trusts Team:

Jane Mawer on 01775 722261 or email jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com

Faye Blair on 01775 722261 or email faye.blair@maplessolicitors.com 

Jamie Dobbs on 01775 722261 or email jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com or visit our offices at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

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A Guide to NHS Continuing Healthcare image

A Guide to NHS Continuing Healthcare

31st October 2013

When a friend or relative goes into full time care, whether this is due to accident, illness or a disability, this is a stressful time for them and for those around them.  For the most part the priority is making sure that the individual is receiving the care that they need however the financial issue of how they shall pay for their care usually causes background worry for everyone concerned.

There have been many newspaper articles recently pointing out that, in certain cases, the NHS should have been responsible for paying for a person’s care and that they have not done so. This had led some to recover costs back from the NHS where they should have been funded and were not. 

Many enquiries have therefore come to us from individuals asking whether this can be achieved for their friend or relative and what the criteria actually is and what is meant by NHS Continuing Healthcare. 

1. What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to a package of care which is funded solely by the NHS for individuals outside of hospital who have ongoing health care needs.  It can be received in any setting outside of hospital such as a care home or the person’s own home.

If you are found to qualify for NHS continuing healthcare then the NHS will pay for your healthcare regardless of your income or your savings.  It is not therefore means tested.  If you in a care home then this will include your care home fees including board and accommodation.

2.  Who is eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

Anyone over the age of 18 who is determined to have a ‘primary health need’.  It is not dependent on a particular disease, diagnosis or condition.   A primary health need is assessed by looking at all of an individuals care needs in respect of their nature, complexity, intensity and unpredictability.

3.  The Assessment Process.

The assessment process should automatically be triggered if a person is discharged from a hospital into a care home.  Other triggers for the assessment should be if there is a deterioration of a person who is in a care home in order that their needs have changed significantly.  If the assessment is not automatically triggered within the system it is possible for the individual to remain un-assessed even if they should qualify for the NHS Continuing Healthcare.  If the family are not aware that an assessment should have taken place then no challenge will be made to the position and the individual will continue to pay for their own care.

The first step is the Checklist Tool which is a screening tool completed by health or social care staff to judge whether it is appropriate to undertake a full assessment.  If this checklist indicates that a full assessment should be carried out then a team consisting of the district nurse, social worker, care home member and any other professionals involved in the care shall meet and complete a ‘Decision Support Tool’. 

This looks at eleven different types of need that an individual may have to determine whether they have a ‘primary health need’.  For example, mobility, nutrition, cognition and behaviour.  If a primary health need is establish then NHS continuing care should be awarded.

This should be reviewed after three months and then again annually.  Further assessments can be called for if it is thought that the needs have changed.

4.  What if I am not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

If the individual does not qualify for the full NHS Continuing Healthcare but it is agreed that they have some needs, the NHS may still pay part of a package of support leaving the individual to cover the remaining costs.

5.  What If I am not happy with the outcome?

If you feel that a full assessment should have taken place but did not, or if you disagree with the outcome of the assessment it is possible to request an independent review of the decision through the clinical commissioning group local to the individual.

6.  How can Maples Solicitors assist in this process?

If you are unsure whether your friend or relative has been assessed for NHS continuing healthcare and what the outcome of that assessment was, we can assist you in uncovering this information from the care home or doctor involved. 

We can advise you whether your friend or relative does have a primary healthcare need based on the criteria from a review of their records.  If we believe that they do have a primary healthcare need we can assist you through the process of calling for an assessment to take place or for the appeal of an assessment to take place.

If you want advice on this subject please contact one of our Private Client Team as follows:- On 01775 722261, or email jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com or faye.blair@maplessolicitors.com or jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com

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Inheritance Tax and the new Residence Nil Rate Ban image

Inheritance Tax and the new Residence Nil Rate Ban

25th May 2017

Paying Inheritance Tax is a common concern for those who are considering estate planning and preparing their Will.  It would be hard to find anyone who would relish in the idea of their estate paying tax after they pass away on assets that have already attracted tax during their lifetime. Recent developments in inheritance tax legislation have therefore been eagerly awaited especially in response to political promises of a £1million pound inheritance tax exempt allowance.

The reality is not as straightforward as had been hoped and unfortunately will not be beneficial for everyone.  It is therefore important to know how you are personally affected by the change and what you should do next to ensure that your inheritance tax burden is minimised as much as is possible.

Each individual has what is known as a ‘nil rate band’ of £325,000 which does not attract inheritance tax.  There are certain reliefs available for businesses and agricultural property however, generally speaking, assets over and above this threshold will attract inheritance tax after death at a rate of 40%.

In the case of married couples or those in a civil partnership, if the first to pass away leaves everything to the other, it is possible for the surviving spouse to claim the unused nil rate band and so effectively ‘double-up’ to a  £650,000 nil rate band.  This is known as the ‘transferable nil rate band’.  There is no transferable nil rate band between partners or cohabitees regardless of the length of the relationship.  If you are in a long term relationship, whether or not your individual assets exceed £325,000, it would be wise to seek advice regarding your Wills and estate planning options that may be available to you.

For deaths that occur from the 6th  April 2017 the estates of those that qualify will also be able to claim an additional nil rate band known as the ‘residence nil rate band’.   For the current tax year 2017/2018 this additional allowance is £100,000 per person.  This is set to rise annually up to 2020/2021 when it will reach £175,000 per person.

In the same way as the original nil rate band, it is transferable between spouses and civil partners making it possible to have an additional £350,000 of residence nil rate band to add to the original £650,000 mentioned above which brings a married couple to the promised £1million pound nil rate band to be exempt from inheritance tax.  Again please note that this only applies to married couples and those in a civil partnership and so individuals who are not married will not be able to reach a £1million pound exemption.

As previously stated not everyone will qualify for the additional residence nil rate band.  To qualify you must have a residence or an interest in a residence that is being ‘closely inherited’.  Closely inherited means that you are passing that residence to a lineal descendent meaning to your child or grandchild.  Child has been widely defined and includes step-children, foster children, adopted children, natural children who have been adopted by a third party and also the spouse of a child if that child has predeceased you (your son or daughter-in-law).

No other family connection will suffice as a lineal descendent.  If you do not have children or grandchildren then it will not be possible to claim for the additional residence nil rate band.

It is important to note that if you have left your estate as a whole between your children, grandchildren and other beneficiaries such as nieces, nephews and/or charitable organisations this will prevent your estate from being able to claim for the residence nil rate band.  The whole property must be inherited by a lineal descendent and it is not enough that they are one of the beneficiaries.  If you have a Will that leaves your estate between several beneficiaries who are not your lineal descendants, it would be advisable to review your Will and ensure that it is the most tax efficient Will now available to you.

The lineal descendent also has to inherit the property outright or at least have an immediate interest in the property after death.  This means that if the property falls into a discretionary trust, even those that are for the benefit of the children, the additional residence nil rate band will not be available to the estate.   There are certain types of settlement that would still allow your estate to qualify for the residence nil rate band.  If you presently have a trust in your Will and have assets over and above the £325,000 threshold then do please seek advice as to whether your Will remains the most tax efficient way forward in light of the new legislation.

To qualify for the full residential nil rate band your net estate also has to be less than £2million pounds in total.  If you have an estate worth more than two million pounds then you lose £1 for every £2 that you are over that threshold.  In this part of Lincolnshire it is not too common for an estate to be worth more than this threshold but for those with property in London it is certainly a clear issue and another possible bar for being able to claim the additional relief.

The new legislation prompted many to worry about what would happen if they sold their large family home and downsized or, sold their home altogether and moved into residential care or other accommodation.  Complex ‘downsizing’ legislation has therefore been produced to calculate a percentage of the residence nil rate band available on death where a downsizing has occurred or where a property has been sold.  This is easier to look at on a case by case basis rather than within the context of this article however a simple example can be seen below:

‘Mabel, who is a widow, sells her bungalow for £250,000 in 2020 and moves into residential care.  Presuming that she left her estate to her lineal descendants, as the value exceeded the residence nil rate band available, she would be treated as having an entitlement of 100% of the available residence nil rate band on death being the full £175,000.’

Essentially if you have owned a property and treated it as your residence at any point prior to death then it will be possible for the representatives of your estate to seek advice regarding the downsizing provisions and see if it is still possible to claim for the residence nil rate band for your estate.  It will also be possible for them to seek advice concerning a previously owned property if you are now in a property of a lesser value however it will never be possible to claim for more than the maximum residence nil rate band available in any given tax year regardless of the value of the property.

If you have an estate worth more than £325,000 and especially if you own a residence within your estate, it would be wise to seek advice regarding your Will to ensure that you have made the correct provisions to also qualify for the residence nil rate band and thus reduce your liability to inheritance tax.

Our fees for making a single Will are £135 plus VAT or £220 plus VAT to make mirror Wills (usually for couples). Unless you have exceptional circumstances meaning an individual higher fee will be quoted, this fee will include an in depth discussion as to your inheritance tax position and effective estate planning options available to you.  The expense at this stage could potentially save your estate a large inheritance tax liability at a later date.

To discuss Wills, please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate Department:-

Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com

Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com

Or telephone the office 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

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Grounds for Challenging a Will image

Grounds for Challenging a Will

25th July 2016

Introduction

One of the advantages of making a Will is ensuring that the maker’s (“the Testator”) loved ones/family are provided for and to avoid family squabbles.  Notwithstanding this, the provisions in a Will can be challenged or the contents contested by relatives or interested parties because for example they feel that it does not reflect the wishes of the Testator or that they believe that they have not got their fair share.  It appears (sadly) that the number of challenges to wills is on the increase and that there are a significant number of grounds upon which someone can challenge a Will.

Grounds for Challenging a Will

  1. Lack of Capacity

For a valid Will to be made, the Testator must be of sound mind.  The Testator should:-

  • have understood that they are making a Will and the effects of that Will;
  • know the nature and value of their estate;
  • understand the consequences of including and excluding certain people under the Will;
  • not be suffering from any “disorder of the mind” which may influence their views.

For example it is common to challenge wills on the grounds of lack of capacity if the Testator suffered from a disease like Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

  1. Not properly executed

For a valid Will to be made it must meet all the following requirements:-

  • it must be in writing, signed by the Testator or somebody in their presence, who is being directed to do that by the Testator;
  • it must appear that the Testator intended by their signature to give effect to the Will;
  • the Testator’s signature must be made or acknowledged in the presence of at least two witnesses, present at the same time; and
  • each witness must either attest and sign the Will or acknowledge the signature in the presence of the Testator, but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness.

There is a legal presumption that a will has been validly executed unless there is evidence to the contrary of either one or more of (a) to (d) above.

  1. Undue influence

If the Testator has been coerced into making a Will on particular terms, then it may be invalid.  The Testator’s freewill must have been overcome by someone else.  If the Testator was elderly or vulnerable then this may provide more scope for arguing about the validity of the Will upon the grounds of undue influence.

  1. Fraudulent or Forged Wills

For example someone may forge the Testator’s signature on a document, purporting to leave everything to that person.

  1. Lack of Knowledge and Approval

A Testator must have knowledge of and approval of the contents of the Will.  For example if a person helped prepare a Will and included a substantial gift to himself, then if the Testator is not aware of that then the Will could be contested.

  1. The Will makes no or insufficient provision for a family member/dependent

Certain classes of people, usually close family members, may be able to challenge a Will if it does not make reasonable financial provision for them.  For example if a spouse is left with little or nothing from a Will but the Will includes say a large gift to a Charity, then a spouse might argue that he or she has not been left enough money from the estate to live off.

  1. The Testator made promises

A claim may arise if the Testator promised someone that they would inherit when the Testator died and that person acted upon this and to his detriment.  For example if that party worked for the Testator without payment or carried out significant work to the Testator’s property.

  1. Rectification

A Will may be rectified when it fails to carry out the Testator’s intentions either because of a clerical error or because of a failure on the part of the person preparing the Will to understand the Testator’s instructions.  A party can apply to rectify the Will and/or alternatively make a claim in negligence against the solicitor who prepared it.

  1. Another Will found

Each successive new Will normally cancels the previous Will automatically, but often people forget where the last Will is kept so that a “wrong” last Will may be found initially.  Subsequently when the correct last will is found, this can give grounds obviously for contesting the older Will.

  1. Will invalidated

Sometimes certain events invalid a Will, e.g. divorce.  Foreign Wills can often cancel a UK Will and vice versa.

  1. Will destroyed, could it still be valid?

Sometimes a Will can be destroyed, but this does not necessarily mean that it is invalidated.  There have been occasions where a will has been unintentionally destroyed or thrown away, but remains valid as there was never an intention by the Testator to revoke.  In such circumstances it is possible to prove the Will by way of a copy.

So how do I contest a Will?

If you want advice about contesting a Will, or defending a claim that has been made against a Will, then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or visit our offices or arrange an appointment to see Dav at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 1DH

If you want advice in making your Will in order to reduce or eliminate the risk of such claims being made against your estate then please either contact one the Wills, Probate & Trusts Team:

Jane Mawer on 01775 722261 or email jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com

Faye Blair on 01775 722261 or email faye.blair@maplessolicitors.com 

Jamie Dobbs on 01775 722261 or email jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com or visit our offices at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.

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Dangers of Making a Homemade Will image

Dangers of Making a Homemade Will

23rd March 2017

In recent months we have seen a number of homemade Wills brought to us following the death of a family member or friend. Suffice to say, a homemade Will is often cheaper than using a firm of solicitors to make a Will but, in the long run, this can cost the surviving family members or friends a great deal in terms of the cost of rectifying any errors (if possible) or legal fees in bringing a claim against the estate as well as the unnecessary stress and heartache at what is already a difficult time.

Whilst we are more than willing to assist with the administration of an estate with a homemade Will, this article provides a brief indication of the dangers involved.

It is common practice for close family members or friends of a person making a Will (a Testator) to complete the Will on their behalf, particularly if that person is suffering from ill health. If those close family members or friends are due to substantially benefit from the Will then this could be classed as undue influence and those due to benefit may need to provide evidence to remove the suspicion.

There are stringent rules in place with regard to the signing of a Will (attestation) and one of the reasons for such stringent rules is to assist with the prevention of fraud. If the rules are not followed correctly then the Will may be invalid and could not be admitted to probate. If this is the case then it may be that a loved one is considered to have died intestate (i.e. without a Will) and their estate may pass to someone they had never intended. Whilst it may be true that the Testator has never seen their long lost relative(s) for many years, where there is no Will or no valid Will then the intestacy rules must be followed and this is exactly who the beneficiary could be. Those the Testator would want to inherit could receive nothing.

Additionally, a beneficiary of a Will cannot be a witness to the signing of a Will, otherwise they will forfeit their entitlements and would receive nothing.

In some cases a Will may be valid in that it has been correctly attested however where certain parts of the Will have not been completed then this could result in a “partial intestacy” and, again, some or all of the estate may pass to people the Testator had never intended. Where a Will has been incorrectly completed or where the wording is ambiguous then this could cause the family or friends unnecessary expense as an interpretation or construction of the Will may be required which may or may not result in the expected outcome.

Although it may be obvious from the circumstances of the Testator or it may seem obvious from the terms of the Will, if every element of the Will has not been correctly completed then the estate may pass to those who were never intended to benefit. Whilst there is the possibility that a claim may be brought against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 by those who have effectively been disinherited because of an invalid or incorrectly completed Will, there are only certain categories of people who may bring such a claim and they are not guaranteed to be successful. In addition, such a claim could be costly, time-consuming and can be stressful.

It is therefore clear that there are many pitfalls to making a homemade Will and whilst there is a slight saving to be made by making a homemade Will, there are many dangers involved that could become very costly and the intended beneficiaries of a Will may find themselves disinherited. It is therefore always recommended to seek professional advice when creating a Will to avoid such pitfalls.  Our fees for making a single Will are £135 plus VAT or £220 plus VAT to make mirror Wills (usually for couples). The expense incurred at this stage could save your family and/or friends incurring unnecessary expense and stress in the future.

To discuss Wills, please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate Department:-

Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com

Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com

Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

Or telephone the office 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team

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I don’t want the State to take my Home! image

I don’t want the State to take my Home!

23rd February 2011

This is something we hear on a regular basis but sadly it is not a straightforward matter

1. The actual position

  • If you need to have long term residential care your financial position is assessed and unless you have less than £14,250 you will be required to make a contribution to the cost. If you have over £23,250 you will have to bear all the cost.
  • If you own your own house the value of it is taken into account unless your spouse/civil partner (and in some cases other dependants) is still alive and living there.
  • This usually means that the house is sold and to the extent that the residential home fees cannot be paid out of income, the capital from the sale of the house is used
  • Normally you will receive a monthly bill so the capital is slowly used up. Some people mistakenly think the whole proceeds of sale are taken in the first place. This is NOT the case.

2. Will giving my house away prevent this?

The answer is only “perhaps”.

  • When you fill in the assessment form you will be asked whether you have ever owned your own home and if so what has happened to it.
  • Some local authorities will ignore the fact that you disposed of you house by gift provided it was some time before you go into residential care. That period varies; some use six months, most about two years , but some will disregard the gift however long ago it was made
  • The real issue is whether the gift was made to avoid paying home fees; if so it will probably not work. If the house was given for other reasons – such as a farmhouse that is key to the business it should work.

3. Should I give away my house?

The answer in most cases is “no”.

  • Your house is where you live and if you give it away all sorts of things could happen that mean you could lose your home. If the person you give your house to dies, divorces or gets into debt someone else will own your house and either may not be prepared to let you stay there or may have to sell it to raise cash.
  • Some people try to use trusts to safeguard you in this situation but you need to remember that this can give rise to Income Tax (the pre-owned asset charge); Capital Gains Tax and/or Inheritance Tax issues.
  • Such arrangements can become costly and given that the more complicated the arrangements the more suspicion the Local Authority will have, such costs may not be justified given that the gift may prove to be ineffective anyway.
  • The pre-owned assets charge is a trap for the unwary – this is a complicated area on which you need advice.
  • If you wish to move after having given your house away the person you gave it to may have to pay Capital Gains Tax on part of the proceeds as he/she is unlikely to have principal Private Residence exemption for Capital Gains Tax purposes – again an area where you need advice.
  • Even if the house is not sold till you death there may well still be a Capital Gains Tax charge if the house is then sold. If you had continued to own it no Capital Gains Tax is payable.
  • Remember it is not just the value of the house that is taken into account. If you have bank accounts or investments you could still fail to qualify for any state help and end up paying the fees and taking the risk of not owning your own home and the possible costs that result from that.
  • In summary it may not work, it may be costly, it may have adverse tax consequences but above all it puts your house at risk.

4. Is it never a good idea?

There can be situations where either the risks are worth taking or there is time to plan for example

  • An adult child still lives at home. Here there are risks that that child may lose his/her home and this might outweigh some of the other risks
  • The house may be crucial to a business – such as a farmhouse – and selling it could cause real problems. Again this risk may outweigh the others
  • One spouse may be unlikely to manage if left on his/her own. Making sure the house is in the name of the other and that that person’s will is made correctly could save much or all of the value of the house without undue risk
  • If there are any reasons to suspect that you may need residential care for a considerable number of years this may justify taking some of the risks

Like so many areas “it all depends”. It is however an area where there are real and significant risks and the benefits are not always as clear cut as you might think. It may well be worth investigating but it is not a step that should be taken lightly and certainly not without a full understanding of the pitfalls. Many people have done it and lived to regret it.

If you want advice on this subject please contact one of our Wills, Probate and Trust Team as follows:-

On 01775 722261, or email jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com,
faye.blair@maplessolicitors.com or jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com

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Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing? image

Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing?

WHO WILL YOU BE ENTRUSTING WITH YOUR CONVEYANCING WORK?  THE CHOICE IS YOURS!

Are the selling agents or perhaps the mortgage broker pushing or trying to persuade you to use a particular conveyancing firm? If so, we would strongly recommend that you ask the following pertinent questions so that, armed with all relevant facts, you are better able to make a reasoned decision:-

Why?

Are the agents receiving a kickback or referral payment from the firm concerned? Using a firm in cahoots with an estate agency inevitably leads to a potential conflict of interest. Will such firm be working in your best interests or simply those of the introducer? Here at Maples we pride ourselves on being completely independent and we consider the idea of a referral fee both abhorrent and unethical. We much prefer to obtain our work based on past performance and recommendation.

How Much?

Do not be misled by a seemingly attractive basic figure initially quoted but be sure to enquire about and read the small print for add ons for so called “extras” (such as mortgage costs, preparation of a stamp duty land tax return, telegraphic transfer fees and the like) which suddenly spring up at a later date and only become apparent in the firm’s final statement. Ensure that you are comparing like for like. Here at Maples, we give you a complete and all inclusive rundown of our professional charges and all disbursements at the outset, with no hidden extras.

Where?

Is the firm local or, as is more likely, based in a completely different part of the country? If the latter, then the transaction will, without a doubt, be dealt with by post, phone or email and lack any personal contact. Here at Maples we are fully accessible, like to meet our clients to discuss and advise upon the transaction face to face and share with you the benefit of our wealth of local knowledge and experience.

Who?

Will you actually be aware as to who will be dealing with the matter for you or will you simply be a reference or matter number at the end of a phone in a firm dealing with volume conveyancing? Here at Maples, you will be assigned to your own experienced and dedicated conveyancer who will be responsible for and deal with the transaction for you from beginning to end, with a high level of personal service throughout.

Making a hasty and bad appointment could seriously prejudice or delay your transaction and cost you dearly. Getting honest answers to these four simple questions at the outset could make all the difference.

To discuss any Conveyancing matters please contact either Claire Smith or Anita Zaborniak of our Conveyancing Team or telephone the office 01775 722261.

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Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"I felt the service I got from Maples was excellent and was very honest all through the process. I would recommend Maples as a first class Solicitors group"

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

This is the second time we have used Mike Pepper at Maples Solicitors in the sale of our house. We cannot praise Mike enough for the highly efficient and professional service that he has provided us with. He is by far the best solicitor we have ever worked with, and the service that he has provided us with has gone far and beyond anything we have ever experienced. We have found the whole process to be a very relaxing experience.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!

Anita Zaborniak

We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.