Before we can commence work on any matter, if instructed, we first need to undergo our compliance protocol in terms of client ID verification, Anti Money Laundering requirements, proof of source of funds, and completion of our Terms and Conditions. This can add up to two weeks onto a transaction and is dependent on the client providing us with the required information.
We set out below a brief summary of key stages of the various types of work we undertake for clients.
- Take instructions from client and aim to provide a first draft for discussion within 2 weeks.
- Meet client to review and make any potential changes. The timescale for completion is driven by the client’s requirements and the complexity of the advice sought.
- Once final Will is agreed meet with client for execution of Will.
- Additional costs. Potential disbursements of approximately £6 (no VAT) if we need to review title to the client’s property.
- Once instructed, our clients are sent a comprehensive questionnaire to ascertain details of the deceased estate’s assets and liabilities. Once received all organisations are contacted and information sought. We aim to file an application for Probate or Letters of Administration as soon as possible, but this can take 2 to 3 months depending on the speed of information provided.
- When the Grant has been applied for it is likely to take the Probate Registry upwards of 2 to 4 months to issue the Grant.
- We advise that a notice is placed in the London Gazette and local newspaper to ensure there are no unknown debts of the deceased. The cost of this is dependent on the local newspaper fees but allow £350 – £380 (inc. VAT) and we will need to be placed in funds by the Executors or Personal Representatives of the deceased.
- Following issue of the Grant, the assets of the estate can be collected in order to administer following the appropriate time period (usually 6 months after the Grant has been received) for the beneficiaries. Any debts of the estate can be paid once funds are collected.
- We arrange for any Inheritance Tax liability to be paid, where appropriate.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Aim to prepare Powers of Attorney for execution within 7 to 10 days of receiving full instructions and to meet with client to supervise signatures.
- Once all parties have signed, application is made to the Office of the Public Guardian to register the Power. This can take 8 to 10 weeks to complete.
- The fees payable to register the Lasting Powers of Attorney are £82 (no VAT) per document.
- For sales and purchases of commercial land the key dates are similar to those for residential conveyancing (see below), but generally the transactions are not part of a chain of transactions.
- For the grant of new commercial leases of premises, it is essential for the parties to agree formal written Heads of Terms before proceeding with the transaction. We encourage prospective tenants of commercial premises to seek our advice on the draft Heads of Terms before they are agreed.
- There is guidance elsewhere on our website about points to watch when negotiating Heads of Terms.
- Commercial searches are generally the same as for residential property but by their nature are more expensive, and £500 to £750 (inc. VAT) should be allowed.
- The completion of new leasehold transactions can be completed within 4 weeks if all parties are committed to that timescale. It is generally wise to allow up to 2 months for such transactions to be completed.
- Stamp Duty Land Tax, if due must be filed and paid within 14 days of completion of the transaction.
- There will be disbursements such as Land Registry Title entries and Land Registry registration fees on completion of transaction (if applicable). The costs will be dependent on the transaction, which we can explain in relation to individual transactions.
Overage Deeds and Agreements
- Once instructed and the requirements ascertained, we aim to produce a draft document within 2 to 3 weeks.
- Once the final document is agreed, completion will be linked to the overall transaction.
- Searches may be required, which will be commercial searches as detailed above.
- There may be disbursements specific to an overage deed such as registering a restriction on title at the Land Registry. This fee will be dependent on the individual transaction.
- The length of a transaction will be guided by whether there is a long chain or not within the sale and/or purchase.
- If purchasing, we will require you to place us in funds on instruction for search fees. Depending on the property, search fees are generally £270 to £350 (inc. VAT) and once ordered, can take three to six weeks depending on the local authority.
- If you are purchasing a leasehold property you may need to pay additional fees on completion for the assignment of the lease and any shareholding. These fees will be set by the Management Company, and you will be advised on receipt of the Leasehold Management pack.
- We will need to see your source of funds if purchasing, to include all fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax.
- If selling, we will aim to issue a draft contract within 7 days of receipt of instructions and completion of compliance protocol. Disbursements at this stage will be Land Registry title entries which are £3 each. If your property is leasehold, there will be freehold and leasehold title entries. It is sensible to allow £20 – £30 per conveyance. No VAT is payable on these disbursements.
- If selling you will be asked to complete the Law Society Conveyance Protocol Forms. These form part of the contact package and must be completed fully promptly so as not to delay the transaction.
- If you are selling a leasehold property, it is likely that you will be required to pay Management Company fees to enable the completion of Leasehold Property Enquiries Form LPE1. These fees can be from £200 to £600 plus VAT, the amount being set by each individual provider.
- For commercial transactions, enquiries will be in the form of Commercial Property Standard Enquiries (known as CPSE). We will assist with these but will require information from you.
- Enquiries will be raised by us if purchasing or by the purchaser’s solicitor if selling. These enquiries will be comprehensive and can take 2 to 3 weeks for a full response.
- Once the searches are returned, these will be reviewed and we will advise you of any concerns, usually within 7 days of receiving the documents.
- It is impossible to give a timescale for exchange and completion due to the many variables. It is possible to exchange and complete within a 12 week timescale but sometimes, particularly if there is a chain, this can be much longer.
- We will send you a completion statement following an exchange showing the exact amount of money needed to complete including disbursements, Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Registry registration fees.
- If you have a mortgage, we will obtain a redemption figure and redeem the mortgage on your behalf on completion.
- Following completion, if selling, the balance of funds will be sent to you unless they are being used for a related transaction. If purchasing, we will complete a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay the tax from funds you have provided to us.
- Once we have the SDLT Certificate 5 from the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and the signed documentation from the seller, we will apply to the Land Registry on your behalf to register the property in our name. Land Registry application fees will be dependent on the transaction value.
- The Land Registry timescales are currently around 4 to 8 months for a standard transfer and around 12 to 15 months for a transfer of part or First Registration.
- Once your property is registered in your name, we will supply you with an updated Register of Title.
Document and Deed Retrieval
- On receipt of a request for information we aim to respond within 7 days.
- Once confirmed that we are holding Deeds or Documents, we request payment of our administration fee. We will have been storing these deeds free of charge, but our administration fee is to cover the cost of retrieval, checking and dispatch.
- When payment has been made and we are in cleared funds, the Deeds and Documents will be sent to you by Recorded Delivery within 7 days.
- If you are not the individual named in the Deeds or Documents, we will require evidence of your identity and relation to the named person or persons.
The above guidelines for key stages are an indication only, as all cases are individual with many variables. We are happy to clarify timescales and stages for individual cases at the outset if needed.