Frequently Asked Questions

 

Passmores solicitors has a team of legal professionals that deal with a wide variety of legal questions each and every day. We have placed a few of the most frequently asked questions here to help you. If your question is not answered below, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

We have split the questions into common categories, so please select the links to go to the appropriate section

gavel on booksCommon Legal Questions

 

General Questions:

A: Our team of solicitors have decades of experience between them and offer expert legal advice on a wide range of legal matters, which you may have difficulties in resolving yourself. See our ‘What we do‘ page for details on all of the services we offer.


A: Give us a call or email us to discuss your situation. If in the unlikely event that we are unable to help you then we will tell you. Fees only start once you are satisfied that we can be of service and when you instruct us to go ahead.



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Conveyancing and purchasing property:

A: Conveyancing is the legal process involved when buying and selling houses, flats and other property. Conveyancing is where the title (ownership) is transferred from the vendor to the purchaser. If you are re-mortgaging or letting a property then Conveyancing may also be needed. Call us on 01446 721000 or email us at mail@passmores.com to check.


A: Once you have chosen your mortgage lender and have applied for the loan then we take over the process. We contact the solicitor that represents the vendor requesting the contract package, and once this arrives we carry out a number of different searches. If these searches raise any issues then we will question the vendor’s solicitors. Once we receive the results of the searches and responses to enquiries, we will prepare a report for you which will include all of the important documentation affecting the property. We will then be present with you to sign all of your papers, including the mortgage deed. When all paperwork has been signed, we will hold it on file until the vendor’s solicitors are ready to exchange contracts. After contracts have been exchanged we will arrange the completion and payment of the deposit.

Upon completion, we will send the vendor’s solicitors the money needed to complete the purchase and arrange for the loan to be paid to us by your mortgage lender on the completion date. When all money has changed hands we will inform the estate agent so that you can collect the keys. Our job does not stop at completion, as after you have moved in we still need to take care of the stamp duty (if any) and arrange the payment on your behalf. We will then register your ownership of the property as well as details of the mortgage with the Land Registry. Once this is completed both you and your mortgage provider will receive a copy of your title deeds from us.


A: Exchange of Contracts is when the transaction becomes binding. Up until this point there is no legal contract in place, but once you reach it the buyer must pay the deposit (usually around 10% depending on the mortgage amount). Upon the exchange of contracts, the completion date will be decided and cannot be changed. This process happens between the solicitors representing the purchaser and vendor, so you do not need to be present.


A: Restrictive Covenants are rules which are imposed on land when the vendor wishes to retain an element of control over that land after they have sold it. For example, a property developer selling a new housing estate may require a covenant that allows only a certain number of cars to park outside them, or a covenant restricting the colours that the houses can be painted in.


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Tenant and Landlord Advice:

A: When a shorthold tenancy is created it is for a fixed term. Once this term ends the tenancy will continue on a month to month basis. Should the landlord want to cancel the tenancy then they will need to give a two month notice period. Should the tenant want to cancel then they will need to give one month notice. The landlord will need to present a carefully phrased notice to the tenant and either notice should expire the day when rent is usually due.


A: Strictly speaking, signatures do not need to be witnessed if the tenancy agreement is for three years or less. Many landlords do try and have any guarantor’s signature witnessed, especially if you are not present when they sign. The same witness can be used for all signatures on an agreement.


A: It depends on the terms of your tenancy agreement, but most allow the landlord to inspect after giving reasonable notice. This is defined as a minimum of 24 hours and may require the landlord giving the tenant notice in writing. It is not acceptable to simply turn up when you like and let yourself in as this would breach the tenant’s rights.


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Matrimonial, divorce and separation:

A: There is only one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This has to be proven by establishing one of the following facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Two year separation (where the other party consents to a divorce)
  • Five year separation (no consent is needed in this case)
  • Desertion


A: Couples often separate without involving the courts but the advantage of court involvement is that any agreement you have reached can be approved by the court will then be binding upon both of you. Issues such as who is to care for the children and arrangements regarding financial and property matters can be considered by the court. A court order will ensure that the agreement is not broken by your former partner.


A: You could consider other processes, such as mediation or collaborative law. Mediation is a voluntary process which aims to help the parties to reach an agreement in relation to the practical aspects of the break down of the relationship. Our trained mediator acts as a neutral third party who will work to encourage positive discussion between the parties with the aim of reaching a settlement. Collaborative Law is the process in which you and your partner both commit to resolving matters between you without involving the court to make decisions on your behalf. Each of the couple selects a collaboratively trained lawyer to represent them. For more information on mediation and collaborative law please visit our sister-website at www.passmores-mediation.co.uk.


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Writing a Will:

A: The way in which you want your finances, property and possessions to be dealt with after your death is set out in your Will. If a Will has not been made then the wishes of your family and friends may not be taken into consideration as distribution of your estate will depend on the Rules of Intestacy. In this situation your partner may not receive their full entitlement, especially if you are unmarried and without children, and people you may not wish to receive anything may benefit. If you have young children you may want to appoint a guardian to look after them and to make decisions regarding their welfare in the event of your death. By drawing up a Will, you are able to appoint an Executor and set out your wishes as to how your estate is to be distributed between your beneficiaries.


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Probate and Estate Administration:

A: Probate is the issuing of a legal document called a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration) by the Probate Registry. The document states the person authorised to deal with the estate of a person who has died.


A: Many organisations that you will need to deal with, such as banks and building societies, will not discuss the deceased’s assets with you unless you can prove that you have the appropriate authority. The Grant of Probate gives you this authority. This will also enable you to deal with any property the deceased owned.


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Employment Law:

A: Not necessarily, as a verbal contract can be equally binding, especially if the employee has already performed work in return for pay. This is not an ideal situation though as it is likely to be more difficult to prove the precise terms of the contract. It is advisable that you seek advice from us, as many employers that do not issue written contracts regret it.


A: Employees are not able to sign away their rights. Anyone over the age of 18 that is not a family member, working within the family business and living in the family, must be paid National Minimum Wage. The one exception is people working for therapeutic reasons only, such as volunteer workers, where there is no contract or obligation to work and no right to any payment or benefit.


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Children Matters:

A: A Residence Order is made by a court and specifies the person that a child will live with. If the Residence Order is in favour of someone other than the parent or guardian of the child concerned then that person will assume parental responsibility for the duration of the time that the order stays in force.


A: Not necessarily. When Social Services (or Children’s Services as they are now often known) are informed of concerns about a child’s welfare then they have to investigate. If this investigation raises no concerns then the matter will end there. Just make sure that you co-operate fully with them. In the event that they do have concerns as to the welfare of your child then they may invite you to attend a meeting with people familiar to your family, such as a police officer, doctor or teacher, to discuss the concerns. It is advisable that you take a legal advisor or solicitor from Passmores to this meeting as the outcome can decide whether or not your child’s name is placed on the Child Protection Register and if future meetings are needed.


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Child Abduction:

A: Court orders are often sought as a way of preventing child abduction. If you have real reason to suspect that a child abduction is likely to take place then you should contact us immediately or call Reunite on their advice line on 0116 2556 234.


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Domestic Violence:

A: It is possible to obtain an injunction called a non molestation order which prevent your partner from causing violence, intimidating, pestering or harassing you. In addition due to the circumstances we would suggest obtaining a residence order from the court.


A: In certain circumstances the court can make orders under the Family Law Act 1996 which are aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence. In certain circumstances the court can make a non-molestation order, which prevents your ex partner from having any contact with you, or an occupation order, which prevents them from entering or living at your home.


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Personal Injury:

A: The amount will depend entirely on your claim and injury and is different in each case. Our advisors are able to give you an estimate of the compensation amount during the initial interview before you decide whether or not to proceed with the claim. Depending on how severe your injuries are, we might have to wait until after a medical assessment to give an accurate estimate.


A: A “No Win – No Fee” agreement is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) and with this type of agreement the money you pay us depends on whether you win or lose your case. Should you unfortunately lose your case then you will need to pay your opponent’s legal costs and disbursements. These costs can be insured and are then paid by the insurance company and not you personally. If you win the case then you pay our costs out of the compensation money awarded to you. Contact us to discuss “No Win – No Fee” agreements in greater detail.


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Lasting Power of Attorney:

A: If a person loses mental capacity without having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, a family member or indeed anyone who is willing, would have to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed to deal with that person’s affairs. This is often a frustrating and expensive process for the person making the application and nothing can be done in relation to a person’s affairs until an Order has been obtained.


A: Yes – there are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. Either or both can be made on your behalf. They are as follows:

  1. Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs which allows your Attorney to deal with your property and finances.
  2. Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare which allows your Attorney to make decisions on your behalf regarding your personal healthcare, including making medical treatment decisions and welfare decisions for you, including decisions relating to medical care and giving or refusing life sustaining treatment.


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Forced Marriages:


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