If you are on a certain state benefits such as Income Support, Income Related Job Seekers Allowance or State Pension. It is likely you will be able to get Legal Aid granted to cover the costs of making a basic Will. If you are below pension age and you have savings of more than or around £1,800 it is likely that you that you will have too much savings to qualify for Legal Aid. If you are over pension age and have saving between £7,000 – £1,200 you may still be eligible for Legal Aid and you should ask a Legal Aid solicitor to carry our an assessment for you. The Legal Aid solicitor should not charge for this assessment.
Just as the law does not require people to get married it does not require people to get divorced. The divorce rules are there to separate the legal relationship between yourself and your spouse as husband and wife or yourself and you partner as civil partners. However, sometimes people require access to the law to make a decision of factors arising out of their divorce. This can be to do with the arrangements for children following up on your divorce and further arrangements on how to divide up your matrimonial property. Where you do not have to funds to access a solicitor for this advice then you may be eligible for Legal Aid. In general your income will need to be less than around £170 per week and your savings will need to be less than around £1,800.
You will need to contact a Legal Aid solicitor. This will usually involve at least one face-to-face interview. You will need to provide that solicitor with 3 months bank statements and 3 months’ payslips. These must be form all bank accounts including dormant accounts and all employers even if they are occasional or cash employers. Please note that failure to disclose savings or income to your solicitor can lead to a prosecution by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Your offer will be excepted verbally. This is often done so that your solicitor can get on with doing the legal work pending the issuing of a written offer.
A suspensive condition is a condition is that your solicitor will put in your offer which means that going ahead with buying the property is dependent on some conditions. These can be:
- Subject to you obtaining your own survey;
- Subject to you obtaining your own valuation;
- Subject to you obtaining an offer of mortgage;
- Subject of you obtaining planning permission if you are buying a plot in order to build a house or a property where you intend to carry out extensive alterations or a conversion.
The settling solicitor will take the suspensive condition out of your offer when they issue your qualified expectance. This means they are accepted the core terms of your offer but now expect you to purify the suspensive conditions. So, if, for example, your offer Is subject to survey the seller will accept your offer but deleting the subject survey clause. This means that they expect you to instruct your survey and if you are satisfied with the terms survey you can then accept deleting of that clause. Your offer is accepted and the document is called a qualified acceptance. This is a letter which accepts the terms of your offer but will have in a number of qualifications or deletions. It will then be up to your solicitor to ask you whether you are in a position to accept the qualifications or deletions which come from the sellers lawyer.
The answer to this is yes. If you make a straight cash offer, which is not subject to any suspensive conditions then your offer can be immediately accepted and the contract must proceed. This means that you must come up with the funds at the date of entry. Accordingly you should not offer on a property unless you are absolutely certain that you will have the funds available. If obtaining the funds is dependent upon you selling a property or obtaining a mortgage you should include a suspensive (subject to) condition.
You cannot pay your solicitor a cash sum to purchase a property. On some occasions solicitors can accept cash for payment of their fees but in general terms they will need payment for property purchases by a transfer from another bank account or into your solicitors bank account or by way of a cheque.
Your solicitor will apply for your mortgage funds for you and will arrange for these to be in your solicitors account in time to be paid over at the date of entry.
No, you cannot do this. Your solicitor’s professional regulations are such that they cannot access or take money from a client’s bank account. There are some acceptations to this where your solicitor is also acting as an executor or a guardian but this will generally not apply to conventual house purchases. You will need to make sure you transfer your funds to your solicitor.
Herd Law’s letter of engagement with you tells you that you need to pay your fees and outlays at the same time as settlement of your transaction.
The process from submitting your offer to completing your transaction and obtaining the title deed to transfer the title into your name take approximately 6 weeks. In exceptional circumstances it can be done more quickly but there is a legal process to be gone through, which is explained fully under ‘Legal Process’.
There are a number of reason that could hold your purchase up. If you are buying a house which has been converted then your solicitor will want to see any building warrants, planning permissions or completion certificates in connection to any conversion work. It is not unusual, in particularly in legal areas for conversation works to have been done without the necessary certificates. If you do not have a mortgage then it will be a matter for you to risk going ahead with the purchase. If you do have a mortgage then this may be an essential condition of your mortgage application and these permissions are all in place. As your solicitor is also responsible for satisfying any preconditions of your mortgage, your transaction can be held up while these matters are resolved.
If you’re buying a property which is not connected to the main sewerage or drainage it will require to have some means of discharging its effluence. All properties in Scotland now require to have their discharge system registered with SEPA. Your lawyer will ask the seller to provide a copy of the SEPA discharge certificate. Please note that this means that the property is registered with SEPA but there is no guarantee that the discharge system complies with new regulations.
If you are interested in buying a property your solicitor will note that that interest for you. Sometimes the seller will wish to retrieve the quickest and best price with the least number of conditions and sometimes the sellers are simply interested in achieving the best price. To achieve the best price, they will need to fix a closing date which is a blind bidding system. If you wish to place an offer on a property which is going to a closing date you must submit your best price. There will not be any opportunity for negotiation at a later stage and you will not be given a chance to reoffer.
Once your offer has been accepted by a property, the seller needs to let the Keeper of the Land Registers Scotland know that they were about to enter into a land transactions to sell their property. They will need to tell their keeper at the intent to grant document in your favour called a Disposition and to give the Keeper your name and address as the intendant transferee of the title.
A Legal Report is a two stage document. Close to the start of your transaction, the buyer’s lawyer will ask the sellers lawyer for a legal report. This should show the current legal status of the property and the parties who are going to be involved in the transaction. It will show if there has been any legal impediment to the property being transferred and if there is any other parties have any legal proceedings against them which might affect the capability to buy or sell the property. Towards the end of the transaction and before the purchase, this report will be updated to show the advanced notices having been registered against the property and also to show that all parties remain clear to enter into the property transaction.
LBTT is short for Land and Buildings Transfer Tax. On any land transaction in Scotland your solicitor requires to complete a land transaction return for you. This is done to Revenues Scotland and is similar to submitting of a tax return. It requires it to be accurate and inaccuracies can lead to penalties. The Land and Buildings Transfer Tax is calculated at the rate of the transfer and must be paid immediately upon transfer of the property to you. The Land Register of Scotland will not let your solicitor register the title in your favour without payment of the LBTT. To register your LBTT payment, your solicitor will need your national insurance number.
ADS is called the Additional Dwelling Supplement. This is a tax due to the Scottish government where you aquired a second home. A second home includes an interest in any heritable property where you already have a main residence anywhere else in the world. The legislation is very much “catch-all” legislation, and so is designed to catch any second homes, interests in second homes.
The Land Registers of Scotland is presently going through a number of changes and there are three ways that a title can be registered. In principle these are in the general register which is known as the Sassine register, this contains all the entitled deeds in Scotland which are registered up until 1979. The properties are described by their boundaries and measurements and their North, South, East and West alignments. Some of these documents will have plans attached and some wont. After the introduction of the Land Registration Act 1979 a new provision was put into place whereby any titles transferring had to be accompanied by a plan. A plan is an outlet of the boundaries and the plan must be able to match against the coordinates on the ordinate survey maps. This was a two dimensional mapping system. Although this had been gradually rolled out over Scotland since 1979 less than 50% of Scottish properties have achieved first registration through this system. In 2012 further legislation was introduced with the view to introducing a cadastral map. This is a three dimensional mapping system and is intended to be much more accurate. Accordingly all properties changing hands now, require to have the existing plans checked against the existing Land Register Map. If you are going through a first registration or a first cadastral registration your solicitor will need to make sure that the plan attached to your title deed will meet the requirements of the Keeper’s Regulations. This is something that must be done before your purchase goes ahead.
In general the best legal advice to you would not to do this, whilst parties are in the process of a sale, everyone is focussed in getting the sale through but once the property has been sold there is little chance of seeking a remedy without considerable time and legal expense being involved.
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