Will Aid | logoWill Aid to celebrate 30 years.

Will Aid, an initiative which raises money for charity whilst targeting the 51% of Britons who don’t have a Will is celebrating its 30th year.

Will Aid takes place every November and lasts for the whole month. It sees legal firms from across the country pledge a portion of their time to write basic Wills, with clients making a donation to a good cause. Partner charities include Age UK, NSPCC and the British Red Cross.

Will Aid not only raises money for worthwhile charities but provides people with the peace of mind that comes from protecting the future of their loved ones with a Will.

Three quarters of the population of the population have a Will in place by the time they are 65, but that leaves a sizeable number uncovered. Around 60,000 estates each year are intestate (i.e. there is no valid Will in place).

Making a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out when it comes to who inherits what and allows you to make clear instructionsWheelers Solicitors certificate of achievement for Will Aid | Newport Isle of Wight about how your estate is to be distributed.

Since its launch 30 years ago, Will Aid has raised more than £20 million for various charities and helped more than 300,000 people to make a Will.

Wheelers Solicitors in Newport, Isle of Wight, are proud to have contributed to this impressive effort and we raised just over £3,000 for Will Aid in 2017. We will be taking part again this November and look forward to raising lots more money for these worthwhile causes.

Click here to see our top ten reasons why you should make a Will or call us on (01983) 533938 to arrange an appointment to make a Will*.

*n.b. Will Aid promotion only runs in November each year.  Our usual fees will apply if you wish to make a Will before November.

 

Why Does Conveyancing Take So Long?  The holy grail of fast conveyancing

fast conveyancing | Wheelers solicitors newport isle of wightAfter months of searching for a new home you’ve finally found one that you want to buy and the seller has accepted your offer.  Now your thoughts have turned to paint charts, colour schemes and speculative trips to Ikea.  Unfortunately it can seem like it takes forever for the mysterious conveyancing process to happen before the keys are finally in your hands.  Why is this?  How can you find a solicitor who can do fast conveyancing?

One of the main questions clients ask us is how long will this take?  Unfortunately this is a difficult question to answer at first.  There are many aspects to the process of buying or selling a house and the more links there are in the conveyancing chain, the more complex and time consuming the transaction may become.

Essentially, conveyancers want you to be informed about every aspect of the property before you commit to, what will probably be, the most expensive purchase of your life to date.

A usual conveyancing transaction, provided there are no major hold-ups, should take around 7-9 weeks. The majority of people, especially first-time buyers, are unclear of exactly what takes place during the process and can become frustrated if it appears that the transaction is dragging along.  People can be quick to pin the blame on their conveyancer but they are not usually the reason for the delay.

7 -9 weeks may not seem like the fast conveyancing process most people wish for but the process takes this time for a reason.  A typical purchase of a property progresses like this:

Week one:

  • The offer is accepted and the estate agents will ask you which solicitor you are using. The conveyancer will then send you instruction forms to be completed, signed and returned along with proof of your identity and address and they will request money on account of costs including search fees.

Week two:

  • Once the instruction forms have been returned to your solicitor, they will write to the solicitors on the other side of the transaction to let them know that they are acting for you. The other side will send over the contract papers, including deeds, the contract, Property Information Form and the Fitting and Contents form.

Week three:

  • If the contract papers have arrived the searches can be requested and the rest of the paperwork can be reviewed. A Local Search can often take up to three weeks to be returned, even longer at peak times during the year.  This is one of the major factors that can hold up the conveyancing process.

Week four/five:

  • Your solicitor will raise any enquiries that they have in relation to the title, the Property Information forms or the other searches which have been returned. The solicitor will also deal with the mortgage if there is one and draft the Transfer Deed which transfers ownership upon completion.
  • These enquiries are absolutely essential to safeguard you during the process as once the sale is completed there is no going back. You need to know that the property you are buying is in sound condition, that any building work has meet building control approval and there are no issues with rights of way or restrictions on the property that will cause you problems in the future.

Week six:

  • Once the Local Search has been returned then the solicitor will be able to report to you with the full details of the property and provided you are happy with everything get you signed up in readiness to complete your purchase.

Week seven:

  • Providing that there are no major hiccups or kinks in the chain then exchange should take place and a completion date can be arranged that suits everyone else in the chain. Your solicitor will request your mortgage funds, if necessary.  Banks usually take around 5 working days to release funds so you should be able to complete within a week of exchanging contracts.

Fast conveyancing may be the goal of most buyers and sellers but as you can see from the above the process is careful, thorough and detailed in order to protect you.  There are also a lot of set backs which can occur during the process which will prolong the process, such as long chains, waiting for mortgage offers, searches and third party involvement.

At Wheelers Solicitors in Newport, Isle of Wight, our conveyancing team are quick and efficient and will keep you updated at every stage of the process.

Jacob Sandbach, one of our conveyancers, recently completed a conveyancing transaction within 9 days!  The purchasers viewed the property on a Tuesday and had completed the following Thursday.  Whilst this is a rare and exceptional example, it shows the fast and efficient service that Wheelers Solicitors are capable of when it comes to conveyancing.

We offer online quotes for conveyancing here or you can telephone us on (01983) 533938 or via our contact form.

bank charges on estates | Wheelers Solicitors will writing and probate administrationDid a bank write your Will for you? Beware of hidden bank charges on estates.

Up to 1.5 million people in the UK may have thousands of pounds in charges levied on their estates after they die after using cheap or free Will writing services from their banks. Bank charges on estates are common in Wills that they either wrote cheaply or for free for their customers as a ‘perk’ for signing up to other services.

These Wills often appointed the bank itself as the executors of the estate and gave the banks the power to charge up to 2.5% in legal fees to conduct the administration.

On an estate worth £250,000 these fees could amount to £6,250 plus VAT (£7,500).

This would be despite the administration being relatively straightforward if the estate simply consisted of a property and a few savings accounts.

When customers signed up for these schemes they may not have understood the implication of making the banks the executors and the percentage charge may have appeared modest, especially before the boom in property prices.

Banks often offered Will writing services as a perk when customers signed up for insurance or fee-paying current accounts.  They would then be visited at home by bank staff or lawyers to prepare their Wills for them.

An estimated 1.5 million Wills have been written by banks over the past 20 years. Banks are still offering Will-writing services. Natwest and sister bank RBS charge 2.5%, plus a £1,500 charge up to a maximum total fee of £15,000. Lloyds charge 1.5% on the first £1 million of wealth.

What can you do if your Will was written by a bank?

Bank charges on estates can be avoided.  If you currently have a Will that was drawn up by a bank and appoints them as executors then you should consider either making a new Will or drafting a codicil (a supplementary page to the Will) to change the executors.

If you have recently suffered a bereavement and discovered that a bank is the executor of a Will then it is possible to ask them to renounce their role.  Many banks (or other professional organisations) will accept a family’s request for them to renounce their role as executors, although there may still be a charge payable for them to prepare the Deed of Renunciation.

Wheelers Solicitors believe charging a percentage of the estate is unfair.

At Wheelers Solicitors we believe it is unfair to charge a percentage of an estate to cover the administration costs of Probate.  This simply penalises people depending on the value of their estates rather than reflecting the true costs of the administration.

It is not possible to charge an ‘off the shelf’ price for Probate administration. Every estate is individual and they can vary dramatically in complexity.  Instead, Wheelers Solicitors charge an hourly rate for Probate administration so that the costs accurately reflect the work completed.

Currently, Wheelers Solicitors charge £180 per hour (plus VAT) for Probate administration.  This is broken down to 1/10th of an hour for letters written, 1/20th of an hour for letters received, emails and telephone calls and per minute for time spent in attendance and on preparation.

A typical estate will take between 7-10 hours of chargeable time (£1,512 – £2,160 inclusive of VAT).  More complex estates (where there are many assets and liabilities to be dealt with or where family negotiations are difficult) can take longer.

If  you would like to know more about our Probate administration services you can read more here, telephone us on (01983) 533938 or contact us via our website.

If you would like to prepare a new Will or codicil then you can read more about our service here or contact us as per the details above.