Costs - Mortimers Solicitors

Cost Information

We have three members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Christopher Waters, Solicitor and Director of Mortimers.

Judy Bonegal – Associate Solicitor

Judy qualified in 1977 following training at Dawkins & Grey in Birmingham where she then became an Associate Solicitor and subsequently a Partner.

She has dealt throughout her career with private client matters including residential conveyancing, Wills, Powers of Attorney and administration of estates.

In 2007 following the merger of Dawkins & Grey she moved to Thursfields Solicitors in Worcester and subsequently Stourport where she dealt solely with private client matters.

In 2017 she moved to Mortimers Bridgnorth office lured in part by the prospect of a much shorter daily commute. Judy looks after private client matters at the Bridgnorth office including Wills, administration of estates and Lasting Powers of Attorney. She also advises on lifetime mortgage and equity release matters.

In her spare time she enjoys horse riding, reading, cooking and looking after her alpacas and chickens.

Leane Spencer – Associate Solicitor

Leane joined Mortimers in 2015 having qualified as a solicitor in 2009. She studied in Cardiff and Toulouse gaining a degree in Law and French and completed the Legal Practice Course with distinction at the University of Glamorgan. She started her career specialising in social welfare law working with a charitable organisation in Cardiff.
Leane has been specialising in Wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications, trusts, probate and related property matters since 2012 and has been a full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly since 2013. She is also an Associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and a member of the Law Society Private Client Section.
Leane has a background in managing a wide range of Wills and probate matters, including complex Will construction and validity issues, inheritance tax, calculating and providing advice on capital gains tax and completing income tax returns. She has administered a variety of different complex estates including agricultural estates, insolvent estates, foreign assets and mediating between arguing executors.
Leane specialises in dealing with elderly and vulnerable clients and is able to effectively combine her knowledge of the law with a natural attentive and approachable manner, putting clients at ease whilst ensuring that they understand the legal processes that they are having to deal with, often at very difficult times of their lives.

Zoe Smith – Chartered Legal Executive

After completing her law degree in Sheffield, Zoe studied the Chartered Institute of Legal Executive Graduate Diploma at Worcester College of Technology. Zoe then gained three years’ work experience in a local law firm, which lead to her qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2016. Zoe has specialised in Wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications, trusts and probate since 2013. She is also an Associate member of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Zoe advises on all areas of Private Client law, in particular on drafting wills, lasting powers of attorney and giving tax advice. She also deals with the administration of estates, the creation of trusts and registration of enduring powers of attorney.
Zoe enjoys meeting new clients and has a thoughtful and welcoming manner that quickly puts her clients at ease. Zoe’s primary focus has always been to provide her clients with support, guidance and practical legal solutions.


Probate

When a family member or friend passes away you may find yourself responsible for winding up their affairs.
Probate is the term used for the legal process in dealing with the estate of someone who has died. If there is a Will then the executors named in the Will are responsible for administering the estate. If there is no Will, the rules of intestacy state who will be responsible for dealing with the estate.
The person responsible for administering the estate may need to apply for a grant from the probate registry, collect and realise the assets, discharge any liabilities (unpaid bills, taxes and funeral expenses) and ensure that the balance of the estate is shared out between the beneficiaries correctly. The person or people administering the estate are personally responsible for the estate and can be sued by beneficiaries or creditors if the estate hasn’t been dealt with correctly.
Our team’s extensive expertise allows them to deal with the most complex of estates and legal issues. We aim to help you to understand and address all of the various issues that can potentially arise during administration. We offer professional but sensitive guidance; we will save you as much time, money and heartache as we can and endeavour to settle the estate fairly and efficiently.

An example of our probate fees can be found below:

Full Service
The exact cost of administering an estate will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is only one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We anticipate that for a simple estate with few assets, liabilities and beneficiaries, this will take between 10 and 15 hours of work at £200 per hour plus VAT. This would put the total costs estimated at £2,000 to £3,000 plus VAT.

We will handle the full administration process for you. This estimate is for estates where:

• There is a valid Will
• There is no more than one property
• There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts
• There are no other savings, investments or shareholdings
• There are 1-4 beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There is no inheritance tax payable
• The executors do not need to submit a full inheritance tax return to HMRC
• There are no claims made against the estate

As part of the process we will:

• Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
• Accurately identify the type of probate application you will require
• Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
• Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
• Draft a legal oath for you to swear
• Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
• Obtain the grant from the Probate Registry
• Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
• Advise you about relevant matters along the way

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 -12 months. Some may be administered more quickly and others can take much longer, depending on the circumstances.

Disbursements

There are other costs that you may have to pay for as part of the administration process and these are listed below together with an estimate of their cost and when payment for them is likely to be needed. We handle the payment of these costs on your behalf, from the estate funds, to ensure a smoother process.

Expense

Cost

When

Payment Required

Probate Registry Fee

£155.00

Date of Submission to Probate Registry

Copies of Grant

£0.50 per copy

Date of Submission to Probate Registry

Land Registry Office Copies

£3.00 per document

Date of Request from Land Registry

Land Registry Fee re change of Ownership of Registered Property

£20 – £125 depending on value of property

Date of Submission of Application to Land Registry

Land Registry Fee re change of Ownership of Unregistered Property

£40 – £910 depending on value of property

Date of Submission of Application to Land Registry

If Property Unregistered – Search Fees

£2.00 per name being searched

Date of Search at Land Registry

Recorded Delivery Fees for any document sent out by recorded delivery

The cost charged by Royal Mail plus VAT

Date of Postage

BACS Payment Fee

£20.00 plus VAT

Date payment made

CHAPS Payment Fee

£30 plus VAT

Date payment made

Bankruptcy Search Fees – Beneficiary based in UK           

£2.00 per name being searched

Date of Search at Land Registry

Bankruptcy Search Fees – Beneficiary based outside of UK           

Varies depending on Country but prices usually start at £82.80 per beneficiary

Date of Search

s27 Trustee Act Notices (Advertisement for Creditors in the local paper and/or London Gazette)

£82 - £200

Date of request for advertisement

Certainty Will Search

£45.60 - £238.80

Date of Search Request

Landmark Financial Asset Search

£162.00

Date of Search Request

VAT is payable on certain expenses.

Potential additional costs

There may be additional costs, that could range significantly, depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information. Situations where additional costs are likely to arise include (but is not limited to):

• If there is no Will
• If the validity of the Will is challenged
• If the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds).
• If there are 5 or more beneficiaries
• If charities are named as residuary beneficiaries
• If disputes arise between beneficiaries
• If inheritance tax is payable
• If a full inheritance tax return is required
• If there is income tax payable
• If there is capital gains tax payable
• If a claim is made against the estate
• If a Deed of Variation or a Deed of Appointment are required
• If an ongoing trust needs to be set up which may need to be registered with HMRC
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate

Grant Only Service
If you want to deal with administering the estate yourself but want us to help you with the process of obtaining the Grant from the Probate Registry then we can assist you on a fixed fee basis of £750 plus VAT.
This service is available where there is no inheritance tax payable and only the short form inheritance tax return is required.
The following disbursements will be payable in addition to our fees:
Probate Registry Fee £155.00 Date of Submission to Probate Registry
Copies of Grant £0.50 per copy Date of Submission to Probate Registry

As part of the process we will:

• Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
• Accurately identify the type of probate application you will require
• Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
• Draft a legal oath for you to swear
• Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
• Obtain the grant from the Probate Registry
• Advise you about all related matters along the way


EMPLOYMENT LAW FEES

We are required to provide price information regarding the areas of law in which we practice.

This note applies to Employment Law.

Initial Discussion

We are pleased to have an initial free discussion with you by telephone or to respond to an initial email enquiry. However, if you need more advice, if your matter is complex or we need to look at documents related to your matter, then this will be subject to a charge.

There is no legal aid for employment law, so we are only able to act for clients who are able and willing to pay for advice. We may require a payment on account from you before commencing work.

Estimate of Costs

We will do our best to give you an accurate estimate of the costs you may incur, both at the time that you first instruct Mortimers and at appropriate intervals whilst we work for you.

We have provided example costs for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal below, to help you understand our fees.

We act for clients whether they are employees or employers.

Ways of Paying

The way in which the work that we do for you may be funded depends upon the type of case and our agreement with you. The following options are available:

• Payment by hourly rate
• Payment by agreed fee
• Payment by legal expenses insurance

Our current hourly rates are:

• Principal solicitor - £200 (plus VAT)
• Non-Legally qualified staff - £100 (plus VAT)

You may be aware of some providers who offer legal advice for free, or for a small or modest cost. For example, some organisations offer to do pro bono work; this is work done voluntarily and without charge. We do not currently take on pro bono work.

If you are a member of a union, you may be entitled to free legal advice from your union. We will advise you if we think that any of these funding methods are applicable in your case.

Payment on Account

In some cases we will ask you to make payments in advance to cover any anticipated fees or disbursements (ie payments made on your behalf). These advance payments are deposited into our Client Account and are governed by rules set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Account Rules. We will pay interest on the average balance that was held for you providing the interest accrued amounts to £20 or more. Interest is calculated at the rate available on an instant access savings account from Lloyds Bank.

We are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to deposit monies in instant access accounts only. This means that the interest rate paid on money in our Client Account may not be as high as you can achieve by placing the money in a savings account yourself.

Legal Expenses Insurance

In some circumstances, clients will have legal expenses insurance, which they can use to fund a claim against their previous employer. This can only be done once the insurers have agreed insurance cover in writing, and it is usual for such cover to become active only after a claim has been issued. It is unlikely that we will be paid under the insurance scheme for any costs incurred prior to issuing a claim, and therefore our client remains liable for that cost.

Additionally, the insurers would never pay for the time spent by us in communication with them about the nature of the claim and/or any updates which they need. In such circumstances, we will render an invoice to our client in relation to that time. This will be charged at the hourly rate set out above, ie £200 per hour plus VAT.

Settlement Agreements

We often are asked to advise on Settlement Agreements, which are agreements reached pursuant to Section 203 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, where the parties have reached an agreement about the termination of an employee’s contract of employment. Usually, but not necessarily, the employee will be being paid compensation in exchange for agreeing the termination.

Usually, the employer makes a contribution to the legal costs associated with the provision by this firm of what is known as the independent adviser’s certificate. Those contributions, in our experience, range between £250 and £500 plus VAT for a standard agreement. However, it may be that the agreement is not standard and therefore further additional work is required, which would take the costs over and above the cost contribution provided by the employer. We will always try to get the employer to pay a larger contribution, but it may be that this is not possible and in such circumstances, our client remains liable for any additional costs.

Further, it is important to note that if the Settlement Agreement does not result in agreement, then the employer will not pay the costs contribution which it offers, and any costs will be the responsibility of the Client

Specific Pieces of Work

We are happy to provide advice and/or to conduct specific pieces of work within an overall claim where we have not confirmed to the Tribunal that we are acting generally. This could be, for example, where a litigant in person is required by the Tribunal to file a Schedule of Loss. We can either draft that Schedule of loss or advise on the schedule as drafted by the individual. For this we would charge at the usual hourly rate.

Disbursements

On occasions, we will need to incur external fees on behalf of our clients. These may be barrister’s fees, expert’s fees, etc. VAT has to be added to most disbursements except court fees. It is difficult to predict barrister’s fees because they will involve an assessment of the particular work necessary in each particular case. It is, however, quite usual that barristers’ charges are approximately £250 per hour. If one is instructing a barrister, we will endeavour to ascertain the potential costs involved before undertaking any work which would incur barrister’s fees. We will contact our clients before incurring fees and obtain their approval.

Employment Tribunal Claims

There are presently no fees charged by the Employment Tribunals to issue claims in the Tribunal. Equally, it is unusual, but not impossible, for there to be a costs order in favour of a winning party or against a losing party.

What is involved

To help you understand the likely fees of a claim at the Employment Tribunal, the following information will give you an indication of our fees for bringing or defending claims for unfair dismissal.

The cost depends on several factors: the complexity of the case, the amount of evidence involved and the legal issues relating to the case. If a claim reaches a final hearing, it will go through several key stages. They are:

• Early conciliation. This is the process by which an attempt is made to resolve a dispute through ACAS, before issuing proceedings.
• Preparation and issue of a claim at an Employment Tribunal.
• Receipt and analysis of the response to the claim.
• Compliance with directions made by the Tribunal. Directions are instructions from the Judge for the proper management of the claim. They include exchange of relevant documents by and preparation of an agreed bundle of documents which will be used by the parties and by the Judge at the final hearing. Preparation and exchange of witness statements setting out the evidence that witnesses will give at the final hearing. Setting a date for the final hearing. Setting a timetable for the final hearing.
• Preliminary Hearings. Depending on the nature of the case, the Tribunal will sometimes set a case management conference to define the issues in the case and to give directions. This is known as a Preliminary Hearing and may take place at the Tribunal or by telephone. Other Preliminary Hearings may be held to determine a specific issue in a case, such as whether there is in fact a case to answer, whether part of a claim or response should be struck out or whether a claim is out of time.
• The Final Hearing. This is like a trial. It is where the evidence is heard and legal arguments are made. A judge will decide the case.

Each case has its own facts, legal issues and evidence. Many cases don’t go through the full process and are either settled or withdrawn before the case reaches the Final Hearing. If that happens, the cost of the case will be less than the guideline estimates below.

Unfair Dismissal Costs

As each case is individual, we are only able to give a guide to our fees in typical cases here.

• Simple cases tend to cost between £5,000 and £6,000.
• Complex cases will cost more. The range is about £8,000 to £10,000, particularly if more than one day is needed at the final hearing.
• Very complicated cases could exceed £10,000. These cases may involve substantial amounts of evidence or complex legal arguments.

These estimates include VAT. There may, however, be disbursements incurred which will increase this figure.

Work by Non-Legally Qualified Staff

Occasionally, we encounter situations where it is more appropriate to carry out certain aspects of a particular case with experienced but unqualified staff. If that decision is taken by the Principal Solicitor with conduct of a matter, the time spent by that member of staff will be charged at 50% of the principal rate, ie the charge will be at £100 per hour plus VAT.

How long will a case take to resolve?

The time that a claim of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal will take to complete from the preliminary stages through to final hearing depends on several factors; the complexity of the case, which we referred to earlier, but also the state of the Tribunal’s diary. A Final Hearing is fixed by the Tribunal either after the claim has been issued or at a Preliminary Hearing. Our experience tells us that it will be 6 to 10 months before a claim is likely to be concluded at a final hearing in simple cases and 12 to 18 months in more complicated cases.

Christopher Waters is an experienced Employment Law and Litigation Solicitor. He first practised in London and then in 1998, together with colleagues, founded Mortimers. Christopher takes on a positive and pragmatic approach to Employment Law and has a successful track record.


CONVEYANCING FEES

We are required to provide price information regarding the conveyance of residential property including freehold sale or purchase, leasehold sale or purchase, mortgages or re mortgages.  At the beginning of the transaction we will provide you with a fixed fee.  This will be based on a standard transaction.  Our fee will cover all the work required to complete your matter.   If any complications arise, then we reserve the right to increase our fees to cover any additional work accordingly. 

Our fee assumes that:

  • This is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arising including for example (but not limited to) a defect in title which requires remedying prior to completion or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction
  • This is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease
  • The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise
  • All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation
  • No indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required

Purchase of a freehold residential property

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase of your new home, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp duty land tax (stamp duty) if the property is in England or Land Transaction tax (Land Tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.

Conveyancers fees and disbursements (plus VAT)

Property Price                 Freehold Sale fee            Freehold Purchase fee

Up to £200,000                 £500 - £575                      £500 - £595

£200,001 - £275,000         £575 - £625                      £595 - £695

£275,001 - £350,000         £625 - £695                      £695 - £750

£350,001 upwards             £750 upwards                   £750 upwards

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees.  We handle payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Anti Money Laundering

Identity check (per name)  £8

Local Search                     £75-£160 depending on location plus VAT

Drainage Search               £45-£85 depending on location plus VAT

Environmental Search       £55-£90 depending on location plus VAT

Mining Search                   £75-£160 depending on location plus VAT

Stamp duty                       see link below

Land Registry fee              see scale and link below

Stamp duty or Land Tax (on purchase)

This depends on the purchase price of your property.  You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC’s website

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates

OR if the property is in wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website

 https://beta.gov.wales/welsh-revenue-authority

Land Registry

https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates

Purchase price               Reduced fee                   Full fee

£0 – £80,000                     £20                                   £40

£80,001 – £100,000          £40                                   £80

£100,001 – £200,000         £95                                   £190

£200,001 – £500,000         £135                                 £270

£500,001 – £1,000,000      £270                                 £540

£1,000,001 and over         £455                                 £910

The Land Registry reduced their registration fees BY 50% from 17th March 2014 for any applications that are able to be submitted online electronically.   If the property is registered title and we are able to deal with the registration electronically then the fee payable to the Land Registry will be the reduced fee shown above.

If you are buying a Leasehold property additional fees may be incurred. 

Certificate of compliance                                                      From £150

To be confirmed upon receipt of contract papers

Notice of Transfer/Charge fee                                              From £150

To be confirmed upon receipt of contract papers

Deed of Covenant fee                                                          From £150

To be confirmed upon receipt of contract papers

Certificate of compliance fee                                                From £150

To be confirmed upon receipt of contract papers

Details of these fees are provided by the Management Company or contained within the Lease and will vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above.  We will be able to give you a more accurate figure once we have sight of specific documents within the contract package.

You should also be aware that ground rent and service charges are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property.  We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as we receive this information.

Additional Legal fees for non standard, sale and purchase transactions:

Arranging Indemnity                                                  £   55.00

Complex chain surcharge                                          £   75.00

Dealing with third party solicitors                                £ 100.00

Expedited completion fee                                           £ 100.00

Leasehold fee                                                           £ 150.00

Redemption of mortgage fee                                      £   75.00

Restrictions                                                               £   75.00

Shared Ownership                                                     £ 200.00

Telegraphic transfer fee                                             £   36.00

Third party gift                                                           £   75.00

Unregistered title                                                       £  175.00

Key Undertaking                                                        £    50.00

Solar panel lease                                                      £  125.00

Acting for Lender fee                                                 £  150.00

Separate lender representation                                  £  150.00

Help to buy ISA deposit                                             £   50.00

Help to buy scheme                                                   £  175.00

How Long will it take:

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your new home will depend on a number of factors.   The average process takes between 8 – 12 weeks.  It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties and circumstances in the chain.    There can be significant delays if problems are encountered during the course of the transaction.

Stages of the process – Sale

  1. Seller’s Conveyancer instructed.
  2. Seller’s Conveyancer confirms instructions by letter setting out the terms of business and fixed fee costs.
  3. Seller’s Conveyancer carries out proof of identity checks and sends out a fittings and contents form and property information form(s) for completion. If the property is leasehold, additional information will be required.
  4. Seller to complete fittings and contents form and property information form(s).
  5. Seller’s Conveyancer obtains title deeds from deeds holder or if registered official copies of the title register and any other documents from the Land Registry and details of the amount outstanding on any existing mortgage.
  6. Seller’s Conveyancer prepares the draft contract and supporting contract documentation and sends to the buyer’s Conveyancer.
  7. Buyer’s Conveyancer checks the contract and supporting contract documentation and raises pre-contract enquiries with the seller’s Conveyancer.
  8. Seller’s Conveyancer and seller answer pre-contract enquiries.
  9. Buyer’s Conveyancer confirms they have acceptable results from their searches, are happy with the answers to pre-contract enquiries and are in receipt of a mortgage offer (if any).
  10. Seller and buyer agree on a completion date and contracts are formally “exchanged” - meaning both parties are legally committed to the transaction. Seller’s Conveyancer will obtain a settlement figure to repay the outstanding amount on any existing mortgage, if applicable. Buyer’s Conveyancer drafts a transfer deed and sends to the Seller’s Conveyancer.
  11. Seller’s Conveyancer checks the transfer deed and sends to the seller for signature in readiness for completion.
  12. On completion the seller must vacate the property at a time to be agreed and make arrangements to hand over the keys, usually through the estate agent. Buyer’s Conveyancer will send the proceeds of sale to the seller’s Conveyancer and the seller’s Conveyancer will arrange for the keys to be released to the buyer. The seller’s Conveyancer sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s Conveyancer together with an undertaking to use the proceeds of sale to discharge any existing mortgage. The seller’s Conveyancer then pays the estate agent (if one was used), repays the amount owing to the existing mortgage lender (if applicable) and takes payment for their Conveyancing service costs.
  13. Once all the payments have been made all the remaining money from the sale will be transferred to the seller, usually by bank transfer on the day of completion.

Stages of the process - Purchase

  1. Buyer makes an offer on the property, which is accepted by the seller.
  2. Buyer’s Conveyancer instructed on acceptance of the offer.
  3. Buyer arranges a survey on the property, and makes an application for a mortgage (if required).
  4. Buyer’s Conveyancer confirms instructions by letter setting out the terms of business and fixed fee costs.
  5. Buyer’s Conveyancer contacts the seller’s Conveyancer to obtain the contract pack.
  6. Buyers Conveyancer checks the contract pack, raises pre-contract enquiries, carries out the necessary searches and obtains a copy of the mortgage offer.
  7. Sellers’s Conveyancer and seller answer pre-contract enquiries and return these to buyer’s Conveyancer.
  8. Buyer’s Conveyancer reviews and reports to the buyer on the contents of the contract pack, pre-contract enquiries, the result of the searches and mortgage offer. The buyer then considers this report and raises questions on anything that is unclear.
  9. When the buyer is happy to proceed, arrangements are made for the deposit to be paid to the buyer’s Conveyancer in readiness for exchange of contracts.
  10. Seller and buyer agree on a completion date and contracts are formally “exchanged” - meaning both parties are legally committed to the transaction.
  11. Buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a draft transfer deed and completion information form and sends these to the seller’s Conveyancer for completion.
  12. Seller’s solicitor approves the draft transfer deed and a final copy is made. This may need to be signed by the buyer before being sent to the seller’s solicitor for signature by the seller in readiness for completion.
  13. Buyer’s Conveyancer prepares a completion statement, carries out pre-completion searches and applies to the buyer’s mortgage lender for the mortgage loan.
  14. On completion, the buyer vacates the property by the agreed time and buyer’s Conveyancer sends the proceeds of sale to the seller’s Conveyancer.
  15. Seller’s Conveyancer releases the keys to the estate agent (if one was used) and sends the title deeds and transfer deed to the buyer’s Conveyancer together with an undertaking to repay any existing mortgage.
  16. Buyer’s Conveyancer sends the stamp duty payable to HMRC, receives the title deeds, transfer deed and proof that the seller has paid the outstanding mortgage on the property.
  17. Buyer’s Conveyancer registers the property in the name of the buyer at The Land Registry.
  18. The buyer receives a copy of the registered title from The Land Registry. Any documents required by the mortgage lender to be retained by them are sent on by the Buyer’s solicitor.

OUR PROPERTY DEPARTMENT PEOPLE

JANE ALDERSON – SOLICITOR – Qualified as a Solicitors in 1998 but with previous experience as a Legal Executive has over 30 years experience in all aspects of the buying and selling of residential property

JUDITH BRATT- LEGAL ASSISTANT – In her support role Judith has many years experience in residential property


 

 

CONVEYANCING DEPARTMENT

Conveyancing is the process of buying or selling your property or land.   The term ‘conveyancing’ refers to all the legal and administrative work associated with transferring the ownership of land or buildings from one person to another.

There are many pieces to the conveyancing puzzle and we act as a co-ordinator of all these different pieces.  The conveyancing process begins with the acceptance of an offer and ends (for the client) when contracts have exchanged and money transferred to complete the transaction.  However for us as solicitors, the process only ends when we have dealt with all post-completion requirements which can range from putting in force indemnity policies to serving notice of transfer/certificates of compliance and ultimately registration at HM Land Registry in the case of a purchase or a transfer.

We can only move as fast as the slowest party in the chain.  We understand that the process can be seen as very frustrating, but rest assured – we are working busily in the background!

HOW LONG WILL THE TRANSACTION TAKE?

Most transactions will take approximately 10-12 weeks, but this timescale can be affected by different external circumstances which are beyond our control.  Therefore the time taken could be much less or indeed, much longer!

STEPS REQUIRED – PURCHASE TRANSACTION

  • client instructs lawyer, pays the amount requested on account for searches and confirms identity for Anti Money Laundering (AML) Regulations;
  • lawyer sends client information forms to complete and return;
  • lawyer obtains and checks contract pack from sellers’ lawyer, makes appropriate searches, raises enquiries on the title and sends contract to client to sign and return;

unless a cash buyer, mortgage offer and valuation report received by lawyer.  Lawyer then sends mortgage paperwork to client to sign and return;

  • lawyer checks replies to enquiries and search results, raises any appropriate additional enquiries, deals with any legal requirements arising from mortgage offer and survey;
  • lawyer will report to client and request deposit and a suggested date for completion;
  • pre-exchange checks and searches undertaken by lawyer;
  • contracts are exchanged and completion date fixed;
  • lawyer sends a certificate of title (COT) to the lender to confirm their legal requirements are satisfied and requests the mortgage advance for completion, together with any balance required from the client including legal fees;
  • mortgage money received from lender and client;
  • COMPLETION! – moving date when keys are released and client moves in; and
  • post-completion – payment of stamp duty, filing of land transaction return, service of notice of transfer if applicable and also registration at HM Land Registry.

A house purchase is not legally binding until contracts have been exchanged between buyer and seller.  A deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price, must be paid at exchange of contracts.  Upon exchange of contracts the buyer and seller are both legally committed to the transaction and the agreed terms of sale.  If you do decide to pull out of the agreement at this stage, you will automatically lose the deposit you paid upon exchange.

 

STEPS REQUIRED – SALE TRANSACTION

  • client instructs lawyer, pays the amount requested on account in order to request Land Registry documents and confirm identity;
  • lawyer issues property questionnaires for client to complete and obtains copy deeds.  If your property is leasehold, a payment to your management company will be required in order to obtain the LPE1 ‘Management Pack’ required by your buyer’s lawyer;
  • upon receipt of completed property questionnaires your lawyer will check all the title documents and relevant documents. A redemption statement will also be requested for information at this stage;
  • lawyer prepares the contract pack and submits to the buyer’s lawyer;
  • lawyer deals with any enquiries raised by the buyer’s lawyer, and liaise with client if needed;
  • when the client’s buyers are ready, they will contact your lawyer with a suggested completion date unless this has already been agreed. A completion statement will be sent to you setting out the balance due to or from the client;
  • contracts exchanged and completion date fixed;
  • lawyer requests repayment (redemption) figures on all mortgages, obtains estate agents account and other payments to be made from the proceeds of sale;
  • net proceeds of sale calculated;
  • COMPLETION! - moving date when keys are handed over; and
  • from the proceeds of sale lawyer will redeem all mortgages, pay the estate agent, and account to client for the balance – or carry it over to any related purchase.

WHAT DO WE DO?

Some of the transactions our Residential Conveyancing Department undertake are:

  • sales and purchases of property and land;
  • transfer of equity;
  • re-mortgage;
  • HTB and ISAs;
  • deed of trust;
  • assured shorthold tenancy;
  • new-build purchase;
  • buy-to-let and investment purchases;
  • equity release;
  • swearing of documents;
  • ID1 forms for Land Registry purposes;
  • private mortgage; and
  • lease extension/deed of variation.

 AN EXAMPLE OF OUR CONVEYANCING COSTS AND DISBURSEMENTS IN A SALE AND PURCHASE ARE BELOW

DISBURSEMENT/FEE

COST

WHEN REQUIRED

Swear Fee – Statutory Declaration

£7.00 per item plus exhibit

£2.00 per additional exhibit

Cash only

If giving a Statutory Declaration in support of indemnity policy

ID1 Form

£75 plus VAT

In a Transfer of property where we are not instructed and the party requires identifying for Land Registry purposes

Land Registry Office Copies

£3.00 per register

In a sale – when preparing the contract papers

Land Registry Office Copy Filed Plan

£3.00 per register

In a sale – when preparing the contract papers

Land Registry Office copy document

£3.00 per document

In a sale – when preparing the contract papers

BACS Payment

£20.00 plus VAT

Sending monies post completion

CHAPS Payment

£30 plus VAT

Sending monies post completion

OS1/OS2 Priority Search

£3.00 per search

Prior to exchange with HMLR to give a protection window

Recorded Delivery Fee – any document sent out by recorded delivery

The cost charged by Royal Mail plus VAT

Date of Postage

Bankruptcy Search

£2.00 per name

Prior to exchange on sale and purchase

SIM – Search of Index Map

£5.00

If property unregistered – to determine if any parts are registered

Land Charges Act Search

£2.00 per name being searched

If property unregistered – to determine if any entries are revealed

Land Registry Fee – registered property

£20.00-£910.00  Depending on value of property and whether application can be submitted via portal.

Date of submission of Land Registry Application

Land Registry Fee – unregistered property

£30.00 to £680 Depending on value of property

Date of submission of Land Registry Application

Stamp Duty Land Tax

The cost on scale according to the value of property, whether first time buyer, or additional property

Within 28 days of completion

AML Search

£8.00 per client – to verify identity in accordance with Anti Money Laundering Legislation

Before undertaking work

Search Pack which includes; Local Search, Drainage and Water Search, Environmental Search, Plansearch Plus, Chancel Indemnity Insurance.

£181.80

On a purchase when clear funds received at the outset

                                            

DISBURSEMENT

COST

WHEN REQUIRED

Lender Fee

£150 plus VAT

Our fee for acting on behalf of your lender which is payable by the client

Help to Buy Fee/LSAP/Target

£50 plus VAT

For liaising with Help to Buy/LSAP/Target and complying with their requirements to enable release of monies for completion

Help to Buy ISA Fee

£50 plus VAT

For liaising with Help to Buy ISA to enable documentary proof to be lodged and bonus released in time for completion

Leasehold Information Pack/LPE1

Price on application as varies with every Management Company

Pack required on a Leasehold Sale. Obtained from Management Company who charge the fee to supply LPE1 pack

Survey (Home Buyers Survey) – not to be confused with ‘Valuation Survey’

Price on application to Surveyor

Survey is highly recommended to purchasers as ‘Caveat Emptor’ applies which is ‘Let the Buyer Beware’.  This means that the buyer should carry out their own ‘due diligence’ and make all prudent searches/enquiries during the course of the transaction. It is not a legal requirement, but is very strongly recommended.   A Survey would highlight any minor or major flaws in the property ie. Structural, damp, condition, whether major repairs were needed, roof repairs etc.

Energy Performance Certificate

£70 - £100 (approx.)

This must be obtained on sales

 

Shared Ownership Fee

£85 plus VAT

Our fee for liaising with the Housing Association and complying with their requirements

Leasehold fee

£150 plus VAT

A charge for acting in a leasehold matter as paperwork is more extensive

Unregistered Fee

£150 plus VAT

Our fee for preparing Epitome of Title and associated documents which is required to prove the current legal owner’s entitlement to deal with the property

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

WORD/TERM

MEANING

Swear (to swear a document)

To give a declaration on oath for which a fee is payable.  Usually a Statutory Declaration as to use of access or land.  Also used for Executors Oaths

BACS

3 day bank payment

CHAPS

Immediate/same day bank payment

Priority Search

Search made at Land Registry to give a ‘window of protection’ within which to register your clients transaction.  Protects Lender/Client

Bankruptcy Search

Search made to enquire whether any bankruptcy entries against client or parties to transaction which would require further investigations

HMLR

HM Land Registry – where applications to register are sent, also priority searches

HMRC

HM Revenue and Customs – where stamp duty forms are submitted and duty paid on purchase

SDLT

Stamp Duty Land Tax – payable to HMRC within 28 days of purchase

LTT

Land Transaction Tax – Welsh stamp duty payable to WRA

WRA

Welsh Revenue Authority Tax

COT

Certificate of Title

LSAP

Long Service Advance Pay

HTB

Help To Buy

AML

Anti Money Laundering – as in AML Search carried out against clients to ensure their identity is verified

Searches

Search Pack carried out on a purchase to check planning/building regulations/footpaths/road adoption/smoke control zone/tree protection order/listed building/conservation area/rail schemes/drainage/environmental issues and more

Survey

HomeBuyers Survey or similar, detailed inspection of property condition which may be used as negotiation if major works found

Valuation Survey

Not to be confused with Home Buyer Survey! A Valuation Survey is carried out by the Lender which only determines whether the property will be sufficient security for the loan.  It does not check in any way the condition of the property. In fact in majority of cases it would either be a ‘desktop’ check or even a ‘drive-by’

Lender

The Mortgage Company who is advancing the monies towards paying for the property.  The Lender will require a First Legal Charge over the property

Epitome of Title

Bundle of Pre-Registration Deeds which prove the legal entitlement of the current owner to deal with the property

LEGAL CHARGES

Purchase

BAND

FEE (VAT applicable)

0-150,000

£700

151,000 to 250,000

£750

250,001 to 350,000

£800

350,001 to 500,000

£850

500,001 to 750,000

£900

750,001 to 1,000,000

£1,050

1.1m to 1.5m

£1,500

1,500,001 to 2,000,000

£2,250

2,000,001 to 3,000,000

£3,250

 

Sale

BAND

FEE (VAT applicable)

0-150,000

£650

151,000 to 250,000

£700

250,001 to 350,000

£750

350,001 to 500,000

£800

500,001 to 750,000

£900

750,001 to 1,000,000

£1,000

1.1m to 1.5m

£1,250

1,500,001 to 2,000,000

£1,850

2,000,001 to 3,000,000

£2,450

 

Remortgage

BAND

FEE (VAT applicable)

0-99,000

£400

99,001 to 249,000

£450

250,001 to 399,000

£495

400,000 to 549,000

£550

550,000 +

£600

 

Transfer of Equity

BAND

FEE (VAT applicable)

0-99,000

£450

99,001 to 249,000

£500

250,001 to 399,000

£550

400,000 to 549,000

£600

550,000 +

£750

 

CONVEYANCING DEPARTMENT - STAFF

There are two members of the Conveyancing Team who will work on your matter.  Regardless of whom works on your matter, they will be ultimately supervised by Christopher Waters, Solicitor and Director of Mortimers Solicitors Limited.

Sara Connor – Licensed Conveyancer

Sara joined Mortimers in October 2018, having previously spent 15 ½ years at another local firm.  She qualified in 2006 with The Council for Licensed Conveyancers.   Sara has had 18 ½ years of conveyancing experience and has encountered a wealth of conveyancing matters.   Prior to this she worked in a legal office as a Legal Secretary from 1991 to 1999 before deciding to train as a Licensed Conveyancer.

Sara is friendly and approachable and explains the legal process to clients in a way that can be easily understood.  Sara likes utilising technology and can get in touch with clients far and wide, including overseas investor clients by WhatsApp, Skype, Email or FaceTime.

Chrissy Austin – Conveyancing Administrator

Chrissy joined Mortimers in August 2018 having previously worked at another local firm.   Chrissy has over 30 years’ experience of working with law firms and will help progress your transaction as efficiently as possible.  Chrissy can be contacted by email or telephone between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.


 

Complaints Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint then you can read our full complaints procedure below. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristics.

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority by contacting them as below:

Solicitors Regulation Authority,
The Cube,
199 Wharfside Street,
Birmingham,
B1 1RN,
telephone 0370 606 2555.
www.sra.org.uk

Complaints form: http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we were unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and no more than six years from the date of the act or omission or no more than three years from you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, you can contact them at:-

Legal Ombudsman,
PO Box 6806,
Wolverhampton,
WV1 9WJ
Telephone 0300 555 033
www.legalombudsman.org.uk
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



MORTIMERS SOLICITORS LIMITED

COMPLAINTS HANDLING PROCEDURE

The firms’ complaints handling procedure complies with Outcomes required in the SRA Code of Conduct. Accordingly a copy of the full procedure will be sent on request or when a client complains. Clients are informed in the Client Care letter at the outset of the matter of what to do if they wish to complain.

1. Non formal complaint

• Clients are encouraged to discuss any feeling of dissatisfaction with the fee earner acting in their matter. In most cases, problems or misunderstandings can be resolved at this level.

• Staff should not be afraid to stand up to a bullying client or one who demands an unprofessional or improper service and can expect the support of the Directors in such situations.

2. Formal complaints

• If a fee earner is unable to resolve a non formal complaint to the client’s satisfaction it then becomes a “formal complaint” and therefore must be immediately referred to Christopher Waters.

• A formal complaint is defined as one that is made in writing (letter, fax or email) or otherwise referred to or involves someone other than the fee earner acting in the matter.

• Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the client will be sent a letter of acknowledgement and the full version of the firm’s complaint handling procedure which confirms how the complaint will be handled and the timeframes for receiving an initial and then a substantive response. Information is given to the client about the Legal Ombudsman and also the name of the ADR provider which we would be willing to use.

• Dates for actions will be diarised to ensure that the timetable for dealing with a complaint is satisfied.

3. Central register of complaints

• Christopher Waters maintains a central register of all Client Complaint Forms and relevant correspondence and attendance notes.

• A client may complain direct to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) without referring to the firm first. The LeO will immediately refer the complaint to Christopher Waters and will keep the appropriate records. The complaint is then dealt with as above with a report on the outcome sent to the LeO.

4. Complaints review

• Christopher Waters will review the complaint records annually and will discuss the outcome with Directors and fee earners. As a result of such reviews, changes may be made to prevent recurrence of problems or make improvements for the future. At this time the complaints policy and procedures will reviewed in light of possible improvements being made.

5. Making complaints

• A member of the firm may wish to make a complaint, either against another solicitor through LeO or through other procedures. The agreement of Christopher Waters is needed before doing so in order that the professional and commercial standing of the firm can first receive proper consideration.

• Any negligence claim or request for assistance from a client with a claim against another solicitor must be referred to Christopher Waters before proceeding as there may be a conflict of interest.

6. Requests for remuneration certificates

• Remuneration certificates are no longer available to clients disputing our bills. However, clients are informed in our terms and conditions of their right to challenge our bill under Part lll of the Solicitors Act 1974.