Legal Lifeline – when do you need a solicitor?
From buying your first home to writing a will, there will be times in your life when you will need the help of a solicitor for legal advice and guidance.
We have created a Legal Lifeline to help you understand when you may need the assistance of a legal professional throughout your life and the essential role they play in protecting your best interests.
Buying your first home
The first time most of us will come into contact with a solicitor is when we buy our very first home. When you buy a property, you need to go through a process called conveyancing to legally transfer the title of ownership from one person to another. There are many legal documents, processes and potential problems along the house buying road, so it’s highly advised to employ an experienced property solicitor to act on your behalf to ensure you’re protected.
Your solicitor will be able to explain exactly what you need to do at every stage of the process and conduct various searches and checks on the property on your behalf to make sure there are no hidden surprises, such as flooding risks and planning constraints. Your solicitor will also investigate and resolve any property related legal disputes before you exchange contracts, help you complete the process by arranging any necessary fees and payments to HMRC and register you as the owner, and your mortgage provider as the lender, at the Land Registry.
It’s common knowledge that negotiating the world of planning permission is complex, time consuming and often, expensive. Engaging the help of a trained solicitor will help make the process easier and, thanks to their specialist knowledge, you can be sure to get it right the first time around. Your solicitor will be able to help you in all manner of planning issues such as applying for planning permission, rejection and appeal, representation before committees, judicial review and high court challenges, and considerations for conservation and listed buildings.
Other property services offered by solicitors:
Starting a family
Getting married and Civil Partnerships
For peace of mind about what happens to your own assets and the assets obtained during a relationship, you and your partner can agree to a nuptial or civil partnership agreement, this can be made before or after the ceremony. This is a legal document stating what happens the possessions, money, property and inheritances of both parties should the relationship break down. Your solicitor will explain how these agreements work and guide you through the process to ensure everything you need to be covered is included.
From disputes about money to arrangements for children, when you have conflicts in the family that cannot be resolved at home, mediation can help provide an answer that is agreeable to both parties. Mediation is a session led by an impartial mediator who will not advise but provide valuable information regarding any relevant laws to help the parties involved make informed decisions and come to a satisfactory conclusion. Your solicitor will assist you in the preparation of paperwork, ensure your proposals are realistic in terms of the law, can offer co-mediation with a family consultant and can also arrange for a neutral financial advisor to give guidance.
Getting a divorce
Getting divorced can be a very emotional, stressful and challenging time so it’s important to instruct an experienced solicitor to help you understand the many different legal processes involved. Whether you are the petitioner, the person applying for the divorce, or the respondent, a solicitor will provide advice about settling disputes, the division of any marital assets, including any property, the future arrangement of children and, if necessary, will present your case in court.
Unmarried couples who own property together but want to separate can also call upon the services of a solicitor. Your solicitor will help you resolve any property or land ownership disputes under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, including force of sale, reoccupation and determining the share you each own. Your solicitors can also advise you on your rights regarding any children, as unmarried couples don’t have the same rights as their married counterparts.
Other services offered by family solicitors
Setting up a Business
When setting up a business, there are many different legal channels to negotiate, from choosing the right business structure and registering it at Companies House to arranging premises and trading licenses. While you can do many of these aspects yourself, it’s always recommended to seek the assistance of a trained solicitor, preferably one with experience in the sector you wish to trade in, to ensure you and your new company are fully legal and compliant with regulations.
As an employer, you of course want to keep your staff happy but sometimes you will need extra help dealing with difficult situations. A professional solicitor will give you legal guidance regarding employment law and advise on such issues as disciplinary and grievances, mergers and acquisitions, commercial outsourcing, employment tribunal claims and contracts of employment. This will allow you to protect not only yourself and your business, but also your employees as you will be able to make informed decisions and follow correct legal procedures.
A solicitor can help you with all aspects of your business including:
- Banking and finance advice including tax implications and savings
- Providing legally binding contracts for suppliers, customers and staff
- Advise on your legal responsibilities and relevant insurance policies
- Data protection
- Dispute resolution
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Applying for relevant trade licenses
- Fair trade and advertisement laws
- Restructuring and insolvency
When you’re in trouble
Motoring offences are one of the most common legal occurrences and are mostly minor misdemeanours, such as going a little over the speed limit, and are often punished with a fine, points on your license or with a speed awareness course. However, other motoring offences such as drink driving or dangerous driving, are a lot more serious and therefore have much higher penalties. If you have been accused of committing a motoring offence, seek the advice of an experienced solicitor straight away, especially if it is a serious offence. This is because once the case develops, options that may have been previously available, such as a driver’s awareness course, will no longer be applicable and you could face more severe consequences.
If you find yourself the subject of a criminal investigation or are being prosecuted for an offence, you will need to seek the advice of a lawyer as soon as you can. Often, those who find themselves investigated or charged with a criminal offence have not had experience with court proceedings before and so can find the process incredibly stressful and overwhelming. A professional and experienced criminal defence lawyer will ensure you receive the right protection and advice, from your first police interview all the way through to a hearing in court.
Hopefully you will never suffer from clinical negligence but if you are unfortunate enough to experience it, you have rights to make a claim. Simply put, medical negligence is when a health professional provides care that is below the expected standard and because of this, you suffer from what could have been an avoidable injury. Common forms of medical negligence include surgical negligence, pregnancy and birth injuries, misdiagnosis or late diagnosis, contraction of hospital virus e.g. MRSA, prescription and medication errors, care home abuse/malpractice and cosmetic surgery injuries.
For your case to be successful, you need to provide evidence that you received negligent treatment which caused you harm or made an existing condition worse and you need to make the claim within three years, though there are exceptions to this rule. The amount of compensation you can claim depends on the extent of your injury, any expenses you occurred as a result, and your future care needs.
Most medical negligence claims don’t need to go to court but in complex cases it is unavoidable. If you believe you or a loved one has reason to make a medical negligence claim, contact an experienced solicitor right away to get expert advice on the proceedings.
Other services provided by your solicitors
- Court of protection and mental capacity
- Personal injury including accidents at work
- Regulatory crime
- Asbestos claims
Planning for the future
Making a will
A will and testament is a legally binding document that expresses your wishes for what happens to your estate, all the things you own, including property, vehicles, possessions, savings and investments, after you die. Making a will is important, especially if you have children, because if you pass away without one, then your assets may be given out against your wishes.
No two wills are the same as they depend on your individual wishes and circumstances. Your solicitor will be able to guide you in making sure you include everything you want to. In your will you can give gifts or money of various value to just one person or multiple people, make a donation to a charity, outline arrangements for dependants, appoint executors and outline your wishes for your funeral arrangements.
Estate Administration and Probate
On the other side of making a will is estate administration and probate, the process of sorting out an individuals’ estate once they have passed away. This can be incredibly complicated, especially if the deceased person’s estate is large or complex, but a trained solicitor will help you through the process, from registering for probate and helping with paperwork to advising on inheritance tax and guiding executors with their duties.
If you find you have a problem with the contents or distribution of a loved one’s will, then you’ll need a solicitor to advise you on the process of contentious probate. Contentious probate refers to any dispute relating to the administration of a will which typically involves issues regarding the value of the estate, the interpretation of the will, difficulties with the executor or disagreements between beneficiaries. Resolutions can be found through mediation which is often a more preferable path to court as it provides a quicker solution. However, if your case does need to go to court, your solicitor will be able to represent you.
Other services your solicitor will be able to provide to help you plan for the futures of your loved ones:
At Trethowans, our team of fully trained solicitors are here to provide you with expert guidance and legal advice in all matters throughout your entire lifetime, so you can be sure of expert yet friendly assistance when you need it most. Contact Trethowans law firm today on 0800 2800 421 to discuss your requirements.