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Legal matters can seem very complex. We've collected the most common questions we are asked together on this page. If you have any more questions or would like to discuss a matter in more depth, please get in touch.


What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of land or property from one person to another, or in simple terms, buying and/or selling a house.

How much will it cost?

We will provide you with an accurate estimate once we have gone through the details with you and you can contact us immediately for a quote (click here). In the meantime here are a few factors which affect the costs:

Selling your house

Sale costs vary, depending on the price of the property that you're selling and the complexity involved. There are also differences between freehold and leasehold properties, but we'll provide you with a full list of costs at the outset and put this in writing to you, along with our terms and conditions.

Buying a house

We will explain all the costs in full, including disbursements. There are many disbursements to be taken into consideration including Stamp Duty, registration fees, searches and any additional costs involved in the process of the transaction.

Although the legal costs vary, we will make this clear from the very start so that there are no sudden surprises!

When do I have to pay?

Selling your house

With a sale, there are no disbursements to pay up front. while legal costs, agent's fees, mortgage redemption and any other ancillary costs are settled at the end of the matter, once the sale is completed.

Buying a house

On a purchase, we ask for the cost of the searches to be paid up front, and usually request £250-£300 depending on the complexity of the matter. The remaining costs are payable at the end, and these are requested by the solicitor in time before completion.

What are the stages in the conveyancing process?

1. Buying and selling a property

If you have bought or sold a property before you'll know that the process takes time and can be very frustrating. In order to get the job done as quickly as possible we will need to work with you.

We can prepare a wide range of letters and documents and will need information from you in the early stages. (See what do I need to do?)

You can contact us at any time for help and advice on mortgages and expenses and we will liaise with everyone involved such as estate agents and building societies. If we find any problems we will notify you immediately.

2. Exchanging contracts

You are not committed to buying or selling until contracts have been exchanged. Once you instruct us to proceed we will advise you when this can take place.

3. Completion

Completion takes place by a certain time, on a certain day, agreed on exchange of contracts. We arrange the money and documents to change hands and report to you afterwards.

How long will my conveyancing take?

How long conveyancing takes will depend on a number of factors such as how long the chain is, how long it will take to obtain a mortgage offer, how long the searches take and the activity of all parties involved, including the estate agents, buyers, sellers and their solicitors.

Typically, if there are no major problems, it takes six to eight weeks on most sale or purchase transactions, but it can take more or less time, depending on the circumstances. We will do our best to keep you informed of the timescales at every stage.

What do I need to do?

If you are selling a property we will also send you a questionnaire and the answers you give together with the information from the Land Registry etc. will be sent with the contract. Sending the information at this time will help limit further enquiries and save time in the long run.

We'll also need you to provide details of your mortgage provider and any old papers you hold so that contracts can be prepared as soon as a buyer is found. The more quickly we have this information, the more efficient we can make the conveyancing process.

If you are purchasing a property we will need details of the agreed terms. We will liaise with everyone involved, such as estate agents and building societies, so to ensure a smooth process you should give them our name and contact details.

How much will my house deposit be?

Typically a house deposit is 10% of the purchase price but this may vary depending on the terms set by the seller.

When do I pay the deposit?

We will advise you of exactly when you need to pay the deposit but it will be some time before contracts are exchanged.

What happens if the sale falls through?

We will explain the circumstances and lay out all your options. We will then advise all parties according to your instructions.

What is the exchange of contracts?

The seller's conveyancer will prepare a draft contract giving details of the legal title to the property, a list of the fixtures and fittings included in the sale and any special conditions.

This will be sent to the buyer's conveyancer for approval so that they can carry out the necessary checks and searches. Once the contract has been approved the buyer and seller will each sign a copy. The contracts are then exchanged between the two conveyancers.

Once exchanged, the contract becomes legally binding and neither party can withdraw. At this time a moving date (also known as completion date) will also be set.

After the exchange we will send you information about what you need to do before completion.

When will I know my moving date?

Once contracts have been signed and exchanged a moving date will be set. It is usually between 7 and 21 days from the time of exchange of contracts.

When can I book my removals?

You should wait to book any removal services until after contracts have been exchanged and a moving date has been set.

Do you have more questions?

Please contact us by email on or by telephone to one of our branches and we will be happy to arrange a free initial consultation to help answer your questions.

What is a will?

In its simplest form, a will is a legal tool that allows you to decide what will happen to your estate, (your money, property and assets) in the event of your death.

Why do I need a will?

Making a will not only helps provide for your family's future but allows you to specify exactly where you want your money and possessions to go.

If you have children under 18, a will can incorporate financial arrangements and deal with the appointment of guardians, trusts and so on.

Making a will may also allow you to minimise the tax payable on your death, which is often essential for those who own property.

How much does it cost to make a will?

The cost of making a will is slight in comparison to the benefits and savings you and your family can make and in many cases we can offer a fixed fee.

Does my will last forever?

Technically, yes; once your will is in place it's there for life. However, we strongly advise our clients to review it every few years to incorporate major changes in your circumstances, such as buying a new property, separating from you partner, entering a new marriage or civil partnership.

What do I need to do when a member of my family passes away?

This is a very difficult time and it may suddenly seem that there is a mountain of urgent tasks that need your attention.

The first thing you need to do it to register the death and notify the deceased's solicitor. The will may contain special directions regarding the funeral and burial or cremation.

At this stage, however, the undertaker is the person on whom you will probably rely most heavily, and he can, if you wish, organise nearly everything for you from the funeral itself right down to the smallest detail such as flowers. He is there to help and often it is easier to employ him to complete all the necessary tasks such as filling in the various forms relating to either cremation or burial, and putting notices in newspapers, if required.

You should contact us, as your solicitors, as soon as you wish to do so as the sooner you instruct us the sooner we can start the administration process.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a person to leave their assets in the care of one or more people. Those people then manage those assets for the benefit of the people or organisations that you support, i.e. your beneficiaries.

Are there different types of trust?

Essentially there are five types of modern trust, which are:

  • Discretionary Trust
  • Accumulation and Maintenance Trust
  • Life-interest Trust
  • Protected Trust
  • Bare Trust

You can find more information on each type of trust please see our resources section.

For all Trust matters, please contact Chris Payne at or Claire Davis at or at our West Town Lane office on 0117 971 6765.

What is probate?

If you are named as the executor of someone's will, you need a 'Grant of Probate' to give you authority to deal with their affairs.

What does lasting power of attorney mean?

A 'Lasting Power of Attorney' is a legal document that lets you appoint someone, often a relative or close friend, to make decisions on your behalf.

When would I need a lasting power of attorney?

If you are unable to look after your own affairs for any reason, through old age, an accident or illness, you need a lasting power of attorney so that your family can step in and manage your welfare. Without a lasting power of attorney, the state will be in charge of making these decisions.

Do you have more questions?

Please contact Wajid Darr on 0117 971 6765 or email and we will be happy to arrange an free initial consultation to help answer your questions.

A first time buyer visited the office to discuss with Wajid the process of making an offer on a property. He had left University and was in the first year of his first job.

Wajid advised him that he should check the costs involved and his finances first before referring him to an independent Financial Adviser for mortgage advice. The clients have an option of using their own advisers or we have a database of reliable contacts.

Wajid then explained the process to the client, as well as the intricacies of what should be expected at each stage.

The client consulted a Mortgage Adviser, who confirm that he could proceed and put an offer on the property, which he did so on returning to us. The offer was successful and we started the legal process. Wajid gathered all the necessary documents (such as identification), obtained draft contract package from the sellers Solicitors and forwarded copies on to the client, advising the client throughout the process.

We believe in a proactive approach with our clients and explain any legal documents in detail, which is often very useful for first time buyers.

Wajid then raised enquiries with the seller's solicitors and obtained searches on behalf of the client, as well as corresponding with the mortgage broker until the mortgage offer was received.

The client was updated on a regular basis throughout the transaction, and upon receipt of all enquiries, searches and mortgage offer, Wajid forwarded a Title Report and invited him to the office.

Wajid explained the mortgage offer in detail before the client confirmed that he would like to proceed, fully confident that he understood all the facts and details about the property he was about to purchase.

The client didn't realise how simple the process could be and was really grateful for the information we gave him, since he knew what would happen at every stage both before and after completion of the purchase.

How much does the initial interview cost?

Your initial interview costs £50 + VAT. Should you then instruct us to act on your behalf this amount will be taken into account when producing our final bill.

Do you accept work funded through Legal Aid?

We are currently not able to accept work funded through Legal Aid.

How do I go about getting a divorce?

To get a divorce you must have a valid marriage, recognised by UK law, have been married for at least one year and your marriage must have irretrievably broken down.

If both parties agree to the divorce you can go through the process of filing the appropriate papers with the court. Your solicitor will complete paperwork on your behalf.

What are grounds for divorce?

When applying for a divorce you will have to give the grounds that have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The five grounds for divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • 2 years' separation (both parties agree to divorce)
  • 5 years' separation
  • Desertion

The most common grounds for divorce is 'unreasonable behaviour'.

How long does a divorce take?

The length of time a divorce takes will depend on the speed with which both parties can agree the terms of the divorce. In a straight-forward case where neither party contests any of the terms it will typically take 4-6 months. Any disagreements or delays can add significantly to this timeframe.

How much will a divorce cost?

This depends on the complexity involved and whether the position is amicable or not. For an immediate response please contact Jean Fraser in our Knowle office on 0117 9777 403 or email

What is an annulment?

An annulment is a legal term for declaring a marriage null and void. The marriage is considered to be invalid, as if it had never taken place. You can apply to the court to have your marriage annulled by filing a 'nullity petition'.

What is mediation?

Mediation can help you and your partner come to an agreement to settle your issues and concerns such as financial and childcare arrangements without going to court.

You will meet with a mediator, an impartial person, who will listen to your concerns and give you legal information. If they believe that you need the advice of a solicitor they will let you know.

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract that you sign before you get married to agree what will happen to individual and joint assets, should the marriage break down.

Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?

Technically; no. Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK, but they can be used by the court in the event of a divorce. However, courts are now paying more and more attention to the terms of pre-nuptials agreements and are, in effect, binding, unless they are considered to be either invalid or unfair.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

When a married or civil partnered couple ends their relationship there is a formal process that they need to go through. Cohabiting couples, i.e. a couple that lives together, have no formal process which can make things more complicated and stressful.

A cohabitation agreement can help set down some guidelines for the things that are most important to you and your partner and cover things like financial arrangements, property and disputes.

What is a 'Common Law' marriage?

There is no such thing! There has been talk of it in Government, but as it stands co-habitees don't have any particular rights.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

A cohabitation agreement varies in complexity depending on a number of factors, such as the relationship between the parties. This is something that can be established from the outset in your discussions with your solicitor.

Do you have more questions?

Please contact Jean Fraser on 0117 9777 403, or by emailing and we will be happy to arrange an initial consultation to help answer your questions.

What does 'litigation' mean?

Litigation is a legal method for resolving a dispute between parties.

How much does litigation cost?

This depends on the complexity involved and whether the position is amicable or not. For an immediate response please contact Steve Porter ( or Jean Fraser ( on 0117 977 7403.

Can I recover the costs of litigation?

This will depend on the nature of the claim, but in some cases costs can be recovered.

Do I have to go to court?

In most cases every effort is made to settle a legal dispute before it has to go to court.

How long does dispute resolution take?

This depends on the complexity involved and whether the position is amicable or not. For an immediate response please contact Steve Porter ( or Jean Fraser ( on 0117 977 7403.

What is mediation?

In mediation parties that have a legal dispute will try to resolve their issues and agree a solution without going to court. An independent and impartial mediator will listen to the facts of the dispute and try to aid a resolution.

Do you have more questions?

Please contact Steve Porter ( or Jean Fraser ( on 0117 977 7403 and we will be happy to arrange an initial consultation to help answer your questions.

An elderly client lost his wife after her battle with cancer. He came to see us feeling utterly distraught, and told us that he'd been married to his childhood sweetheart for over thirty years. They had children and she had left a will.

We began by explaining the process of dealing with the initial issues that would arise, such as funeral costs and the Probate process.

Wajid, one of our most experienced solicitors, assisted by giving him details of contacts in the area that might be able to help, such as funeral directors, and requested the original will and death certificate to be forwarded to the firm. Wajid suggested that the matter be undertaken after the funeral and the client agreed.

When the client returned Wajid explained the process of applying for a Grant of Probate in great detail. The circumstances were such that there were various assets and liabilities to be administered and Wajid undertook this on the client's behalf.

Firstly, a list of the assets and liabilities were made and the solicitor dealt with the payment of the funeral costs. This took a huge amount of pressure off the client, who was finding it difficult to cope with so many things happening in such a short period of time.

Wajid was able to explain exactly what was required and keep him informed on a regular basis. He was given regular updates and kept informed about the costs.

Once the Grant of Probate was obtained and the estate administered, the client explained that he would not have known what to do without our help. He was very grateful to have found someone that would not only act professionally and guide him through the process, but also understand the personal and practical issues that arise from the death of a loved one.

Buying or selling your home is likely to be the largest financial transaction you'll ever make, so you need to work with a highly experienced, quality solicitor that you can trust.

Our comprehensive and thorough service is designed to provide guidance throughout the process with minimal disruption and excellent value for money.

Free initial quote

You can speak to us about what is involved totally free of charge and with no obligation. Please contact us today to discuss your needs.

We also offer fixed fee work in the majority of straight forward conveyancing transactions. Please contact us for an estimate.

Our property department can assist with a full range of property services including:

  • Right to buy
  • Commercial property
  • Transfer of equity
  • Remortgage

For more information or to speak to one of the team, please contact us or see our Conveyancing FAQ.

When it comes to family matters we understand that you need a discrete and sensitive approach. Our friendly, professional team is on hand to help answer all your questions.

Taking the first steps

You can visit us for an initial interview, giving you the opportunity to find out where you stand and what will happen if you choose to take any action.

Our highly experienced team will give you practical, jargon-free advice to help you to resolve issues quickly and fairly.

We regularly advise on a range of family issues, including:

  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Child law (such as contact and residence disputes)
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Financial issues (such as pension sharing orders)

For more information please contact Jean Fraser on 0117 977 7403 or see our Family Law FAQ below.

If you have a legal dispute we can give you practical, no-nonsense advice on how to proceed and whether litigation is necessary.

We specialise in:

  • Contract disputes
  • Negligence claims
  • Debt collection
  • Common law disputes (such as loans, relationships, business, etc.)

Our specialist solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area and can deal with both county and high court litigation.

Working with our network of specialist barristers and experts you can be sure that you're in safe hands.

For more information please contact Steve Porter ( or Jean Fraser ( (link to profiles) on 0117 977 7403 or see our Legal Disputes FAQ.

We all want to plan for the future. Whether you want to make a will, help an elderly relative or manage a deceased family member's estate, we can help.

We understand how difficult it can be to make these arrangements, and our friendly, professional solicitors will explain each stage of the process without the jargon.

On most occasions we can provide you with a free initial consultation on how we can help. This will depend on the circumstances, and if you would like us to advise on a situation for which you can provide information and evidence, there will be a charge.

We can help with a wide range of issues, including:

  • Trusts
  • Estate administration
  • Probate
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney

For more information please contact Wajid Darr on 0117 971 6765 or email In the meantime, see our Wills, Probate & LastingPowers of Attorney FAQ below.

Professional service, personal touch

0117 9716765

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