Welcome to the FMD Solicitors FAQ page, from herein you will find many frequently asked questions about the leagal services we offer, should there be a question you wish to ask, but can't find contactus and we will be happy to help answer it.
Can I just get a divorce if I want one?
No there are only certain grounds for a divorce and you have to have been married for one year.
The parent of the child is not letting me have contact and putting too many restrictions on it do I have to accept that?
No there should be reasonable contact between yourself and your child and the Court will always be looking at what is in the interest of the child. If no agreement can be reached, then you can apply to the Court for an Order.
I am not married, do I have any rights to the property I live in?
In some situations you will have gained a right to the equity to the property and it would depend upon whose name the property is registered in and as to what financial contribution you have made. In some circumstances you can then apply to the Court for Orders in respect of the sale of the property.
I do not want a divorce but we have agreed financial matters can this be placed into a Legal Document?
Yes even though you are not getting a divorce at this stage a Legal Separation Agreement can be drawn up to record all the Financial Agreements that have been reached.
How much will it cost?
A lot of the work I can do can be for a fixed fee and you will therefore know exactly what it will cost. See divorce and fixed fees. The non -fixed fee work is based on an hourly rate with letters sent and calls at a tenth of that. My hourly charge is £190. My rate is below the Government Court Service suggested rate for this area. However, if I take details from you for only 5 mins you only get charged of course for that ie £15.83. We have to add V.A.T to that. As I only charge for work actually done, it doesnít matter how long your matter goes on for. If, for example, in a month I have only received one letter you would only be charged £9.50.
You can for some of the work that I can offer also opt for our "Unbundled" services to reduce your costs. See "Unbundling Your Costs."
I have seen Solicitors that do all matrimonial work at a fixed fee - why don't you?
You will see that these firms will add "extras" and have "get out" clauses to their fixed fee. As soon as your case becomes complicated they will start to add extra charges. Also once you have agreed the fixed fee even if the work they carry out is less than expected you will still pay the fixed fee. I will only charge you for the work that I carry out. These firms are not allowing you the opportunity to try and settle the case without it going to Court as it doesn't fit into one of their fixed fee stages. I believe that it is often worth trying to settle your case by negotiations and discussions to try to avoid applying to Court as this will ultimately save you money. I will always give you accurate estimates of the costs so you can budget accordingly.
I have been quoted cheaper hourly rates when I have phoned other Solicitors, why is that?
Hourly rates are set according to the level and experience. You will need to check that the person you have spoken to is a Solicitor as lots of Firms use clerks, unqualified people or junior Solicitors and then of course charge less per hour. Also a Solicitor at other firms may only do some of your work and clerks the rest. I have been qualified since 1985 and will personally deal with your matter from the beginning to the end. I specialise only in the area in which you are seeking advice. At other firms you may find several people all dealing with your matter.
Why shouldnít I go for the cheapest Solicitor in the town, isnít it all the same work?
An inexperienced person or one that is not competent, whilst they may charge less per hour eg £160, may take longer to take your instructions, draft a document or send unnecessary letters and so will cost you more than myself in the end. I do not believe in sending letters just for the sake of it to increase your costs.
Can I come to discuss matters with you before I decide what to do?
Yes, please do. Please e.mail or phone me for a convenient appointment for you.
Back to Family and Matrimonial
Do I need a Will?
If you do not have a Will, you have no say over what happens to your assets when you die. This can cause difficulties for those you care about most. Therefore, everyone should have a Will. This is particularly important if you own property, are married or have entered a civil partnership, have a long-term partner, have children or other dependants, or if you wish to benefit someone who is not a close family member. Making a Will enables you to decide and specify how your assets will be dealt with after your death, giving peace of mind to you and those close to you. If you do not have a will the law will assume who you wish to benefit and by how much according to fixed rules. Those rules are intended to be fair, but more often than not would not reflect your wishes.
Do I need a Solicitor to prepare my Will?
You can write your own Will but it is a good idea to take professional advice. Your Will is important and professional advice will ensure that your Will complies with legal requirements, that your instructions are clear and will be followed after your death, and that you have taken advantage of any tax reliefs available to you. If there are errors or omissions in your will then the consequences are serious. The Will may not be valid at all, or it may be valid but lead to a different result than you intended, or if the irregularities can be put right this may involve substantial costs.
What is probate?
When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money property and possessions left) by collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing what is left to those people entitled to it. Probate is the courtís authority; given to a person or persons to validate their entitlement to administer a deceased personís estate. The document issued by the Probate Service is called a Grant of Probate (or, if there is no Will, a Grant of Representation). Unless the overall value of the property is very small (usually less than £15,000) you will have to show the Grant of Probate / Representation to banks, building societies, insurance companies and other financial institutions. This is so they can be sure you are the person entitled to deal with the deceased's assets and affairs.
How long will it take to get a Grant of Probate?
The process can take time, depending on the assets involved, but typically you should be able to apply for a Grant of Probate within three months of the date of death. The application will be processed by the District Probate Registry and typically you can expect the Probate Registry to issue the Grant within two to four weeks of the date of the application.
How much does getting Probate cost?
It is difficult to be precise because it depends on the content of the will, the type of assets comprised in the estate, the amount of time taken and correspondence generated, and whether there are any complicating factors. We will give you an estimate of the likely overall cost at the start of the process, and will tell you if the process becomes more complicated than was first anticipated. As a rough guide you will be advised to budget for typical costs at 1.5 % of the gross value of the estate (before inheritance tax has been paid) to obtain a Grant of Probate, plus a similar amount for the costs of dealing with and completing the administration.
Back to Wills and Probate