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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you notarise/certify documents on my behalf?2019-11-19T12:40:01+00:00

In Scotland, a Notary Public can notarise/certify a document as a true copy of the original by placing their seal of office against the document.

At Bell + Craig, all of our solicitors have been appointed to the office as a Notary Public and would be happy to notarise a document on your behalf.

What are the Scottish Standard Clauses?2019-11-19T12:40:31+00:00

The Scottish Standard Clauses are incorporated into the missives of most purchases and sales in Scotland.

At Bell + Craig, if you are a purchasing or selling a property, you will be sent a copy of the Scottish Standard Clauses for your information. However, if you wish to download a copy of the Client Guide to the Scottish Standard Clauses, please click on the link below.


What is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)?2019-11-19T12:40:39+00:00

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (otherwise known as LBTT) is a tax applied to residential and commercial land and buildings transaction across Scotland. While there are some significant differences, you may note that LBTT is very similar in principle to its predecessor: Stamp Duty.

LBTT remains, however, a complicated area of conveyancing and our team would be delighted to help guide you through the process.

There are also a number of helpful guidance documents and case studies available from Revenue Scotland which can be accessed on their website at the link below.


Do I need to pay Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS)?2019-11-19T12:40:49+00:00

On 1st April 2016, Revenue Scotland introduced an additional amount of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) known as the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS). Generally, ADS is due on the purchase of additional dwellings (houses) in Scotland such as buy-to-let properties and second homes, although its extent can be far-reaching. From 25th January 2019, ADS is charged on 4% on the whole ‘relevant consideration’ (usually the purchase price).

If you believe that ADS may apply to you or wish to discuss ADS or your personal circumstances in more detail, please contact a member of our team.

There are also a number of helpful guidance documents and case studies available from Revenue Scotland which can be accessed on their website at the link below.


What are missives?2019-11-19T12:41:24+00:00

Missives are constituted by a series of contractual letters that are exchanged between the solicitors representing the purchaser and seller in the process of a property transaction. They normally comprise of an offer, qualified acceptance and several additional formal letters. These letters will usually contain reference to the Scottish Standard Clauses and will detail several clauses in order to afford protection to both the purchaser and the seller. Throughout the process of the missive letters, clauses that were contained in the Offer stage may be deleted, amended and/or additional clauses may be inserted.

Although a common misconception, there is usually no requirement for you to sign the missives. Rather, upon your instructions, we will draft and sign the missive letters on your behalf.

How long does it take to conclude missives?2019-11-19T12:41:32+00:00

The concept of ‘concluded missives’ is something that is introduced quite quickly in the process of buying and selling a property in Scotland. The importance of concluded missives should not be understated, however, it is not a cause for concern if missives are not concluded straight away.

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule that specifies how long missives will take to conclude as this will depend entirely on the circumstances of your particular transaction. On average, we are finding that missives are concluding much later than previous and usually takes at least 6 weeks to conclude – although this can vary significantly from one transaction to the next.

What happens once I receive my mortgage offer?2019-11-19T12:41:42+00:00

Congratulations, your lender has accepted your application and issued you with a mortgage offer … now what? Well, it is important to note that, in most cases, the mortgage offer will be sent to you and a copy will also be sent to your solicitor.

Once you have received your copy it is important that you review the terms of the offer very carefully ensuring that all the details are correct and detail exactly what you have agreed with your lender/broker. If any of the information contained in your mortgage offer is incorrect or differ from those agreed by you, please contact your lender or mortgage broker immediately to arrange an amendment.

If, however, everything is correct and you have accepted your mortgage offer, we can now progress onto the next stage of the conveyancing process. More often than not, this will involve concluding missives and finalising a date of entry. At this stage, we will endeavour to contact you to take your instructions and will make an appointment for you to come in to the office to sign your mortgage paperwork. We can then request release of your mortgage funds which will be sent directly to us on the day of settlement/completion.

When can I collect my keys?2019-11-19T12:41:49+00:00

Now that the date of entry has arrived, the nerves and excitement will be building. We recognise that this can be a very stressful time for any buyer or seller. It is always our objective to make the process of buying and selling as efficient and stress-free as possible and this includes the date of settlement.

At settlement, there are unfortunately no exact timescales or deadlines as to what time keys will be released. On the date of settlement, depending on the nature of the transaction (buying or selling) we will ensure that we have all the settlement items that we require in order to settle. Just as soon as everything is in order and settlement has been agreed, a request will be made for ‘keys to be released’. It is at this time that a member of our team will contact you to confirm that settlement has taken place and you can collect your keys.

Do I need to amend my Will if any addresses change?2019-11-19T12:42:06+00:00

Legally, your existing Will shall not become invalid as a result of an address becoming outdated. The reason an address is included for the testator and each beneficiary is to ensure that that person is properly ‘designed’. That is to say that each person can be properly and legally identified as the person intended to inherit in terms of that Will. This must be sufficient to distinguish them from any other person of the same name or residing at the same address.

If, however, you wish to amend any clause, legacy or beneficiary or your Will or you consider that you Will no longer reflects your current wishes, you must update your Will. If you wish to draw up a new Will or amend an existing Will, a member of our team would love to hear from you.

When and how often should I update my Will?2019-11-19T12:42:14+00:00

It is important that you regularly review your Will and ensure that the clauses and beneficiaries detailed therein accurately reflect your current wishes. If your circumstances have changed and your Will has not been amended to reflect these changes before you pass, it can lead to undue stress and worry for your loved ones after you have passed.

In light of this, we recommend that you review your Will every 5 years – even where you have undergone no significant life changes – simply to ensure that it still reflects your testamentary wishes. It is also prudent to seek expert advice on your Will at these intervals to ensure that there have been no significant changes in succession or inheritance tax law which could necessitate a change to your Will.

In addition, certain life events should encourage you to review the terms of your Will. In our opinion, these life events would include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce or Separation
  • Children or Grandchildren
  • Beneficiary passes away
  • Executor passes away or becomes incapax

Whether you are looking to create your first Will or want to make an alteration to an existing Will, a member of our team would be delighted to help.

What happens if I don’t have a Will?2019-11-19T12:42:24+00:00

If you die without making a Will, you will be deemed to have passed away “intestate”. When this happens, the laws of intestacy of Scotland will determine who benefits from your Estate and in what proportions they will be entitled. This will include any property, company, bank accounts, shares and all other assets owned at the time of your death.

For the reasons listed, we recommend that every person should have a Will, however simple your wishes may be. Whether you are looking to create your first Will or want to make an alteration to an existing Will, a member of our team would be delighted to help.

How do I implement a Power of Attorney in my favour?2019-11-19T12:28:27+00:00

You have been appointed as an Attorney in terms of a Power of Attorney but now what happens? In order for a Power of Attorney to become enforceable, it will require to be lodged and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian Scotland (OPG). Once the Power of Attorney has been successfully registered, the OPG will issue a Certificate of Registration confirming that a Power of Attorney has been granted in your favour. It is important that this Certificate is kept safe as the Power of Attorney will only become enforceable by presenting this certificate to each institution.

When preparing a Power of Attorney, the Adult (person granting the Power of Attorney) must determine how they wish their incapacity to be determined. The details of this decision should then be narrated in the Power of Attorney document itself. This may be an informal decision making process between the Attorneys, a signed certificate with the opinion of two doctors or one of endless other possibilities unique to the adult. Therefore, in determining how a Power of Attorney can be implement, the starting place must always be the Power of Attorney document.

Will my Power of Attorney expire?2019-11-19T12:42:35+00:00

The straightforward answer is no. Unless a Power of Attorney specifically states a date of expiration, or the Adult has revoked the Power of Attorney in writing, the Power of Attorney will remain in full force and effect until the death of the Adult.

As at the death of the Adult, the Power of Attorney will automatically expire.

I have been appointed as an Executor, what are the next steps?2019-11-19T12:42:53+00:00

If you have been appointed as an Executor of an Estate, it is important to understand what your duties are and how an Estate should be administered in terms of Scottish law. An Executor will act as the legal representative of the deceased and must administer their Estate in terms of their Will, pay off any debts or taxes that the deceased may be liable for on death and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

While it is possible for an Executor to handle the Estate of a deceased without any legal help, they may decide to instruct a solicitor to assist them. At Bell + Craig, we appreciate that the death of a loved one is a time for grieving and we aim to make the process of managing a deceased’s estate as stress-free as possible in an already difficult time.

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