MORE LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED BY THOMPSONS SOLICITORS’ WHOLLY-OWNED SUBSIDIARY BBH LEGAL LTD

Union membership guarantees a package of comprehensive legal services for both members, and their families. In this section you will find information about the range of additional services on offer to union members, all expertly delivered by dedicated teams at BBH Legal Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Thompsons Solicitors.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT OTHER UNION LEGAL SERVICES


CONVEYANCING

1. What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal and administrative process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. This is what happens when people buy and sell their homes.

2. Who would need a conveyancer?

Buying or selling property is a complex transaction that you need to get legally right to avoid complications in the future.

3. Do I need an expert to carry out my conveyancing?

No. However, a solicitor or conveyancer carries out crucial checks on the property you’re about to purchase or a property you have sold. While many solicitors are trained in conveyancing, we recommend enlisting the professional support of a legal firm that specialises in conveyancing.

Thompsons Solicitors has a wholly-owned subsidiary, BBH Legal Services Ltd, who provide discounted conveyancing services. You can call BBH Legal Services on 0800 051 4218 for more information.

4. How much does conveyancing cost?

You will see a whole variety of conveyancing fees being offered - anywhere from £500 to £2,500 – and you need to be careful that the fee you see is what you actually pay. Some fees offered are too low to be true, but factors that will influence the fee include how much your property is valued at, and whether you’re a first-time buyer, or selling a house to buy a second.

Trade union members benefit from competitive rates on conveyancing services through BBH Legal Services.

5. How long does the conveyancing process take?

Unfortunately there is no straight answer to the question of how long the conveyancing process takes, as every house sale is unique. Generally, the more complex your house sale, the longer the legal and administrative process is likely to take. Influencing factors include your availability to answer queries, whether the property you are buying or selling has any structural defects, whether there is a chain of buyers or sellers and how many people are involved in that claim.

6. What does ‘exchange of contracts’ mean?

There will be an exchange of contracts between you and the person you’re buying the house from, as well as you and the person you’re selling your house to, if relevant. It’s the moment the house sale or purchase becomes legally binding and the process can take from one day to four weeks to complete from that point.

All solicitors involved in the sale usually exchange calls to check their contracts are identical and your deposit is then sent to your seller’s solicitor. If you are selling a house, your buyer’s deposit is sent to your solicitor. From here on, it’s unusual for a sale to fall through as the financial penalties for doing so are considerable.

7. A family member needs conveyancing support. Can they benefit from my union membership? Often, yes.

Thompsons Solicitors works with a number of UK trade unions and many of the personal injury services we offer and the general services offered via BBH Legal Ltd are extended to members’ relatives, including discounts on services for conveyancing.

Check the details of your membership with your union, or contact the specialists at BBH Legal for more advice on 0800 051 4218.

WILLS & PROBATE

8. What is a will?

Wills are legal documents that set out who you’d like to leave your money, property and other belongings to when you die, in addition to information about your wishes for any children you may have and even plans for your funeral.

9. Why is a will important?

If you don’t have a will, when you die your belongings are split according to the law and you have no say in who gets what. This is called intestacy.

10. How much does it cost to write a will?

The cost of writing a will depends on how you do it and how complicated your affairs are. While you can write your own will, if you have a business, property overseas, or loved ones who will need specific arrangements after you’ve gone, then it is advisable to pay for a solicitor’s expert advice. Unclear or incorrectly written wills can be overruled or ruled invalid, and correcting mistakes can be time-consuming and expensive.

Thompsons Solicitors offers members of its partner trade unions a will writing service through its subsidiary law firm, BBH Legal. If your union does not provide a free will writing service, we offer single wills from £150 and joint wills from £240, both inclusive of VAT. Contact them on 0800 051 4218 for more information.

11. What information do wills include?

A will should include your wishes about how you want your assets and property to be split when you die. You can include information about who you want to inherit your estate, which means everything you own, when you die. If you have children, you should include information about who you would like to care for them. You can also specify any charities that you’d like to give to, and who you would like to carry out the instructions in your will.

12. Can I change my will?

Yes. You can make changes to your will whenever you like, though you may have to pay a fee, so we recommend consulting our experts for more information.

13. What are executors?

Executors are the people you choose to carry out the wishes outlined in your will. Often, married couples nominate each other as executors, sometimes also including any adult children. Your executor can still benefit from your will. You can also nominate a professional solicitor like the specialists at BBH Legal, to help.

14. What does intestacy mean?

Intestacy means dying without having a will.

15. What is probate?

Probate is the name given to the legal process of dealing with someone’s estate when they die. Family members or friends are often named as executors of the will but it is not unusual for them to seek the support of a probate solicitor to help them, as the process can be time consuming and complicated.

16. Can I get help with the probate process via my union membership?

Yes. If you have been named the executor of someone’s will and need support navigating the probate process, BBH’s legal experts can help. They will be able to let you know what legal support your membership entitles you, too. BBH Legal’s team of professional wills and probate solicitors have been providing wills and probate support to members of numerous UK trade unions for many years. They can talk you through how they can help.


POWER OF ATTORNEY

17. What does power of attorney mean?

If you are living in England and Wales, a lasting power of attorney is a legal document that enables you to appoint someone to make decisions for you in case you should become unable to do so. There are two types of power of attorney – one deals with your finances and property, and the other with decisions about your health and welfare.

18. As a trade union member, am I entitled to discounts on power of attorney services?

The cost of setting up power of attorney depends on whether you use a solicitor to help ensure it is an acceptable legal document. As establishing a lasting power of attorney is a big decision, we would highly recommend seeking to set up professional advice and support. For more information, contact them on 0800 051 4218.

19. Why is power of attorney required?

If you lose the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself, and have not put a legally-binding lasting power of attorney in place, then the Court of Protection has the right to make those decisions on your behalf, and charge you for it. A relative or friend can apply for deputyship if you don’t have a power of attorney in this situation, but the court does not have to agree. The application can cost thousands of pounds.

20. When does power of attorney become effective?

The power of attorney comes into effect when you are no longer able to make your own decisions. It may also come into effect if a doctor deems you are unable to independently make decisions.


DEPUTYSHIP

21. I’m applying for deputyship, can my trade union help?

Yes. BBH Legal Services offers special discounted rates for trade union members who are applying to the Court of Protection for deputyship. Their professionals provide expert advice and support through what can be a complex and challenging process, so you have more time to spend caring for that person. To find out more, contact them on 0800 051 4218.

22. Can you help the relatives of trade union members who have had serious brain trauma apply for deputyship?

Yes. Thompsons Solicitors is proud of its work supporting trade union members and their families through some extremely challenging times. We provide thorough support and guidance for members who have lost their mental capacity through injury, and their families, by providing immediate help with finance, property, health and welfare. This includes help applying for deputyship, where appropriate. Speak to us to find out more.

23. Can I cancel my power of attorney if I change my mind?

Yes, you can revoke power of attorney at any time. You’ll need to give handwritten notice to the person you gave power of attorney to, also known as ‘the agent’.