Remortgaging With a New Lender

Remortgaging with a new lender will require the services of a conveyancing solicitor to assist with the legal issues and paperwork involved in paying off an individual’s existing mortgage loan and arranging a new one. Legal assistance is important to ensure a person gets the right deal, whether the purpose of the remortgage is to reduce their monthly payments, release equity, borrow more money or adjust their finances in another way. A solicitor can help evaluate whether a new mortgage deal meets an individual’s medium and long-term financial expectations, as well as minimise the potentially high costs that the process can entail.

The first step that a conveyancing solicitor will take will be to confirm an individual’s identity and undertake the necessary anti-money laundering checks. Title deeds to the property in question will need to be checked and lease terms examined, and the details of a person’s current mortgage will be obtained from their existing lender along with a redemption statement, which will confirm the exact amount required to fully repay the mortgage, as well as the existence of any extra charges and fees due for early repayment. Searches requested by the new lender (e.g. local land charge and local authority searches) will also need to be carried out and any related enquiries answered. Once a formal mortgage offer is made by the new lender a conveyancing solicitor will assess the terms, highlight any issues that need to be raised and prepare the necessary documents for signing.

After the mortgage documents have been signed a conveyancing solicitor will then be able to arrange a completion date with the new lender. On the day of completion the new lender will transfer the mortgage funds to the conveyancing solicitor, who will then pay off their client’s existing mortgage, settle any outstanding fees and remit the remaining funds to the client. The new mortgage will need to be registered with the Land Registry and the legal title to the property will subsequently be updated to reflect this. The remortgaging process will take 4-8 weeks in normal circumstances.

Bartletts Solicitors offers a transparent fixed fee remortgaging service. For remortgage transactions up to £200,000 our fees for freehold properties are £300.00 plus VAT and disbursements:

Power of Attorney Process Shakeup

The Government is looking at proposals to digitalise the Lasting Power of Attorney process in what would be the biggest shakeup of the system for over 30 years. Demand for digital services has increased dramatically in recent times, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the current paperwork-heavy system is viewed by many as outdated, with people having to wait at least 12 weeks (and sometimes months longer) to register an LPA.

The new proposals to modernise the process could make setting up Power of Attorney easier, quicker and more affordable, although there are concerns about the risks a digitalised system may pose to older and vulnerable people. Many either do not own a smartphone or computer, or else are unfamiliar with making digital applications over the internet, making mistakes in applications highly likely. These ‘donors’ may also become targets for fraud or abuse of the powers that an LPA confers on the ‘attorneys’ who are appointed to handle their financial affairs. Robust safeguards will therefore need to be in place to protect the elderly and vulnerable, including advanced donor identity checks to protect against identity theft.

One of the proposals which the Government will examine is setting up a dedicated fast-track service for those who need an LPA urgently, often because a relative’s health has suddenly worsened, leaving them incapable of making important decisions on their own behalf during the sometimes lengthy period it currently takes to register Power of Attorney. However, this is not the Government’s preferred option, as it does not believe it is possible to create a faster and simpler fast-track service with the necessary safeguards to protect donors.

Removing the requirement for a witness could also help simplify the process, although an LPA could potentially be witnessed remotely. The Government appears to favour abolishing the role of the witness altogether and replacing it with new, as yet unspecified safeguards that serve the same purpose. A further proposal involves making the application process faster and more efficient by implementing a digital checking service. This would involve applications being digitally checked as they are made and sending them for registration as soon as they are completed, thereby significantly reducing the current delay between executing and registering Power of Attorney, as well as the possibility of an LPA being rejected.

New safeguards against fraud will also be considered, including enhancing the power of the Office of the Public Guardian to take more robust measures to verify the identity of both donors and attorneys, deal with complaints against the latter and make it easier for concerned parties to object to an LPA.

Demand for Power of Attorney has increased dramatically in recent years, with roughly five million LPAs registered in the UK, and there now appears to be agreement among legal professionals and the relevant Government authorities that the current system is not fit for purpose in the digital age and is ripe for reform.

Find out more about our fixed fee LPA legal service:

British Attitudes Towards Wills & Bequests

Research by wealth management company Charles Stanley provides some interesting insights into British attitudes towards making wills and receiving bequests. Slightly more than two thirds (68%) of UK adults intended to divide their assets evenly among their children, however, 16% said they would not do so, while a further 16% remained undecided. Reasons given for not splitting wealth equally included the differing personal circumstances of children, and how close relations were between parents and children later in life.

The research also revealed the family problems and distress that result when an inheritance is not split equally between children. Roughly half of the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) said they would be upset by an uneven split, and more than a third of all UK adults felt the same.

British people are surprisingly shy about discussing inheritances, with only one in five respondents stating that they had talked openly about the subject with their family. This means that the majority of UK families are failing to plan ahead, which can have a negative financial impact and lead to family disputes that are often only resolved after lengthy and expensive court proceedings.

If a person dies without making a will they will have died intestate, and their estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy, which are arbitrary and may not reflect the wishes of the deceased. To avoid family conflicts and ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive the correct share of an estate, the testator (the person making a will) should carefully consider their legacy and seek legal advice from a law firm like Bartletts Solicitors. Find out more: