"Gill took the mystery and stress out of buying our first home. We were never left out of the loop and there were no nasty surprises with the fees either. Great service!"

C Yoounger, Edinburgh

Your FAQs

Signing a Commercial Lease? Beware!
Should I set up a Power of Attorney?
Should I make a will?
How to buy a property in Scotland
How to sell a property in Scotland
My spouse has left me. Where do I stand?

Signing a commercial lease? Beware!

Signing a commercial lease can have such major long term implications that it is crucial to contact your solicitor at an early stage before signing. Many commercial leases are 'fully repairing and insuring' which means that you will be responsible for all maintenance of the property during the lease. They are often for a fixed period of time, sometimes for a long time, with a prohibition against assigning (transferring) the lease to anyone else or subletting without the landlord's consent. This consent will not necessarily be forthcoming. Also, there may be no automatic 'break' clause.

Contact PLS now for a watertight commercial lease.
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Should I set up a power of attorney?

Are you elderly? Do you have elderly relatives? Have you thought about who would manage your finances or make decisions about your welfare if in future you were no longer able to do so?

By granting a power of attorney to someone that you trust now, you will have peace of mind for the future. Many people don't realise that you can grant a power of attorney and then 'put it away' until it is required. It will only be used when you say so, or you are no longer able to say so.

It's not something anyone really likes to think about, but the worst can happen, And, when it does, it often happens suddenly. A power of attorney is simple to set up and could save both you and your family a lot of heartache in the future - not to mention money.

What could happen if I don't have one?
Your family may argue about who should be responsible for your financial affairs and/or your care home. They may seem harmonious now, but things could get ugly between siblings and relatives if you have not made your wishes clear. Your house may need to be sold to pay for your care or to find a more suitable house for you, which cannot be done without an expensive court procedure to appoint a financial guardian. Many people don't realise that even if they have a spouse, they are not automatically appointed in these circumstances.

PLS can help you draft a comprehensive power of attorney that complies with the requirements of the Office of the Public Guardian, where it will be registered.
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Should I make a will?

What is a will?
The most basic will nominates executors to oversee the administration of your estate, arrangement of your funeral and then it makes bequests. But your will may be more complex if, for example, inheritance tax issues, trusts and the guardianship of children are involved.

Do I really need one?
W hether you're a millionaire or of modest means you should consider drawing up a will. Some people say they feel ‘funny’ or even ‘superstitious’ about it, but most feel better once they have, knowing they've done the best by their family. And you know what they say about death and taxes!

If I don't leave a will, what could happen when I die?
If you die without leaving a will, you are 'intestate', and your family will have to petition the court to appoint an executor. It also means that 'caution' will be required. This is an insurance policy against any wrongful actions by the executor. As it is based on the value of the estate, it can be costly. With so many different family and living arrangements nowadays, eg. unmarried couples with children; purchasing houses together etc., this law is a little out of step with the times, so a will really is the best way to ensure that your loved ones receive their entitlement. Think of it this way, if you die without leaving a will, the law of intestate succession could mean your partner and children may have to move house. Isn't your death going to be stressful enough?

Can I write my own will?
While it is possible, it is inadvisable. Self-made wills often leave unforeseen loop-holes which could cause conflict when you've gone!

PLS can help you draft a will that covers all the bases, giving you peace of mind that your wishes have been stated clearly.
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How to sell a property in Scotland

First, employ the services of an estate agent/solicitor
Your own solicitor may also be an estate agent. If not, ask them to help you choose the best agent at the best price.

What information do you need to give your solicitor about your property?
Provide your solicitor with details of all loans secured over your property with loan account number and lenders' details. You should also tell him about any alterations that you have made to the property, any planning applications made by your neighbours, and anything else that you consider might be relevant to your property. He can then gather all the necessary documents and the title deeds ready to receive an offer.

What happens once an offer is made?
Your solicitor will seek your instructions before issuing an acceptance. The offer may be 'subject to survey' and the purchasers will be encouraged to have their survey carried out and to confirm that it is in order before the acceptance is issued. Your property is now 'under offer'. at this stage both parties can withdraw without penalty. Once your solicitor has accepted on your behalf, the purchaser's solicitor will take instructions and reply. Each reply is usually a negotiation of the terms and is a further step towards 'conclusion of missives'. When this is achieved, there is a binding contract from which neither party can withdraw without penalty.

PLS is extremely experienced in this field. Our aim is to achieve a concluded contract quickly so you know exactly where you stand. We'll keep you informed every step of the way and will always be at the end of the phone or email at this stressful time.
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How to buy a property in Scotland

First, find a solicitor and ask for a quote of fees and outlays
Ensure that you have appropriate finance in place. If required, your solicitor may be able to put you in touch with an independent financial advisor.

Choose the areas that interest you and start to view properties
If a property is advertised as 'fixed price' it is important to move quickly as these are often sold on a first come first served basis. If the property is advertised as 'offers over' you will usually have time to ask your solicitor to 'note your interest', which should mean that you will be given an opportunity to offer for the property, perhaps at a closing date if there are other notes of interest.

How can your solicitor help?
As you view properties, you will begin to get a feel for the market. Your solicitor can help with this and can do a price comparison to find out what similar properties in an area have sold for to give you an indication of what you might need to offer.

Making an offer
If the seller indicates that he will consider an offer or if you decide to make a pre-emptory offer, your solicitor will do this on your behalf. Alternatively, a closing date for offers may be fixed. In this case, all interested parties instruct their solicitors to offer in a 'blind auction' where they do not know and will not be told what the other offers are. A seller will usually accept the highest offer but this is not mandatory. Your may make your offer 'subject to survey' or you may have a survey done before offering. The latter is obviously risky as you may be competing for the property and if you are not successful then you have wasted the cost of the survey. However, offers with their survey already done are often more attractive to sellers, particularly if the offers received are close in amount.

What happens when your offer is accepted?
If your offer is accepted your solicitor will receive a formal acceptance from the sellers' solicitor and will then take your instructions before issuing a formal acceptance on your behalf. There will then follow an exchange of letters. Each reply is usually a negotiation of the terms and is a further step towards 'conclusion of missives'. When this is achieved, there is a binding contract from which neither party can withdraw without penalty.

Ready to buy a property? Don't miss out. Trust PLS to give you upfront rates, great advice and to act swiftly and efficiently on your behalf.
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My spouse has left me. Where do I stand?
  • Can he/she force me to sell the house?
  • Can I stop my children from meeting his/her girlfriend/boyfriend?
  • Can I continue to live in my home with the children and get my spouse to move out?
  • My spouse moved out months ago but keeps coming back into the house. Can I change the locks?

At a time where you are at your most emotional and feel unable to cope, you need to find out as soon as possible how you are going to manage day-to-day as well as in the longer term. Family Law is a complex area, but there are usually two main areas of concern: the children and financial matters. Put yourself in control and take good legal advice asap.

Contact Susan Oswald, Erskine Macaskill and Co. so@erskinemacaskill.co.uk / 0131 6226062 Susan is an experienced Family Law Practitioner who works closely with Gill and advises her clients requiring Family Law advice. She is a partner at Erskine Macaskill, 21 Stafford Street, Edinburgh, a firm specialising in Family Law.
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