Ulster Property Sales’ Open Day

We were absolutely delighted to be invited to Ulster Property Sales’ recent Open Day at their Newtownards’ Office.

It was a fantastic event with plenty of budding home buyers popping in for a quick chat. We were on hand to answer any legal queries and to generally explain the conveyancing process, given not many know much about it.

Many thanks to Rachel and the rest of the UPS team.

buying a home

5 Reasons to Make or Update Your Will

1. Decide who Inherits

This is the most obvious reason to make a will. You can decide who gets what. You can make specific gifts of cash and items to particular beneficiaries or have everything split up equally amongst a group of named individuals. If you don’t make a valid Will then the rules of Intestacy decide who inherits your estate. This could mean someone, that you don’t want to, benefits from your death.

2. Decide who administers your estate

You can name executors (we recommend naming at least two) who will have the legal responsibility to administer your estate. This will involve paying your debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and distributing the assets amongst the beneficiaries. This can be a difficult job so you should think long and hard about who you select. You can name us as one of your executors which may give you some peace of mind.

3. Make sure your unmarried partner is provided for

If you and your partner are unmarried and you were to die without making a Will your partner will not automatically be entitled to share in your estate, whereas a spouse or civil partner would be entitled to the whole estate. Therefore if you wish to protect your unmarried partner (and vice versa) then you should think about making a will immediately.

4. New Kids

Having new children means you should update your will and make sure they are provided for. If not they may have to apply to the court to gain entitlement to a portion of your assets. This could add to their grief at, what will already be, a difficult. You can also nominate people to care for any children under the age of 18 until they reach adulthood.

5. Marriage or Divorce

These are life-changing circumstances. Getting married will immediately invalidate your will, therefore you should always make a new one after getting hitched. Conversely getting divorced does not automatically revoke your will so you can’t stand the thought of your ex benefitting from your death then you may wish to rip it up and start over.

If you have gone through any big changes in your life recently and are considering making or updating your will please give us a call on 02891 817715, or contact our estates team by email at estates@boydricesolicitors.com.

How to ensure you are safe on the roads in the snow

Accidents sky-rocket when it snows, here’s how to avoid them and stay safe

Given the extreme adverse weather conditions we are currently experiencing, we at Boyd Rice Solicitors thought it might help if we produced a quick guide to driving safely in the snow. We know from experience that the number of accidents rise exponentially when it snows here but there are ways you can avoid this happening to you.

1. Don’t drive

If you can avoid it, simply don’t go out on the roads! This won’t be an option for many but if a journey isn’t necessary it’s better to stay home and stay safe.

2. Plan your journey and leave more time

Know a cross-country shortcut to work? Give that route a miss for now and stick to the main roads wherever possible. These are more likely to be gritted and safer to drive on. By leaving more time you can de-ice your car properly before you begin and you can drive a little slower to take account of the hazardous conditions.

3. Check your tyres

This is important because poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice. This could lead you to skidding and having an accident. Therefore you should check your tyres to ensure there is adequate tread.

4. Prepare for the worst

Pack your mobile and make sure you have your breakdown provider’s number saved on it. You don’t want to breakdown when you are in the middle of nowhere and its freezing cold. Bring some water, food, a hi-vis jacket, ice scraper, blanket, jump leads, anything that will ensure if that your car can’t drive you will be safe until someone comes to rescue you.

Even if you follow the above precautions you may still find yourself involved in an accident as a result of the actions of someone else. If so, please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email at claims@boydricesolicitors.com and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.

Holiday from hell?! A guide to dealing with road traffic accidents abroad.

Renting a car whilst on holiday is becoming more and more popular. Competition amongst car rental companies means greatly reduced prices for holiday makers but renting a car abroad can carry its own risks. Driving in another Country on the opposite side of the road normally makes us more cautious behind the wheel but accidents can still happen. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident whilst on holiday, we would recommend that you take the following steps:

– Get details of the other driver and details of their insurance company;

– Keep details of any witnesses;

– Call the local Police immediately and request a copy of their report;

– Notify your own insurance company or if you have rented a car during your holiday, notify the rental company;

– Take photographs of the damage caused to both your own vehicle and the other vehicle involved;

– If you attend hospital or a Doctor take a note of the address of the Hospital/ Surgery and record the name of the medical practitioner that administered treatment. Ask for a copy of any medical records before you leave;

The law relating to compensation claims differs from Country to Country and therefore advice should be sought at the earliest possible opportunity. The good news is that there is legislation in place that will allow you to bring your claim from here in Northern Ireland if your accident occurred in another EU Member State.

Boyd Rice Solicitors have significant experience in obtaining compensation for clients injured whilst on holiday. Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email claims@boydricesolicitors.com and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.

Surveyor report for new house

Should I get a survey before I buy a new property?

Don’t rely on your mortgage valuation to uncover any problems with your new home

Unfortunately only a small percentage of new buyers employ a property surveyor to report on their prospective new property before handing over their savings to the vendor. For some this can lead to a lot of stress and expense when they later discover serious problems with the property’s condition.

But what about the mortgage valuation? Surely the bank wouldn’t lend you money unless the property was in good nick? This line of thinking is misguided. Mortgage valuations are not surveys. The person who conducts the valuation probably spends five minutes glancing over the property to quickly assess how much it’s worth. They will note down any majors works required that they happen to observe, in those five short minutes.

The mortgage valuation is not there to protect you. It’s to make sure the property will be good security for the bank’s loan. Your bank will probably add the costs of the valuation on to your agreement. They will sometimes decide on the back of the valuation to reduce the amount they will lend.

A survey is significantly different.  You instruct the surveyor and the report will serve your interests. It involves a detailed inspection of the property. The surveyor will be looking out for structural problems, anything requiring major repairing work or alterations and will try to identify any potential legal issues.

Here are the types of survey provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors;

  • Condition Report ;
  • Homebuyer Report;
  • Building Survey.

The Condition Report is the cheapest, it’ll set you back around £250. It describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. Think about getting this if you’re being a new-build and conventional homes in good condition.

The Homebuyer Report weighs in at approximately £400, get this for conventional homes in reasonable condition. It will cover everything in the Condition Report and it will include advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice. You can also pay a little extra to have a valuation added on.

The Building Survey is for larger and older properties, or if you have some renovations in mind. This will cost around £500. This will provide an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.

We recommend to all our clients that they obtain one of these reports. Whilst it may seem like a lot of money, it could save you thousands in the long-term.

Just recently a client of ours agreed to purchase a new property. The previous owners had only bought the property a year prior but were already selling up. Our client was told that this because their child had moved schools. Erring on the side of caution our client decided to obtain a survey. This survey uncovered significant issues with the roof and damp everywhere. Estimates of the repairs have come in around £20,000. Our client pulled out of the sale and is now looking elsewhere. The survey cost £400, but saved them a fortune.

If you are purchasing a new home and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding surveys and mortgage valuations please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email property@boydricesolicitors.com.