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FAQ

Business

I am starting a new business, how can you help?

We can advise you from the start, including what legal form your business will take whether it be a sole trader, partnership or a limited company.

What business name should I chose?

You need to choose a name that is different from others in the same line of business. If your name misleads customers into thinking they are dealing with a different business then legal action could arise, which could be costly. You also need to make sure that your name does not infringe on any existing registered trademark or trading name.

Our business is expanding, how can you help?

We can assist in the purchase or leasing of new premises, asset purchases and commercial contracts and agreements.

I run a family business and so my business legal requirements cross over with my personal legal needs - can you deal seamlessly with both?

We offer advice from family matters, wills and probate to conveyancing and if your circumstances take a turn for the worst we can also assist in criminal matters.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a limited company?

The main advantage is that the liability of the members of the company will be limited to the value of their shares. The Directors are not normally personally liable unless they have given personal guarantees or have breached certain duties.

The disadvantage to operating as a company is the law procedure and other formalities which must be followed, the restrictions on certain financial activities, and the requirement to publish and file accounts.

I haven't officially set up a business as a sole trader, partnership or limited company - how will this affect me?

You are legally required to notify HM Customs and Revenue when you do so, therefore if you have not officially set a business you will still be trading as a sole trader or a partnership and will likely face a fine.

As you have not formed a company then you will liable for any business debts and if you are in business with another person then under the Partnership Act you will be trading as a partnership and you will be liable for their business debts. We can assist in drawing up a partnership agreement.

Commercial Property

What are the main costs involved in buying or leasing commercial property?

  • The costs involved would typically include professional fees for your lawyer and surveyor. There may be fees such as the costs of pre contract and pre completion searches and Land Registry fees.
  • The price of the premises (when purchasing) or any initial lease premium (if renting and any stamp duty land tax (if applicable).
  • Rent and service charges (if renting), Insurance, utilities, Non-domestic rates (business rates), Maintenance and repair costs.

What do I need to do if I want to carry out alterations to my business premises or change what I use them for?

Regardless of whether you lease the property or own it, any significant alteration is likely to require building control approval. If you lease the property you will likely need the landlords consent.

If you want to change the use of premises from one 'use class' to you may require planning permission.

Who is responsible for repairing and maintaining our leasehold property?

This will depend upon the wording of the lease. To avoid this you should take legal advice as to the wording of the lease and may be advised to have a 'Schedule of Condition' prepared or even photographs taken to record the condition of the property on the day the lease was granted.

The Selling Agents Particulars state that the property has 'A1' use: what does this mean?

How the property is to be used - authorised under planning legislation. Where there is to be a change of use, planning permission must be obtained. However an application for planning permission does not need to be submitted where the change is within the same category as is currently applicable to the premises.

I am transferring my leasehold premises to the buyer of my business. I have been told that I will have to act as guarantor to the buyer. This seems totally unreasonable - is it correct?

If the Landlord's consent to the transfer of the lease is required it is likely that the Landlord will be able to insist that you enter into an 'Authorised Guarantee Agreement'. This is an agreement imposing a condition that you will pay the rent and perform the covenants if the incoming tenant fails to do so.

The Lease states that the Tenant is to repair the premises but surely the Landlord cannot insist the Tenant is responsible for items of disrepair which were present at the date of the Lease?

This will depend upon the wording of the lease. To avoid this you should take legal advice as to the wording of the lease and may be advised to have a 'Schedule of Condition' prepared or even photographs taken to record the condition of the property on the day the lease was granted.

Conveyancing

What is conveyancing?

This is the process of buying and selling property. The Sellers and the Buyers have separate solicitors that act on their behalf.

How long does it take?

On average a transaction can take 6 weeks. This timescale is an estimate and can vary on a number of factors.

What are disbursements?

These are costs incurred on your behalf to third parties for things such as searches, land registry fees, stamp duty. These will be included in your quote at the beginning of the conveyancing process.

What does "exchange of contracts" mean?

Upon exchange of contracts, the contract becomes legally binding. This means that neither party can withdraw from the transaction, and must complete on the completion date specified. Contracts are exchanged by the buyers' and sellers' respective solicitors over the phone. In order to exchange contracts the buyers' solicitors must be in receipt of the deposit.

What does "completion" mean?

Completion is the day that you get the keys if you are the buyer / hand over the keys if you are the seller. Completion takes place on a week day.

We are unmarried and I am putting in a larger deposit into the property, can I protect it?

Yes. You can enter into a trust deed which would record who paid what and what happens when the property is sold or if you separate.

Do I need a survey?

If you are taking out a mortgage then the mortgage provider will survey the property to see if it is suitable for them to lend against. This is not a survey that provides you with any detailed information about the property or highlights any problems with the property that you should be aware of. We would advise that you have a detailed survey carried out on the property you intend to buy.

Criminal

What is police bail?

Police bail is granted when the police need to make further enquiries. You will be asked to attend the police station at a set time and day on a regular basis. There is no time limit on how long this can go on.

I have been charged with an offence, what do I do?

Contact us straight away on 01902 429 051. We can give you initial advice and represent you at court.

I have received a summons or a requisition for a road traffic offence, what should I do?

Contact us straight away on 01902 429 051. We can give you initial advice and represent you at court.

Do you take on driving cases? I am a self-employed businessman and have accumulated 12 points. The magistrates have asked me to attend a hearing where they are considering disqualifying me. Can you represent me?

Yes. Contact us straight away on 01902 429 051. We can give you initial advice and represent you at court, where we could put forward a case to avoid the disqualification.

I've received a letter from the police/prosecuting agency asking me to contact them to arrange an interview under caution. What should I do?

Contact us straight away on 01902 429 051. We would speak to the requesting agency and arrange a mutually convenient time for you to attend a police station interview.

Beforehand, we will arrange if possible for disclosure of the allegation and evidence against you to be provided to us so that we could discuss this with you beforehand and we could attend the interview with you.

We would strongly advise anyone in this position not to say anything to the police prior to attending an interview and instructing a solicitor.

I am a company director and have a legal expenses insurance policy. I have been charged with fraud offences. Will my policy cover my defence fees and will you be able to represent me?

Yes. We will make enquiries on your behalf with your insurers to clarify the terms of your policy.

I was stopped by the Police and failed a breath test, I was just over the limit. Can I demand a blood or urine sample to be taken and have it analysed myself.

No, you can no longer do this.

Family Matters

Can I just get a divorce?

No. You need to have been married for at least 12 months and then be able to rely on one of five facts to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

How long does the divorce process take?

From the date the divorce petition is issued by the court it takes approximately 6 months to reach a conclusion. This is only a very general guide. Some divorces take longer than this, but some can be quicker.

My spouse paid for everything during the marriage, do I have any rights in respect of financial matters?

Yes. When you are married you automatically have a claim in relation to financial matters regardless of whose name any assets may be.

I am in a civil partnership, can I formally bring this to an end?

Yes. The process follows a similar route as for divorce known as dissolution.

I am not married but we are "common law husband and wife"

"Common law husband and wife" is a myth. There is no formal process that will bring your relationship to an end.

I am not married, do I have any rights to the property I live in?

This will depend upon whose name the property is in, whether or not you made a financial contribution towards the property and what was the common intention.

The parent of the child is restricting my contact do I have to accept this?

No. If you cannot resolve the issues with the other parent then you should seek legal advice.

Wills & Probates

Why do I need a will?

If you want to have a say in what happens to your money, property or possessions when you die then you need to make a Will. This is very important:

  • if you are unmarried or have not registered a civil partnership – your partner cannot inherit and this may cause serious financial hardship.
  • if you have children arrangements for the children can be made
  • if you wish to benefit someone who is not close family.

If you do not make a Will there are rules which set out how your money, property or possessions are to be distribute.

Do I need a solicitor to prepare my will?

No, but it is always advisable to get professional advice so that your Will gives full expressions to your own wishes and meets with the legal requirements so that it is valid.

What are executors?

Executors are the people you choose to administer your Estate in accordance with the provisions of your Will after your death.

What is a grant of probate?

This is the document issued by the Probate Registry giving authority to your Executors to administer your Estate. The Grant of Probate is required to collect in the money and property to your Estate.

What is a grant of letters of administration

Where there is no Will there are rules which set out who is to administer your Estate and this gives the same authority as the Grant of Probate.

How long does it take to get a grant of probate?

The process takes approximately 3 months from the date of death. This is only a very general guide and depends upon the circumstances at the time of your death and the issues involved in administration of your Estate.

R N Williams & Co.
53 Waterloo Road,
Wolverhampton,
WV1 4QQ
Tel: 01902 429 051
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