Do you have to use a solicitor to complete a transfer of equity?

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A transfer of equity, when the ownership of a property changes by adding or removing another person to the deeds, is usually relatively simple, but it does require the expertise of a conveyancing solicitor as it’s a legal process.

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Why do I need a solicitor?

There is a great deal of administrative and legal work required for a transfer of equity, which a conveyancing solicitor is responsible for. The Government advises that you should find a conveyancing solicitor before you apply for a transfer of equity.

Administrative tasks that a transfer of equity solicitor is responsible for include:

.       Contacting the Land Registry to obtain the title deeds and reviewing them

.       Drafting all legal documents required for the transfer to take place

.       Arranging for the signing and witnessing of the transfer deed and any mortgage deed

.       Ensuring any funds are distributed to relevant parties

.       Formally registering the transfer with the Land Registry.

They may also have to fill out a tax return if any Stamp Duty is to be paid on the transfer.

All of this means that you are legally protected, as the transfer of equity solicitor will have correctly completed all steps and there are no errors. There are many law firms such as available who can explain the process, how long it will take and how much it will cost.

Can different parties use the same solicitor?

The same solicitor can be used by both parties, as long as there isn’t a conflict of interest. This occurs if there is any money changing hands and in that case, each person should get independent legal advice from a different lawyer.

If there is no money involved, only the person who is transferring the equity to another – the transferor – needs to instruct a transfer of equity solicitor. Technically, if the person to whom the equity is being transferred – the transferee – is not paying for their new share of the property and there’s no mortgage involved, the process can be completed without a solicitor. All the relevant forms are available to download from the Land Registry website. However, there is still the potential for errors to be made as the process is complex.

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As well as adding a common-law spouse, civil partner or spouse to title deeds, homeowners may also want to remove someone, normally in the case of a break-up. They may also want to gift the property to a child or other family member in order to maximise tax benefits. In all cases, a transfer of equity solicitor has the legal knowledge to complete the process without problems.

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