Bennett Smith Solicitors is acknowledged to be one of North Wales and Chester’s leading specialist Family Law firms.
Divorce, Separation and Civil Partnership
We at Bennett Smith understand that the breakdown of a relationship can be difficult, emotional and worrying. Our specialist team will support you in this stressful time by providing you with clear, jargon-free advice and ensure that we guide you through the process in a practical and sensitive way. We will also assist in resolving arrangements for the children where necessary and which understandably will be at the forefront of your mind. Please see our Children section for further information.
We recognise that you will be worried about family finances. Our experienced solicitors will be able to provide you with clear, comprehensive and practical advice in relation to the finances. Please see our Finances section for further information.
At Bennett Smith we recognise that the financial aspects of the relationship breakdown will need to be resolved and the assets divided as soon as possible to provide much needed security and peace of mind for the individual and for the family.
Untangling the finances can be a daunting prospect and inevitably you will have a lot of questions such as “Will the children’s home have to be sold?”; “What happens to any business assets?”; and “Will I be able to retain my pension?”.
We adopt a non-confrontational approach but when required can be robust in all matters to safeguard our clients’ interests. Our team aims to achieve settlement with a minimum amount of cost and stress to our clients, but equally we recognise those cases where a more tenacious approach is required.
Bennett Smith has access to a wide range of experts who can be called upon to provide their specialist input and assist in resolving any aspect of your matter. Our specialists include Family Law barristers; valuers of domestic and commercial property, agricultural property and land, antiques and fine art, and corporate institutions; forensic accountants; pension actuaries; and many more.
We are here to provide you with support, skill, care and understanding during what can be one of the most painful and stressful of life’s experiences.
The Family team at Bennett Smith understand that your children are your first concern and of the utmost importance to you. We, as do the Courts, favour a child-focused approach to all family matters. We understand that when an issue arises concerning your children you need expert advice and support.
Our highly skilled and experienced team are specialists in dealing with all matters concerning children and child law. Such matters can range from disputes between parents in relation to where their children shall live, or how much time they will spend with each of their parents, to how school holidays and special occasions will be divided.
We can see you quickly to provide you with tailored legal advice and proposals for moving matters forward as efficiently as possible. We will also strip away confusing legal jargon.
We frequently resolve disputes in relation to your children without the Court’s intervention. However, sometimes Court proceedings are necessary and we will guide you through the process of obtaining a Child Arrangement Order and be by your side at every stage of the proceedings.
The Family team also recognises the role that grandparents often play in a child’s life and advise maternal and paternal grandparents as to how they, too, can ensure they can enjoy a meaningful relationship with their grandchildren after a family dispute or a relationship breakdown.
Sometimes a situation may arise where an agreement cannot be reached regarding a specific issue concerning the upbringing of your child. This can range from a dispute in relation to your child’s name, the place that they will be educated or the religion they will observe. An issue may also arise if your child requires medical treatment and you cannot agree with the other parent as to whether they should receive such treatment. If any of these situations should arise we are here to advise and assist you.
One of the most difficult situations to deal with within family law is when one parent wishes to relocate elsewhere in the UK or overseas, and they wish to take the children with them. The team are experienced in dealing with these issues, having dealt with such cases in their local Courts and in the High Court in London.
In the event of a breakdown of a same-sex relationship or marriage the Civil Partnership or marriage will have to be legally dissolved and the surrounding financial issues addressed. The Family team are very experienced in this area.
The same principles in relation to resolving financial claims apply to both same sex couples in civil partnerships and married couples. We refer you to our finances section on our website.
Equally, the future arrangements for a child or children may have to be addressed. The Family team will strive to resolve matters as amicably and swiftly as possible on your behalf. If an application to Court becomes necessary, our team are experienced in dealing with complex legal arguments surrounding the various issues that can arise when you are raising your children.
Unmarried Separation and Cohabitation
We at Bennett Smith can assist when your relationship breaks down and take you through the complex legal maze relating to unmarried cohabitation.
There has been a long-established myth in our society that unmarried couples who have lived together for a qualifying period of time acquire certain rights. This is simply not the case. These relationships can be short, or often span a number of years and involve children. The financial position of cohabitees is often entwined and complex.
It is essential that advice is sought at the earliest opportunity and our team will guide and support you from the first point of contact.
Domestic violence is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. The skilled team at Bennett Smith are experts in obtaining emergency protection for vulnerable adults and children.
An application to the Court for emergency protection can be obtained within hours of contacting us.
The Family team at Bennett Smith Solicitors are happy to talk to you.
Our conveyancing team specialises in all types of residential sales and purchases of property. We endeavour to help our clients through all their residential property matters, large or small, with clear and understandable advice given by experienced, appropriately qualified and friendly staff in our dedicated conveyancing department, at both the North Wales and Chester offices
Your conveyancing transaction will be carried out by our dedicated and specialist residential conveyancing team. Our conveyancing team focus solely on conveyancing meaning that they do not have any court or other commitments and there is always somebody in the office to assist you.
Our team has over 50 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to residential conveyancing. We have four members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Karen Bennett, Managing Director.
Our aim is to make the transaction as stress-free as possible by providing you and your estate agent with regular communication throughout the transaction.
Bennett Smith has secured membership to both the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme – the mark of excellence for the home-buying process – and the Help to Buy Wales’ Accreditation Scheme. These schemes ensure the highest standard of client care and professionalism.
Our services include:
- Purchase Transactions
- Sale Transactions
- Property Transfers
- New-build including off plan
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Wills & Probate
The Firm offers legal advice in connection with making a Will and administering Estates after Death. Making a Will is one of the most important things you should do but a surprising number of the population never get around to writing a Will. In the event of death, this leads to unnecessary financial complications and emotional distress for members of the family who are left to sort out the Estate. Without a Will, intestacy rules apply and the order of who inherits is set out by the Government and often this is not what the Testator would have wanted. Cohabitees are not included at present in the Statutory Intestacy rules and a Will is therefore vital in this scenario to ensure a loved one is provided for after death.
Our solicitors will guide you through the important decisions: choosing your executors (the people who will carry out your instructions set out in your Will), choosing Guardians if you have any children below the age of 18, setting up a Will Trust and choosing Trustees who will manage the money or property until it passes to the beneficiaries. Legal advice will be given on how best to leave specific legacies to loved ones or favourite charities. When meeting with someone to write a Will, it is vital to understand their needs and what is important to them. Our solicitors like to get to know each client on an individual basis ensuring their own needs are taken care of, and, most importantly, they feel supported and happy with the Will writing process.
Our solicitors will provide legal advice on all aspects of the administration of Estates when someone dies. There are a number of important tasks that need to be completed and our solicitors can guide you, whether there is a valid Will or an intestate Estate, on what to do or if required deal with the entire Estate on the client’s behalf.
Your probate will be carried out by our team of specialists with many years of collective experience in delivering high quality work, efficiently and cost effectively.
All members of our team are supervised by Karen Bennett, Managing Director.
The following represents our typical range of costs with fixed fees for additional work, where appropriate, explained below.
Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets
We anticipate this will take between 5 and 20 hours work at £210 per hour. Total costs estimated at £1,050 – £4,200 (+ VAT).
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter, the complexity and size of the estate. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end. These are guidelines only and we are more than happy to provide a personalised estimate based on the specific instructions and facts if you ring us on 01248 679000.
We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:
- There is a valid Will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are 3-4 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There are no claims made against estates
Disbursements included in this fee:
- Probate application fee of £157.00. This is expected to rise on 1st April 2019.
- £7.00 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 Per beneficiary)
- £100.70 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims for unknown creditors
- £103.38 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Not all these disbursements may be payable.
Potential additional costs
If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 (1 per asset usually). Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. Please see our online calculator.
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How long will it take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2-4 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 1-6 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-6 months. We will of course do everything we can to ensure a speedy outcome.
Further services offered include:
- Legal advice on a broad range of issues facing elderly clients
- General and Lasting Powers of Attorney (both Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare LPAs)
- Managing financial affairs and making provision for family members