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The Cheddar Office Has Moved!

We are delighted to report that after several months of planning the Cheddar Office move was finally completed yesterday and we shall open for business in our brand new premises on Monday (31st July).

The move went smoothly although we had to close the Office for the day, The phones were diverted to the Shepton Mallet Office and urgent issues were attended to. However, we do apologise to anyone who was inconvenienced in any way.

As you will see from the photo we are right next to (and above) the Post Office, and a short distance from Tescos. We are also opposite Lloyds Bank so finding us couldn’t be easier.

As well as access from Bath Street we have a large private carpark at the rear. Just drive through the Tesco Shoppers carpark, turn left as you reach the Factory Bargains Shop and you will see our carpark (signposted) in front of you. There is a door from the carpark to the Office with wheelchair access. Inside the premises are comfortable and spacious..

Thanks to all who helped with the move especially Simon from Delta (who maintain our IT systems). He worked very hard all day and got our computers moved, installed and online by late afternoon. We are just hoping that the phone line transfer (which normally takes 48 hours) has happened by Monday Morning.

The Staff are very happy in their new surroundings and we look forward to seeing our Clients (old and new) in the coming weeks and months.

Our new postal address is:-

Bath Street Chambers

Bath Street

Cheddar BS27 3AA

Phone number and e-mail addresses are unaltered.

Best Wishes from all at BGW

Criminal-Law

Scams Awareness Month

We have recently received a communication from the Land Registry which says that July is “Scams Awareness Month”.  Now, admittedly, this is not going to excite public interest in the way that other publicised causes do but it is worth spending a few moments reading this summary of the risks and the action which you can take to protect your property from fraud.

Since 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing property valued in excess of £117,000,000.

You are most at risk if:-
• Your identity has been stolen
• You rent out your property
• You live overseas
• Your property is empty
• Your property is not mortgaged
• Your property is not registered with HM Land Registry.

What can you do?

• The first and best thing that you should do is make sure that your property is registered.

• If you bought or mortgaged your property after 1998 then it will be registered.  If the last transaction was prior to that date then it may, or may not, be registered

• If your property is not registered then you should consider contacting us to instruct us to apply for First Registration on your behalf.  The cost of doing this will depend upon the complexity of the title and the value of the property.  We are happy to discuss this with you should you wish to consider the option.

• It is sometimes possible to have the Land Registry register a restriction on the title whereby anyone applying to register a transfer has to produce a certificate signed by a Conveyancer that the Conveyancer has verified the identity of the Seller.  That is particularly helpful if you are living abroad and/or your property is empty.

Fraud is a huge issue these days even if you are ultimately successful in having the transaction set aside.  The shock and horror of returning home to find somebody else living in your property is worth spending some time and money to avoid.

If you wish to discuss this further please contact any of our branches.

Residential-Property (1)

All Change At Cheddar

We are very pleased to announce that, finally, we are in a position to complete our move to our new premises in Cheddar.

You may recall from a previous post that we have secured a large and fully refurbished suite of offices above and behind the Post Office in Cheddar.

We have access at ground level from Bath Street and a private carpark behind Tescos which is a lot larger and more accessible than the carpark that we have at present. Access can also be obtained from the carpark. There is wheelchair access, a ground floor office for those who cannot manage the stairs and a disabled WC .

So, we expect to be in our new premises from Monday 31st July and look forward to welcoming clients and professional contacts from that point onwards.

The postal address will be:-

Bath Street Chambers

Bath Street

Cheddar Somerset

BS27 3AA

Phone, fax and e-mail will obviously be the same as before.

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Bath & West Report

Once again, the Royal Bath & West Show was very enjoyable and a great success. Apart from a few showers the weather was kind to us again.

The newly-restored caravan in the Power Of The Past Arena looked very impressive and, this year, our tent was positioned right next to the main ring which made it easier for visitors to that part of the show to find us. Many found time to come over for a chat and a glass of wine. The photo to the right shows Director Libby Rae and Legal Executive Natalie Barker outside the caravan.

Libby Rae spent Friday outside the tent offering free face painting for children. Thanks as always go to the show organisers and, in particular, the organisers of the Power Of The Past section for looking after us so well.  We are very grateful to all our staff who manned the stand and most of all to those who stopped at our tent and made the show so enjoyable for us.

The show now seems like a distant memory but there is still plenty to look forward to with the Glastonbury Festival (or Pilton as we locals still call it) this weekend and then Wimbledon.

Workwise, things remain busy. It occurred to us recently that many of the Wills that we have in our store room may need updating.  If you would like to review your Will or if you haven’t yet made one please contact any of our offices to arrange an appointment.

In the meantime enjoy the lovely weather.

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Bath & West 2017

The unseasonably warm weather may have come to an end but there’s no denying that spring is here. We’re seeing more hours of daylight and we hope that you enjoyed the sunshine today (until the downpour!).

The gardeners amongst us are able to get outside for a couple of hours in the evening. The Boat Race and the Grand National are behind us. The football season will soon be over and the cricket season is underway. Wimbledon is only a couple of months away.

Time certainly seems to move more quickly as we get older, but none of us can believe that the Bath and West Show will soon be upon us again. This year the show runs from 31st May until 3rd June.

As usual we shall be sponsoring the Power of the Past section which will be located towards the southern end of the Showground. We have sponsored the refurbishment of the
Chief Steward’s Caravan which now looks very impressive and has our logo displayed   We’ll send a photo before the Show.

Various members of our team will be there so please visit our tent for a glass of wine and a chat. We’ll have face painting for our younger visitors on the Friday of the show. The weather has been remarkably good for the past few years and we’re hoping that will continue.

We have attached a photo of Solicitor Karen Lucas from our Glastonbury Office and Son Jasper enjoying the show last year.

Contentious-Probate

Challenges to Wills-Supreme Court decison in the case of -Ilott v Mitson

 We have previously mentioned the case of Ilott – v – Mitson.

For those who are not familiar with the facts this was a case when an adult daughter who was fully competent and independent was awarded £163,000 out of her late mother’s estate.  The estate was worth £486,000 and the mother had left it to three charities with which she had no particular connection.  The daughter’s claim succeeded under the Inheritance Act 1975.  Previously, it had been assumed that only children who were dependent (because they were minors or suffered from some physical or mental disability) could successfully make a claim.

Yesterday the Supreme Court reduced the award back to £50,000 which was the amount awarded by the original Judge. That was bad news for the daughter but it did not close the door on future claims by disappointed adult children. The Supreme Court Judges did not say that there was no legal basis for her claim they just reduced the amount awarded by the Court of Appeal.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the case is that the Supreme Court judgement was handed down a full 10 years after the Judge made his original decision.  One wonders if there will be any money left to distribute by the time the costs have been paid.

The Judges gave some detailed guidance as to how the Inheritance Act should be interpreted. This will be of interest to lawyers but the key point for non professionals is that if you make no provision or significantly reduced provision for an adult child there is always a risk that he or she may bring a claim.

It still seems unlikely that this case will open the floodgates for large numbers of claims but the publicity is bound to make it more likely that aggrieved individuals will seek legal advice with a view to making such a claim.

This situation is relatively unusual but if a Client is concerned the key thing is to have your Will professionally drawn. A Solicitor can advise you about the extent of your legal obligations and if you do decide to make reduced provision for a child he/she can draft a detailed letter of explanation which can be kept with your Will and may help your executors to resist such a claim.

The cost of instructing a Solicitor to prepare a Will  is very reasonable and anyone who tries to save a few pounds by buying a kit from the shop or making a Will over the internet is taking a risk.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this newsletter please contact any of our Offices.

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Merry Christmas

By now our decorations will be up, the gift wrapping begins and our fridges are
beginning to bulge with all sorts of festive treats.

Amongst the mayhem of Christmas and New Year we hope that you are able
to enjoy time spent with loved ones, which we are sure you’ll agree is what
Christmas is really about.at thought is a timely reminder of those who are
not so fortunate and we hope that some of you are able to bear a thought, and
perhaps lend a hand, to some of the more lonely and vulnerable people within
our community.

A quick visit on Christmas Day, or the offer to pop to the shop in bad
weather, may only take a moment of our time, but could mean the world to
someone else. As a 3rm we too try to do our best to accommodate the needs of
our clients, whether that is by offering a home visit, or by tailoring our service
to meet their circumstances.

Though we will soon be in the often bleak months of January and February,
we are optimistically looking forward to a bright and prosperous 2017. It is
surprising how quickly a year passes and we wonder whether any New Year’s
resolutions will be made – and possibly quickly forgotten! At BGW we intend
to continue to work with our existing clients, for whose loyalty we are most
obliged and we hope also to meet some new faces along the way.

If BGW can help you achieve your aims this year, whether it be to purchase
a new house, or sort out those legal affairs buried on a “to do’ list”, please get in

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Vicky Scorse Graduation

We are delighted to announce that Vicky Scorse has recently been admitted as a Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).  This follows the successful completion of her final examinations following several years of study.

Vicky (pictured at her graduation ceremony in September next to fiancé Craig) is based at our Cheddar Office and has a caseload that is predominately residential conveyancing although she is proficient in other areas of practice as well.  Vicky is developing a good following in and around Cheddar due to her proactive approach, meticulous preparation and excellent communication skills.

Vicky and Craig live together with Cheddar and will be getting married in July 2017.  We offer them both our very best wishes.

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Changes At The Castle Cary Office

Exciting changes are happening at our Castle Cary Office.

At BGW part of our recruitment strategy is to take on Trainee Solicitors.  During the two-year training period our Trainees are carefully mentored and provided with the professional skills and experience that they need to perform as Solicitors in the current, highly demanding, environment.  They also become familiar with the firm’s ethos, which is to provide the highest quality legal representation to business and private clients alike.

We are very pleased to say that Lucy Ingram, who has been with us since 2014, qualified as a Solicitor on 1 June.  Since qualification Lucy has worked at the Shepton Mallet office but our builders, painters and decorators have been working furiously to create additional working space at our Castle Cary office so that, with effect from this month Lucy has transferred to that office and will work alongside Robin Weelen who has been the only Solicitor at that office for more years than he cares to mention (albeit ably assisted by his excellent support staff).

Furthermore, Gemma Wilton has recently returned from maternity leave and is completing her training as a Legal Executive.  Gemma has a particular interest and expertise in Family Law and will be working alongside Robin and Lucy at Castle Cary.

The contractors have done a first-rate job (for which we thank them) and we are looking forward to providing the improved service that Lucy and Gemma will enable us to provide from the Castle Cary Office.

Residential-Property (1)

Conveyancing Feedback

Fears of a downturn in the property market post brexit seem to have been greatly exaggerated with most agents telling us that they have buyers knocking on their doors and that they can’t wait for bthe school holidays to finish because September is usually the month when more properties come to market.

We at BGW treat client satisfaction very seriously and we have been considering the feedback that we have received from conveyancing clients. The results are interesting.

Our charges

Charges are often the first thing new clients ask about. That is understandable but, as with everything, you get the service that you pay for. Generally, clients are very happy with what we charge for our professional services.

Most important is value for money.

Clients who have instructed us before or people who have been recommended to us by people who have done so often don’t ask about price until after they have intructed us. They know that we deliver a high quality service at a fair price.

Almost all our clients consider that we offer good value for money.

Our service

Overwhelmingly, our clients are very satisfied with the level of service that we provide. Many comment that they have not received the same level of service from other solicitors when moving house previously.

In particular our clients value these aspects of our service.

Technical competence

All our conveyancers are legally trained. We do not delegate to poorly trained staff using inflexible case management systems which often seem designed to hinder rather than help.

Phonecalls

Calls are answered quickly. Clients don’t have to wait in queues listening to music whilst being told via a recorded message how important their call is and that we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls!

E-mails

We respond quickly and informatively.

Action

We proceed quickly, keep clients informed and if we say we will do something we will do it.

Problems

There is always the risk that something will go wrong. A mortgage offer gets held up, a search result doesn’t come back in time, a problem with the title to a property. These are the occasions when you really need a solicitor who will  the extra mile, sort the problem out quickly and with the minimum of fuss and get things back on track. By that measure we certainly deliver.

What do we think about this feedback?

We are pleased but not complacent.

We are always looking for ways to improve the service we offer and we are keen to receive suggestions as to how we might best achieve that.

If you have used us recently and wish to tell us about your experience then please go to the feedback form on our website or if you prefer call us.

We like to know if we have come up to or even (as is often the case) exceeded your expectations.

We need to know if there are any ways that we can improve our service further.

Thanks to all who have instructed us or referred people to us. We really value each and every one of you.