Confused about whether to hire a lawyer for your conveyancing matter? You’re not alone. This article provides an overview to help you make the best choice for your circumstances.
What is Conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the process of transferring ownership of land from one person to another, under the terms of a contract for the sale of that land.
Conveyancing usually consists of 3 steps, being:
- pre-contract which includes preparing and reviewing legal documents such as the contract of sale;
- pre-settlement which includes researching inclusions and exclusions relating to the title, checking if there are any defects on the title, liaising with you bank to ensure final payment is made, calculating stamp duty and Land Titles Office fees for the transaction and coordinating settlement, and
- post-settlement which includes notifying authorities of the acquisition or disposition of the property and attending to the lodgement and registration of transaction documents at the State Revenue Office and Land Titles Office.
Should I use a lawyer for my conveyancing matter?
A lawyer is a qualified member of the legal profession. To become a lawyer an individual is required to have a University degree in law, which takes around 4 years to complete. This course of study will include property law and related law areas such as contract law, equity and trust law, family law and wills and estates, together with training to appear in court to represent clients’ interests, where necessary.
Property law constantly changes. Once a lawyer is qualified there is a significant commitment to ongoing legal training each year to maintain current professional knowledge of the law.
The Legal Profession Uniform Law (Victoria) requires all legal practitioners to hold or be covered by professional indemnity insurance before engaging in legal practice in Victoria. This insurance must be maintained at all times while engaged in legal practice in Victoria. The standards of conduct and ethics are high for lawyers and as such, their professional indemnity insurance is of a higher amount.
Most lawyers will do fixed fee conveyancing. Beware of businesses that offer a low cost. Firstly, are there hidden fees that make the initial quote seem lower than competitors? Secondly, businesses that offer low costs tend to have a higher turnover of clients to compensate for their low fees and that means you won’t get a high level of service. Lawyers rely on their reputation which is based on their broad legal experience to obtain work. They will have fewer clients and can give a more personalised service.
Lawyers provide fixed fee conveyancing that it comparable to other service providers costs, whilst offering full legal services, therefore their service is generally better value for money.
A lawyer can provide you with conveyancing services, which include organising transaction paperwork and guiding you through the process of transferring a property title from one party to the next. A lawyer can also give you comprehensive legal advice on a range of issues associated with the property such as consumer law protection, tax advice and family law implications on how to buy the land, to ensure that you and your family are protected or have the best advantage. A lawyer can also take legal action on your behalf if something goes awry in relation to your property. The full range of services offered by lawyers is what makes their services better value for money.
All lawyers must work within the law. Lawyers must also work to the compulsory levels dictated by the Legal Profession Act, the Regulations of the Law Society and their professional indemnity insurers who create protocols of behaviour, management, service and accountability. As such, lawyers’ standard of work and accountability is high. Failing to work to this high standard can lead to a lawyer being disqualified by a supervisory body set up by Parliament. Consumer recourse against a lawyer is strong and more regulated.
7. Access to greater advice
Lawyers have access to their Law Society for advice or barristers or fellow lawyers in their own business or the profession generally. Usually, lawyers already have the information because of their qualifications.
A simple property transaction can be handled by a lawyer or other service provider, as they should have the necessary skills to work through the process. However, if the property transaction is more complex, requires legal advice and further property law knowledge, then a lawyer should be engaged.
The information on this website is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice about your particular circumstances.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
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