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Safety of house completion funds with solicitor

(9 Posts)
WanttoFindWorkLifeBalance Sat 01-Aug-15 08:06:08

We are likely to be in a position of needing to transfer house completion funds to our solicitor two weeks in advance of completion. This is due to us being out of the country on completion date so it needing to happen while we are away - it can't wait until we are back for a host of reasons I won't bore everyone with here. My question is really around understanding the risks associated with doing this. The amount is more than the 85k protected by the FSCS. Solicitor is longstanding, on law society website and SRA accredited. We really do not want to lose this house but at the same time, the money we are transferring is basically everything we own. TIA.

Howcanitbe Sat 01-Aug-15 08:12:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BearPear Sat 01-Aug-15 08:14:03

My parents did this, the funds were held in a "client account" which is separate from the solicitor's own accounts and as such is safe if the firm goes bust. I'm fairly sure that the funds are also protected from illegal access by the solicitor.

WanttoFindWorkLifeBalance Sat 01-Aug-15 08:17:14

Thanks for replies - yes I was trying to find out specifics around level of protection for client accounts. Obviously will speak direct to our solicitor on it too but just always useful to hear multiple perspectives and will help me ask more of the right questions!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 01-Aug-15 08:17:27

I'm assuming you are in England & Wakes or Scotland?

Have you checked either the law society of Scotland or England and Wales to heck that your solicitor and firm are registered with them
(Rather than an unlicensed conveyancer)?

If they are, then they will pay each year for registration. Part of the registration fee goes to fund the solicitors indemnity fund. That money is used to repay clients who have suffered loss due to fraud by individual solicitors or firm

Separately, your money will not go into a general fund, it will go into a separate client account from
which no deductions can be made without your prior approval. Cash-handling at firms is required by the Law Societies to be extremely tight and they carry out inspections to make sure this is the case It's not the case that solicitors can just order up random cheques or bank transfers wily nily. Sole practitioners do, admittedly, have more opportunities but - if they stole the money - then it would very quickly become obvious when your house purchase couldn't complete. So really they would need to steal it on the basis that that would be the end of their career and they would need to flee their home etc and become untraceable to avoid the police. So, I would say the risk of your solicitor stealing the money is relatively slim and you will be covered by the indemnity fund just in case.

However, what is key is to check Law Soc registration.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 01-Aug-15 08:18:56

Sorry - just seen that you have checked Law Soc reg!

WanttoFindWorkLifeBalance Sat 01-Aug-15 08:22:49

Thank you - very helpful. We are in England and yes I've double checked she's on the Law Society website. It feels ok overall - the fact she's been operating for a long time and has handled a few friends' purchases over the last 10 years or so we've lived in this area also helps my comfort level.

widget2015 Sat 01-Aug-15 08:23:43

Solicitors are required to keep client money in a separate account from the firms money and this is tightly regulated. In the unlikely event the money does go missing, the Law Society runs a compensation fund which will cover any losses.

mysteryfairy Sat 01-Aug-15 10:12:16

Although the safety of your cash has been explained I would check if your bank can take a diarised instruction so that you get the benefit of the credit interest for the two week period.

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