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5 Questions To Ask Your Prospective Legal Representative When Buying Property Abroad

Neil Heaney, CEO of Judicare Group provides five questions that overseas property buyers should ask their prospective legal representative.

1.       Are you independent?

It is vital that your legal representative is independent and is acting for you and in your best interests rather than for the seller, developer or estate agent. Often agents or developers will encourage you to use their 'recommended lawyer' or worse still suggest that a lawyer is not required. The reason for this - they want you to use somebody that they can control or with whom they have a mutually beneficial relationship. This is not in your best interest. As in the UK you need somebody who is acting purely for you.

2.      Do you understand the legal system in which the property sits or where you wish to do business and also in the UK?

There are several advantages to using a firm that understands both sets of laws. First of all they will understand the interaction between the “foreign” legal system and that in the UK – particularly when it comes to inheritance and tax issues. This can avoid implementing legal solutions which may be right for a local client but may not necessarily be right for somebody from another country. It also means that the legal representative can explain things to you in terms that you understand and make comparisons with the UK legal system to make your understanding easier.

3.      How much experience do you have in this type of work?

Your chosen lawyer needs to know much more than the law and the theory.  Experience in the particular field in which you require help is just as important as technical knowledge and in some cases even more important. It is vital to know what practices and techniques the other party is likely to use and to know the custom of that country and area. It is also essential that the firm understands the common scams that happen and has the experience to have seen the 'cycle of scams' come around again.

4.      How much experience do you have in dealing with British clients?

Not all clients are the same and British clients have definite expectations of their lawyer.  They expect regular updates from their legal representatives and clear explanations as to costs. They also expect detailed written advice. The expectations of British clients can be very different from the expectations of a foreign lawyer.

5.      Can they speak English?

Not so much a question, but something to consider. By “speaking English” we don’t just mean speaking the words, but also explaining things in terms that you understand rather than just a literal translation of the words. Sometimes a literal translation of words can give an incorrect idea as to what the situation is. In other cases words can look very similar but have slightly different meanings in different languages.

Judicare Group is an international legal firm providing a wide range of legal services such as conveyancing and commercial litigation on and specialising in property investment recovery.   In this role it works solely on behalf of buyers (not developers or agents) helping them to seek compensation in the event of problems with the purchase of a property overseas. 

The company has a network of lawyers around the world and currently has client cases in fourteen international jurisdictions Bulgaria,Brazil, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Dominican Republic,, Egypt, Greece, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Turks & Caicos Islands and the UAE. It has a track record of recovering money for clients and focuses on the best course of action to deliver the optimum outcome for its clients and not ‘litigating for litigation’s sake’.

For further information please contact Tel: 01438 840 258

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