Meet the Staff – Solicitor Pamela Murdoch

Pamela Murdoch has become our latest full time solicitor after completing her traineeship in May this year.  Pamela started with Wallace Quinn as a part time Paralegal in 2017 while studying for her law degree at Strathclyde University.  After graduating Pamela was offered a traineeship and after completion of that in May, joined our Livingston office as a full time conveyancing solicitor.

Wallace Quinn Director Amy Ieropoulos says,

“I’m delighted that Pamela has joined us full time after completing her training programme with us.  Wallace Quinn has a history of rewarding hard work and offering opportunities to all staff and I’m looking forward to seeing Pamela develop her skills and experience with us in the years ahead.”

We caught up with Pamela for a chat recently:

Tell us about your route into the law?

I did my first degree in criminal justice and wanted to help offenders through the system and finish their sentences with the skills and support needed to rejoin society and that was a hugely rewarding experience.  However, I was very conscious I was dealing with people with complex problems and I was very young.  I decided to try something else for a while to get some life experience and ended up working in Administration at a law firm.  I could see a clear career path in the profession and decided to go back to university to study law.

How did you end up at Wallace Quinn?

I started as a part time Paralegal to get some experience while studying law.  The one thing I was clear about in my own head was that I didn’t want to become a criminal lawyer, but other than that I wasn’t really sure what area of law was for me.  I was tasked with assisting the conveyancing team and found I really liked it;  you’re helping people find and buy a home, which is very exciting and very rewarding.  That gave me the clarity I needed and I’m delighted to be qualified and embarking on the next step of my career.

Wallace Quinn is a very supportive firm and the Directors and great and approachable.  They have a great attitude to career advancement and I know there is a path all of the solicitors can charge to becoming Directors themselves in the future, which is appealing.  It’s also a nice environment to work and everybody gets on, so I enjoy coming to work in the morning.

What do you do when you’re not working with Wallace Quinn?

My husband and I enjoy hillwalking – we’ve bagged a few Munros and there are plenty more to keep us occupied for a few years.  We also love travelling, especially to the USA;  I love Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, the culture, the food – and I can’t wait to be able to get on a plane again and go for another visit!

Keys Estate Agents and Wallace Quinn – a one stop property shop for Glasgow’s East End and surrounding areas

In Glasgow and the west of Scotland, Wallace Quinn and Keys Estate Agents offer a joined up approach to property sales that is cost effective and delivers great results;  Keys provide the estate agency services and Wallace Quinn handle the legal conveyancing, meaning we offer our clients a one-stop shop for the entire property buying and selling journey.

Keys Estate Agents – a growing business

Pamela and Property Valuer David

Keys Estate Agents, under the leadership of Pamela McLeman, has gone from strength to strength in recent years.  Keys Estate Agents top the market-share leagues in many parts of the East End of Glasgow, thanks to a great attention to detail and glowing recommendations from happy property sellers. If you’re looking to buy or sell property in Glasgow’s East End and surrounding areas in particular, then Keys Estate Agents and Wallace Quinn should be your only choice.

Now is the time to sell

The last six months have seen record high prices.  Supply is low and demand is high, leading to a steep increase in final sale prices.  Activity levels are up, with multiple viewings leading to quick closing dates, helping achieve fantastic results for our clients.

A partnership that delivers results

Kayla, Susan, Michelle and Gillian

When you combine Wallace Quinn’s thirty years of conveyancing experience with the knowledge, expertise and proactivity of Keys Estate Agents, together we offer a market leading experience for our clients.  Our close working relationship allows us to be more efficient and effective, while great communication and attention to detail aims to deliver a seamless sales journey for our clients.

A bespoke, affordable property sales package

Every property has an ideal buyer willing to pay a premium price – we use our years of combined experience and market connections to match your property with that buyer.  We’ll create the perfect marketing package with a fixed fee agreed in advance.  Conveyancing fees, taxes and outlays are also set out and agreed in advance, meaning our clients know exactly what they’ll pay when their property is sold.

Get in touch

Whether you’re looking to sell immediately or looking for more information to help you on your property sales journey, get in touch now for a free, no obligation chat with Pamela and her team at Keys Estate Agents.

If you are looking to buy property and there is a closing date in the next 24 hours, please telephone to discuss

We’re delighted to be working hand in hand with Keys Estate Agents on behalf of our clients and are exciting to see our partnership grow and develop in the years ahead.  If you’re looking to sell property in Livingston and the East, we can help with that too – fill in the form above and we’ll be in touch.

Why now is the right time to set-up a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is an invaluable tool whatever your age.

There’s a common misconception that you only need a Power of Attorney later in life – a view based on the assumption that a Power of Attorney is only designed for use if and when you become incapacitated.

In fact, a Power of Attorney is an invaluable tool at any age, so much so that setting one up should be close to the top of any priority ‘to-do’ list.

Many scenarios, always handy

Despite assumptions to the contrary, it can be very useful to have a Power of Attorney in place even if you are perfectly capable of making decisions yourself.  Imagine, for example, that an accident suddenly and unexpectedly meant that you became bed bound for a period.  You are, of course, still perfectly capable of making decisions about your affairs, but it could be immensely useful to have someone with the authority to act on your behalf in circumstances where a face-to-face meeting away from home was necessary.

That could be handy in any number of circumstances.  Powers of Attorney have been used for generations to give a trusted friend or a professional adviser (like your solicitor) the ability to act on your behalf if you were going to be out of the country for long periods of time, so if your job takes you abroad or you might start working overseas or you own property elsewhere, a Power of Attorney is a valuable way of helping you to manage your affairs at home while you are away.

Comment Misconceptions

Of course, the idea that a Power of Attorney is really only appropriate as you get older arose because a key purpose of a Power of Attorney is to make provision in the event that you are incapacitated, by illness or by an accident.  And it’s true that the risks of your becoming incapacitated rise as life goes on.  But accidents and unexpected illnesses can happen at any age and when we least expect them.  If you put-off setting up a Power of Attorney, it could well be too late to set one up after you realise that you need one.

But while there might be a disadvantage in not having a Power of Attorney, there’s no advantage in delaying setting one up.  Once a Power of Attorney is in place, it can remain in the background – only to be activated if required, but otherwise inert with no effect on your decisions.  It’s the only insurance policy you are likely to find that doesn’t charge premiums.

Another misconception about Powers of Attorney that often makes people hesitate to set one up is the myth that, once one is in place, you can lose control of your affairs.  You can certainly set-up a Power of Attorney so that others can act on your behalf while you are hale and hearty – and that can have advantages.  But how your Power of Attorney actually works is entirely a matter for you.

Different Types of Powers of Attorney

It helps here to understand that there are two types of Power of Attorney.  One is known as a ‘Continuing’ Power of Attorney and deals with your financial affairs and the other is a ‘Welfare’ Power of Attorney that deals with your care and any medical treatment. The Welfare Power of Attorney only comes into force when you are incapacitated.  You can set it up at any time, but your appointed attorney can only use it when you are unable to make decisions yourself.

But for a Continuing Power of Attorney, you decide under what circumstances it comes in to effect and what your appointed attorney is empowered to do.  You can, for example, specify that it only comes into force when you are incapacitated, and you can specify that your attorney is not allowed to sell precious family heirlooms.  How you want it to work is up to you.

Don’t leave it until it is too late

The only problem with Powers of Attorney is that too often people find they need one before they have set one up.  The alternative, which involves your family applying to manage your affairs through a Guardianship order, is stressful, time consuming,  expensive and you don’t get the chance to decide who among your family members can exercise the powers of a guardian.  The obvious solution is to set-up a Power of Attorney well in advance – which is why the best age to set one up is whatever age you are now.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about Powers of Attorney, fill in this form and we’ll get back in touch to discuss.

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Planning for Long Term Care

This article featured in our June 2021 newsletter.

Many people are worried, as they grow older, about what will happen if they need to go into long-term care. We need to be very careful not to get caught up in the hype about going into care as you grow older. Statistically speaking, only 4% of those who are over 65 years are in residential care. That means 96% are not! Of those who are over 85 years of age, around 15% of those are in residential care. Again, that means a very large percentage (85%) of those over 85 years of age are not in social care. Taken against the average lifespan in Scotland, if you’re reached 85 years of age, you’ve already beaten the average lifespan for both men and women!

All of that being said, there is still a concern that if you have to have residential care that your assets will be depleted to pay for it. We’re frequently asked what can be done to prevent assets being used to pay for residential care. In this article, we outline some options for your consideration.

How your contribution will be assessed

Before doing that, we should consider the assessment of your contribution. You’ll have to declare any gifts you’ve made within the 6 months before this assessment takes place. You also have to disclose if you’ve disposed of your house before you entered into care. It is important to be aware that the information relating to the disposal of your house applies even if you sold or transferred the title to your house to a relative many years before the assessment takes place.

If you have capital over a certain level (including the value of your house), you’ll be assessed as being able to meet the full cost of your care. However, your home will not be classed as capital if certain relatives still live there.

What are some of my options?

The focus clients have when discussing this subject invariably ends up being on the house and what can be done to avoid it being sold to pay for residential care. Here are some things you might think about if you are worried about this.

  • You could consider gifting your house to your children. There are inherent dangers in doing that because once you transfer title to them, they can sell the house from under you. Alternatively, if they’re declared bankrupt the house will have to be sold to meet their debts. If they were to divorce from their spouse or dissolve their civil partnership, the house may have to be sold as part of the settlement with the former spouse or partner. In either case, the house would be lost and you would lose the right to live in it. To prevent this happening, you could reserve a liferent in the house. This gives you the right to live in the house until your death. However, if you are assessed for residential care, the existence of a liferent in the title might indicate that the transfer of the property to your children was not a genuine “gift”.
  • As an alternative to transferring the house to your children, you might consider transferring it into a Discretionary Trust. By doing that, you will no longer own the house. It would also preserve your right to continue to live in the house. In addition, the trust would not become bankrupt or get divorced! However, if you do decide to transfer your house into a Trust, you must be very clear that the aim isn’t simply to avoid the cost of residential care, especially if it happens within 6 months of your going into residential care as the local authority could challenge the transfer of the property into the Trust.
  • You may decide, as you get older, to realise some of the capital locked up in your house. You might consider a lifetime mortgage or other equity release vehicle which would allow you to “cash in” on your house whilst still living in it. There are various different types of lifetime mortgages available, some of which allow you to “roll up” the interest so you don’t have to make any payments. Because this is a commercial transaction, should you require residential care, it is unlikely that the local authority would challenge the arrangement although the value of your house after deduction of the outstanding balance to the lender would still be taken into account.
  • Another option you might care to consider is to take out insurance. If you did this and required residential care, the insurance policy would pay out a regular income which could be used to offset the cost of your care. If you did have sufficient income from this source, there would be no need for the local authority to carry out a means assessment. The premiums for this type of insurance depend on your age and state of health when you take the insurance out.

Get in touch for more information

There is no “one size fits all” solution to this problem and when we are asked for advice in this area, we will ask for as much information as possible to be made available. We should also say that there may well be issues of Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax that need to be addressed.

Remember the percentages. In real terms, very few of the elderly will actually require residential care. However, if you are worried about this and would like to discuss how you might plan for the future – whether it’s for yourself or a relative – please get in touch.

 







    Meet the Team – Solicitor Maureen Jackson

    Solicitor Maureen Jackson joined Wallace Quinn earlier this year to work in our Equity Release Department.  We caught up with her for a chat in our Glasgow office recently.

    Tell us about your route into law?

    I was originally at university studying chemistry and physics, but realised in my second year that I did not have a passion for it. I enjoyed following politics and current affairs so I changed course and studied Law at Edinburgh University and did a postgraduate at Glasgow becoming a lawyer in 2006.

    You’re working in Equity Release here at Wallace Quinn;  what does a typical day look like?

    Like everybody else, I was office based initially however happily now I am able to be out and about more. Many of our clients require or appreciate a home visit. As an Equity Release solicitor I help home owners turn some of the value, or equity, of property into cash to help them financially in retirement.  As long as they are over 55 and own their own home, if they have had financial advice then I can talk them through the legal implications and obligations and if the product is right for the homeowners circumstances, progress all of the legal requirements from start to finish.

    What does a typical Equity Release client look like?

    There isn’t one!  Every client is unique and that’s one of the things I like about the job – you’re really helping people understand their options and the advantages and disadvantages as it relates to their individual circumstances.  The more I do this job the more I realise people approach retirement differently and equity release can play a role in providing an income in later life.

    I’m at an age where I’m much more aware of the need to plan for retirement and I think that helps me empathise and understand where clients are coming from with their questions and their thinking around equity release.

    What do you do when you’re not working?

    Family life fills much of my spare time, which I love, probably just as well given the last year we have had. I like reading newspapers and I’ll look through as many as possible over breakfast every day.  I like politics and current affairs;  my son is studying politics and history at university, and I think he probably got the bug for it listening to his dad and me talk so much about it!

    What do you like about working at Wallace Quinn?

    Everybody seems happy and friendly which makes for a great working environment.  Wallace Quinn is a growing business and that’s fun to be a part of, especially in equity release which is starting to interest more and more clients.  Wallace Quinn’s approach to customer service is excellent;  I have the time and space to connect with clients, often in their homes, to ensure we’re providing the best possible advice and service.


    Find our more about equity release or get in touch if you would like to find out more:

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    Cyber Security – beware of scammers

    At the start of each transaction, we ask clients to confirm details through a cyber-secure system and we also write to clients through the post with important information.

    We will NEVER contact you by telephone or email asking you to change our bank account details.  We will NEVER ask you to provide payment by any other means other than a bank transfer.

    Criminals are developing more and more sophisticated ways to try and defraud us.  We are doing all that we can to protect your information and ask that you approach interactions, particularly regarding money transfers, with a similar level of caution.

    If something doesn’t feel right, sound right or look right, trust your instinct and verify before proceeding.  Wallace Quinn staff will never take it personally if you say you want to interrupt a conversation to verify something.

    If you have any comments or questions about this communication, please get it touch to discuss – by whatever communication method you feel most comfortable using.