Why Do Solicitors Need To Check My Identity?
Posted on 26th June 2020
When you instruct a Property Conveyancing Solicitor to act on your behalf with a residential or commercial property transfer, sale or purchase, they will always ask you for proof of your identity and your current address. Quite often, this can seem like a chore, however there are a number of reasons why our Property Solicitors ask for this information and why it’s important to help protect everyone involved in the transaction.
First things first, our Property Conveyancing Solicitors need to check that you are actually the person that you have said that you are and – in addition – that you are the person who is supposed to be involved in that particular transaction. You must be legally entitled to either transfer, buy or sell the property or land that you are attempting to.
Sadly, property fraud is becoming all too common, so that’s why our team of Property Solicitors in Preston and Lancaster remain vigilant, up-to-date on all current ‘popular’ property scams, and property all of our clients with thorough identity checks.
How could a property transaction be fraudulent?
Well, one of the most commonly seen property scams which fraudsters carry out, is by impersonating the real owner of a property, to sell a property that they do not own. They then receive the net proceeds of sale from the property, and transfer this out and away before the real owner realises what has happened.
Who checks the identity of the sellers?
Well, prior to the case of Mishcon de Reya, many Property Conveyancing Solicitors would be under the impression that it was the responsibility of the seller’s Property solicitors to confirm the identity of their own client (the seller). However, following Dreamvar v Mischcon De Reya and others, the world of property law was shaken up by the Court’s decision to hold the buyer’s solicitors liable for their client’s losses, after failing to properly check the identity of the sellers themselves.
At MG Legal, our expert Property Conveyancing Solicitors in Preston and Lancaster always verify all parties’ identities and entitlement to be involved in any transaction prior to exchange or completion of any sale, purchase or transfer.
What else are identity checks used for in Property transactions?
Well, as every Property Conveyancing Solicitor is also obligated to carry out Money Laundering Checks, verifying our client’s identity is used within these checks, too.
What ID will I be asked to provide?
Our Property Solicitors in Lancaster and Preston will ask you to attend your local office and provide one form of photographic ID and one form of proof of address.
For most people now-a-days, this is not any issue, as many people have a Passport, Driving Licence, Armed Forces Card or a Gun Licence with their photo on, and the majority of people are able to provide a recent document showing their name and address (such as a bank statement, utility bill or council tax invoice).
If, for whatever reason, a client is unable to provide these, you can contact our Property Conveyancing Solicitors to discuss what alternative proof of your identity is acceptable, here.
Will my ID be required for other legal matters?
Yes; all of our departments at MG Legal (including our Personal Injury Compensation Claim Solicitors, our Family and Divorce Solicitors and our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate solicitors) will always ask for your ID, too. However, if you are an existing client of the firm who has recently provided another department with your ID, we may not need to see it again immediately.
What if I do not live locally to an office?
Our Property Conveyancing Solicitors will explain your options for providing ID to you. Normally, we would recommend visiting a local post office, who can certify your ID and you can then just forward the copies to one of our three offices; Garstang, Lancaster or Longridge.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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