The appointment of a competent conveyancer is all important

Repeating a warning that she has given at least once before, Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, said that recent experience has shown again that sellers should never cede their right to nominate the attorney handling their conveyancing. Equally important, they should not be pressured by family, emotional or other factors into allowing relatively unqualified attorneys to handle this important work.

“The claim that all attorneys are au fé with conveyancing law is simply not true,” said Steward. “Many who have focussed on other legal fields are out of touch.”

All too often, said Steward, endless delays will ensue because a seller will decide to award the conveyancing task to a friend or relation who sometimes, to make matters more difficult, lives in another centre or “has moved to Blikkiesville or beyond”.

In these circumstances, the appointed attorney will often delegate the conveyancing to another, causing further delays.

If, said Steward, the purchaser requests that another attorney be involved (usually because he has offered his services at a discount), it is possibly acceptable if on the Offer To Purchase documents it is clearly stipulated that the seller will still appoint the conveyancing attorney.

“Sellers,” said Steward, “have to be reminded that the attorney’s duty is to protect the person by whom he is appointed – no matter who is actually paying for his services. It is important that the seller has the attorney “on his side” – and that that attorney is competent as he has to protect the seller’s assets.”

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