Online information is no substitute for expert professional advice
The increasing availability online of all types of advice has undoubtedly encouraged many people to ‘go it alone’ when dealing with a wide variety of issues.
As solicitors, all too often we meet with clients who need our help to sort out a problem that could have been avoided if professional advice had been heeded at the outset – and it is not unusual for the costs of resolving such issues to exceed by far the costs of seeking timely expert advice.
Examples include clients who decide they would like to alter their professionally-drafted wills. If this is not done correctly the changes may be ineffective or, worse still, render the will invalid. Even if the changes seem to be effective, they may pave the way for future challenges that can result in costly litigation.
It is a common misconception that, by simply marking letters from the court as ‘addressee gone away’ or ‘no longer at this address’ and returning all correspondence, it is possible to avoid court proceedings. The Civil Procedure Rules allow for service at a last-known address and, by such action, you can find yourself with a county court judgement against you. Whilst it may be possible to apply for such a judgement to be set aside, this process can take many months and success is by no means guaranteed. In the meantime, you are likely to suffer from an adverse credit rating, making it very difficult to obtain credit such as a mortgage or a loan.
Even if you have genuinely moved away, it is always prudent to ensure your post is redirected. Failure to do so, especially if you suspect a dispute is likely, may lead to important post not getting through. And spare a thought for cyclist Robert Hazeldean who, although found only partly-responsible for the injuries of a pedestrian, faced a huge bill. Had he been professionally advised and represented the situation could have been very different.
Consulting a solicitor may not be your cheapest option and sometimes the Citizens’ Advice Bureau is a good starting point. It is always a good idea to ask yourself how much time, stress and money it could cost if it goes wrong – the cost of seeing an experienced, independent solicitor might just turn out to be good value and money well spent.General, George Ide, News