Property

Where should property sale proceeds be sent if the seller lives abroad?

I’m a trainee solicitor. My sister (who resides abroad) is selling her property in London. Her solicitor has advised that the firm must send the sale proceeds to a UK bank account that she has had for at least 12 months. Is this correct?

Step three of the Conveyancing Protocol requires solicitors acting for the seller to:

“Obtain instructions for dealing with remittance of gross/net sale proceeds and details provided by the seller of UK bank accounts for remittance of proceeds.

“Obtain evidence that the bank account is properly constituted as an account conducted by the seller for a period of at least 12 months.

“Confirm that remittance will be made to that account only.”

This requirement has been included in the protocol following Dreamvar (UK) Limited v Mischon de Reya (and others) [2018] EWCA Civ 1082 to give added protection that the sale proceeds are transferred to the correct person.

Use of the protocol is mandatory for Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) firms and is considered preferred practice to all others.

However, solicitors are bound by professional obligations to their clients throughout the transaction.

There may be instances where a solicitor should use their professional judgement, as they are required to act in the best interests of each client. Those obligations will take precedence over the protocol.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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