There are all sorts of occasions when a person might need to have legal advice. Firstly there is house buying – generally this is likely to be the only time when a family gets involved with a solicitor of any sort. They are instructed as soon as a buyer has their offer to buy a property accepted. The estate agent or developer will ask for their solicitors details and the ball rolls on from there. The solicitor handles the purchase and once the buyer has his mortgage or other financial arrangement in place; they make ‘searches’ which are many enquiries of the local government departments – to ensure the house is the sellers to legally sell to the buyer; that there isn’t any outstanding legal hold on the building; that there are no planning issues in the pipeline that would affect the property etc. etc. They also ensure the deeds are available before drawing up the contracts to exchange.