Neill Clerk & Murray - Our Services

Neill Clerk and Murray services in Greenock and throughout Inverclyde.

  • Wills, Trusts and Executries


    A Will is an important part in ensuring your assets are distributed and dealt with the way you wish following your death. Whether you are thinking about making your will or updating your current will, we can provide you with assistance and guidance from everything from a straightforward will to a complex trust deed.

    Why Should I have a will? 

    Everyone should have a professionally prepared will. It is estimated that around one third of people in the UK die without having made a valid will and without one the cost and time taken to administer your estate after your death could increase signficantly.  It could also lead to additional worry and stress for your loved ones during an already difficult time.

    By making a will you decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death. It is the only way you can ensure your estate is passed onto the people you wish.  Seeking legal advice from Neill Clerk & Murray can also help you to minimise the portion of inheritance tax that is paid on your death.

    While it is easy to delay the preparation of a will, the benefits of having a professionally prepared will cannot be underestimated.

    Can I draft my Own Will?

    Although it is possible to make a will yourself, this is not advisable. For example, the forms you can fill in online can look simple but it is very easy to make a mistake which can invalidate the will.  There are numerous legal requirements which must be complied with in order to make a will valid. If these requirements are not fulfilled then the validity of the will can be challenged and this can result in a lengthy and expensive process. In addition, it can result in the will being considered unacceptable and this will result in your estate being dealt with by the laws of intestacy rather than how you would have wished.

    What happens if I die without making a will?

    Dying without a will can lead to many problems and can cause a great deal of delay, expense and distress to your loved ones who are left to deal with your estate.  If you die without leaving a valid will, instead of your estate being divided as you would have wanted, your estate is distributed under the laws of intestacy.  This can result in complications and the laws of intestacy do not adequately account for modern family situations, for example:-

    • It can result in huge problems for unmarried partners, particularly where children are involved.  If you are living together with your partner but are not married your partner does not have automatic right to your assets;
    • Even if you are married the whole estate does not necessarily go to the surviving husband or wife;
    • If you die with no will and have no relatives your estate will pass to the crown;
    • If you have children and have no will or nominated guardians for your children then the court will decide who will look after them if you pass away;
    • The laws of intestacy do not make provision for children from a previous marriage or step families;
    • It can open up the possibility of long and protracted legal battles between friends, partners and relatives;
    • When there is no will you cannot state at which age you wish young beneficiaries to inherit. For example, if you have young grandchildren you could state in your will that you do not wish them to inherit until they reach the age of 21 - if there is no will they will be able to inherit at 16;
    • Without a will your wishes could be completely ignored;
    • Additional costs and delays are incurred when winding up an intestate estate when there is no will.

    What is an Executor?

    Making a will allows you to nominate a suitable person to deal with your affairs when you pass away, someone you know and trust.  This person is responsible for winding up your estate.  It is a common misconception that the executor cannot benefit from the estate, but this is not the case.  For instance, your spouse can be your executor and they can also be the sole beneficiary of your estate.  If you do not have a valid will then the court will appoint an executor based on the laws of intestacy rather than on your personal preference.

    Your will does not take effect until your death and therefore it is possible to make amendments to your will at any point in the future. In fact, it is strongly recommended that your will should be reviewed every few years or on any change of personal circumstances, for example, marriage in the family, additional children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews. Perhaps someone who is named in your will has passed away or you simply no longer wish to have them named as a beneficiary.

    The benefits of having a will are significant. Not only will you have peace of mind that it is the people who you have chosen that will both deal with and benefit from your estate, but also that your loved ones will not have the added stress and costs involved with dealing with an intestate estate.

    Executry Services

    We also provide Executry services to help you with the administration and winding up of an estate whether or not a will has been left. We recognise that this is can be a difficult time and provide that personal touch to ensure that everything is dealt with in a sensitive and professional manner.

  • Residential and Commercial Property

    We offer a full range of residential and commercial services and with our extensive knowledge of the legal world our solicitors can be of service in a number of situations, whether you are purchasing your first home, selling your current home, buying a property to rent out, or looking to buy or lease commercial premises for your business.

    We are able to draw on our years of experience in the property markets to ensure that you are given our expert advice and guidance in negotiating for that important purchase or lease and making sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible from start to finish.

    In addition to dealing with the conveyancing aspect of property, our estate agency Neill Clerk Estate Agents offer a full range of estate agency and letting services. We are the foremost and largest independent estate agents in Inverclyde and have an experienced team of valuers and negotiators. Although based in Inverclyde we can, and do, sell property anywhere within Scotland – and we would encourage you to use us when considering selling or letting your property.

  • Powers of Attorney and Guardianships

    A Power of Attorney allows you to authorise another, usually a trusted relative or friend, to act on your behalf to deal with your affairs. It is important to ensure that the document gives effect to your wishes. A Power of Attorney can be granted to deal with financial matters and with your permission can be operated at any time eg. if you were abroad and needed someone to manage your affairs in this country, or to make decisions with regard to your welfare but only when you no longer have capacity to make these decisions yourself. One Power of Attorney document can be drawn up to deal with both financial and welfare powers. You can only grant a Power of Attorney if you have the capacity to understand the Power of Attorney document you are signing.

    If you do not have capacity to grant a Power of Attorney, it may be necessary to apply to the court for a Guardianship Order. This can be time consuming and costly and it may therefore be prudent to consider granting a Power of Attorney to avoid loved ones the inconvenience, anxiety and delay of having to apply to court.

    If a Guardianship order is necessary, we have many years experience dealing with Guardianship applications and can assist you through the process.

  • Employment Law

    We advise both Employers and Employees on all aspects of Employment Law including contracts of employment, compliance with legislation, disciplinary and grievance procedures, redundancy including compromise agreements, unfair dismissal and discrimination.

  • Divorce and Separation

    Reaching a point in your marriage where you decide that the relationship is at an end, with no prospect for reconciliation can be a harrowing and stressful time. There may be financial aspects to consider, a jointly owned home, or any property bought in the course of the marriage, a business, savings, debts and pension all require to be taken into account and considered at the breakdown of a relationship.

    There are a number of options to be considered, separation, a potential legal agreement and a court action, contentious or non contentious are all paths down which you may decide to tread.

    There are a number of grounds which can form the basis of divorce in Scotland. We can advise you about these and how they may be applicable to your circumstances.

    We can assist you in all aspects of Divorce and Separation.

  • Contact and Residence, Parental Rights and Responsibilities and Parentage

    When a relationship breaks down, arrangements require to be made in respect of the day to day welfare and wellbeing of any children born of that relationship. The Scottish Legal System uses the term “Residence” to describe where, or in practical terms, with whom any such children should live. The term “Contact” describes how much time the child spends with the parent or carer with whom they do not live. In many cases parents and carers of children will be able to make appropriate arrangements without the need for any involvement by a Solicitor.

    However, in many other cases, agreement is not easily reached. We are available to advise on the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers following the breakdown of a relationship. We can advise on the issue of child maintenance and assist you in formulating a written agreement to regulate contact residence and maintenance. In cases where agreement cannot be reached, we are able to offer assistance by way of representation in a court action, through the auspices of Legal Aid if that is available to you in your particular circumstances.

    In the event that parentage is disputed by either parent we can advise on the legal presumptions about parentage which may be in place and also about how to challenge those presumptions and ultimately obtain court orders to negate them if necessary.

  • Children's Referrals and Hearings

    Our legal system of Children's Referrals and Children's Hearings is envied, copied and drawn on worldwide. It can also be complex to the families who are the users of it. The system is constructed to assist the children and families who are considered to be in need help and support. The process can impact on many families both for those who require short term support or on a longer term basis. 

    The process begins when the Children's Reporter receives a report from any one of a number of sources, Social Work Services, the Police, Schools, Nurseries, friends, family or neighbours. The report will often be in the context that a particular problem has arisen with a child or family as a unit.  The problem can take many forms might be that the child has committed a crime; or has gotten in with a poor set of friends; or hasn't gone to school; alternatively, the child might have been neglected, or have been abused.  The Reporter asks the Children's Hearing to consider the circumstances of the case.  It is the role of the Children’s Hearing to consider the whole circumstances of the case, reach a view on whether the problem is one which requires to be address by the hearing and the local authority and thereafter to make decisions designed to support the family and / or carers of the child.

    It is important to receive legal advice right from the outset. Although the Children’s Hearing system is designed to be informal, attendance at a children’s hearing can be very daunting. It is also the case that court procedure in the form of Referrals and Appeals can flow from such hearings and sound legal advice from the outset can ensure that you are fully aware of your rights in relation to this important system of legal procedure.

  • Claims by Co-Habitees on the Breakdown of a Relationship

    In Scotland many people believe that living with someone for a significant period is the same or equivalent to being married to them. This is not the case. Recent legislation has given such people (cohabitees) rights to make claims on the assets and property of the other in very specific circumstances.

    Such claims can only be made within a relatively short period of time, from the date upon which you cease to live together or separate and accordingly it is very important to ensure you secure sound advice in the early days after separation to allow you to be fully aware of your rights and obligations

    If your circumstances allow you to make such a claim, we will be happy to assist you and represent your interests fully to ensure any such claim is fully representative of your personal circumstances.

  • Adoption

    Adoption is a formal legal process in which all the rights and responsibilities relating to a child are transferred to the adoptive parents. If an adoption order is granted by a court, it makes you, the adopter, the child's legal parent.

    • the child's birth parents will no longer have any responsibilities or rights for the child
    • the court order is permanent and cannot be reversed, except in very rare circumstances
    • only a child under 18 who has never been married or in a civil partnership can be adopted.

    We can assist in all aspects of adoption including advising you about the procedure set down by law and also in guiding you through that process from start to finish.

  • Specific implement, Interdict and Protective Orders

    These are terms used to define court orders which force someone to carry out, or to refrain from carrying out a particular act. They have application in many legal scenarios including, but not limited to, personal safety, abuse and property rights and obligations.

  • Recovery of Tenancies in cases of rent arrears, contractual breach and nuisance behaviour

    Are you a landlord or management agent? Do you need sound advice on recovery of a flat, house or property. We can assist you in all aspects of that recovery including the service of notices, raising of courts actions and representation in same to their conclusion.

    There are no less than 18 grounds for recovering possession of a property in Scots Law. We are able to advise you on which of the grounds you can seek recovery on and to assist you in the process of actually recovering that property from your tenant.

  • Debt Recovery including Small Claims and Summary Cause Matters

    Does someone owe you money for a loan or services or goods provided? Have they failed to make payment of sums due as a result of debt, goods or services? The Sheriff Courts of Scotland provide a system to allow you to ask the court to make orders about money owed to you. Obtaining a court order is often the first step to allow you to take enforcement procedures including arrestment of wages, property and other methods (known as diligence). We can assist you in the entire process from start to finish.

    Similarly, is someone claiming you owe money for goods, services or a loan which is not due? Has the service or goods been defective, not supplied, or not fit for purpose? We can assist you in defending such applications at all levels.

  • Property Boundary and Ownership Disputes

    Do you own a property in which you have difficulties with a neighbour in relation to the boundary between your properties? Are there aspects to your title Deeds in terms of your rights and obligations with which you require advice and assistance? We are available to assist with all matters relative to the nature and extent of your property.

  • Fatal Accident Inquiries

    Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs) are held under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976. An inquiry must be held in cases of death in custody in Prisons or Police Stations or as a result of an accident at work.

    The purpose of an FAI is not to apportion blame for the death in either the civil or criminal sense. An FAI may be held in other cases of sudden, suspicious or unexplained death, or death in circumstances that give rise to serious public concern. Decisions on whether these discretionary inquiries are held are made by the Lord Advocate.

    A Fatal Accident Inquiry is essentially a fact-finding exercise carried out in the public interest. The purpose of an FAI is to determine:

    • Where and when the death took place
    • The cause of the death
    • Reasonable precautions whereby the death might have been avoided
    • The defects, if any, in any system of working which contributed to the death or any accident resulting in the death
    • Any other relevant facts relevant to the circumstances of the death.

    If you are notified of such an Inquiry by the Procurator Fiscal following the death of a family member, you will be entitled to attend the hearing and be represented if you wish. You may require advice in understanding the procedure and advice regarding any outcome. We are able to assist in all aspects of Fatal Accidents Inquiries.

  • Accident Claims in association with Digby Brown Solicitors and Compensate

    Accidents happen every day. They can be expensive, painful and hugely inconvenient. Sometimes accidents could have been avoided if the person causing the accident had not been negligent. It is your right if, because of this accident, you have suffered injury and damage to your person or belongings that the negligent party pays you just compensation - in many cases this will be the other party’s insurance company.

    At Neill Clerk and Murray we are delighted to be able to offer clients a very high level of service with a local connection, us!

    Digby Brown Solicitors have been helping people involved in accidents in Scotland for over 100 years. They own and operate Compensate, which is the trading name of Compensation Claims Funding Limited. Compensate is an insurance scheme which Digby Brown uses to fund No win No fee personal injury cases.  It allows them to use the best expert witnesses, fully investigate your case and where necessary litigate to ensure you receive fair and prompt compensation. 

    Accident claims have become a very specialised area of the law. At Neill Clerk and Murray we want you to have access to the best expert witnesses and, where possible with no risk to you in terms of expensive outlays and legal fees. That is why we have an alliance with a specialist claims firm that can offer you the opportunity of a no win no fee scenario whilst still maintaining a local connection for you.

  • Licensing

    We can advise on all aspects of licensing, including Liquor Licensing (where we deal with Premises Licence Applications, Transfers and Variations and Personal Licence Applications), Gaming Licensing (where we can offer a complete Betting Premises service) and Lotteries and Amusements (where we deal with all types of applications).  This is a full service for all types of licensing, from the initial preparation of the application to the appearance at the Licensing Board.

  • Services For Business

    We provide a full range of services to Business clients including advising on:-

    • Employment Law
    • Buying and Selling Commercial Property and Businesses
    • Commercial Leases on behalf of Landlords and Tenants
    • Company Law
    • Licensing Law
    • Partnerships
    • Debt Recovery
    • Drawing Up of Contracts
  • Elderly Care Advice

    We offer advice to elderly clients and their families over a full range of issues including:-

    • Wills
    • Powers of Attorney
    • Guardianship
    • Inheritance Planning
    • Long Term Care Issues
    • Residential and Nursing Home Fees

Neill Clerk Estate Agents

We also established
Neill Clerk Estate Agents in 1989 and provide a full range of estate agency and property leasing services.

3 Ardgowan Square
PA16 8NW
t: 01475 724522
f: 01475 784339
Estate Agency
60 West Blackhall Street
PA16 8NW
t: 01475 888400
f: 01475 888500
e: (property)
e: (leasing)
legal aid