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How safe is my money in my conveyancing lawyer´s account?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

29th of July 2002

Q. I am preparing to purchase a house in Spain and my spanish lawyers have requested that I transfer the funds from the UK to their Customer Account. The vendors will then be paid from that account. How secure is my money in their account? If the lawyers have financial difficulties or even go out of business during the purchase process, could I lose my money? Many thanks.


    A. It is unlikely that if the lawyers have financial difficulties your funds will be compromised. This account is not a personal account, but a mere client holding account (to ease the process of purchasing property and other matters), and therefore if the scenario happened, creditors would be restrained to the personal accounts of the members of the firm.

    This is however only an opinion, as I have never come across a similar situation. Also, customers are protected against legal wrongdoings from their lawyers, by means of a professional indemnity insurance.

    However, if you still feel uneasy, you are able to have an account opened in the bank of your choice, where your funds will be deposited. You can then operate the account either by fax or email, whether it is making transfers, ordering bankers drafts, setting up direct debits etc.

    This is a perfectly legitimate decision and it should not be seen as being a shortage of trust to your lawyers, as what you are trying to avoid is a situation which is unwanted and unpredictable, yet unlikely.

    You should be able to instruct your representatives to open an account on your behalf, and forward by courier all the relevant current account (or similar) contractual documents, for you to sign and send back.

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