OK, there are a couple of things you need to get your head around.
First is that the title and mortgage are unrelated. Just because you're on title doesn't mean that you have to be on the mortgage. You can be on the mortgage without being on title. Title is about ownership of the property. Mortgage is about who pays for the loan taken out to buy the property.
You can't just take your friend's name off of title. What you're doing is transferring ownership from the two of you jointly to yourself solely. And if there are any encumbrances on title like a mortgage, those have to be discharged before title can be transferred. It's the same as when you and your friend bought the property. Your current situation is no different.
The mortgage renewal is coming up. So the first thing is to see if you can renew the mortgage in your own name solely. The bank doesn't have to agree to do that, because without your friend on the mortgage it's less secure for them. The bank might not agree to refinance with just you holding the mortgage, they might want a cosigner. If the bank won't co-operate, you will need to shop around to other banks, credit unions, or mortgage brokers.
If the bank will co-operate, then talk to the bank about doing the transfer at the same time as the property renewal. Banks have legal departments, and frequently they can handle simple real estate transactions for competitive fee. If your bank doesn't provide that option then call the real estate lawyer. It's not complicated to do.
The reason why you get different answers from the bank and from the real estate lawyer is the former can tell you about the mortgage and latter about title. And those are different things.
Does that make sense? Please reply with question or comment. If I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.