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Legal Articles

Jun 17

Power of Attorney Fees Fall

With the recent furore over the Government's proposed increase in the cost of obtaining probate on larger estates, currently on ice owing to lack of parliamentary time in the run...

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Jun 17

Danger of Subletting Exposed as Court Orders Flat Sale

Owning a long leasehold, particularly one in a block of flats or which is part of a larger development, can be very different from owning a freehold. Typically the obligations...

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Jun 17

Uninsured Drivers and Compensation Claims

When accidents cause damage or injury and the responsible driver is uninsured, a claim can be made to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB), an organisation financed by motor insurers with...

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Jun 17

Tax Law No Respecter of (Cultural) Tradition

An argument that assets which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said belonged to a deceased man (and were thus subject to Inheritance Tax) were actually owned in whole or in...

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Jun 17

High Court Encourages Social Workers to Make Use of Facebook

In the Internet era, it is wholly acceptable to use Facebook or other social media to make contact with those who have to be notified of family proceedings. The High...

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Jun 17

Cocktail of Drugs Not Sufficient to Overturn Will

Disputes about the validity of wills frequently centre on allegations that the deceased lacked 'mental capacity' when they created a will. In a recent case, the court had to consider whether...

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May 17

Noise Is Not the Only Form of Disturbance – High Court Ruling

Disturbance can take many forms and noise is just one of them. Planners made that point in heeding the concerns of residents of a quiet cul-de-sac and scotching plans for...

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May 17

Indemnity Insurance Comes to the Rescue in Identity Fraud Case

On the rare occasion that a professional adviser makes a mistake or behaves improperly, clients should be able to be confident of being compensated in full. A recent case shows...

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May 17

Financial Advice to Become More Common?

We have often written about the dangers of taking advice from unqualified and/or unregulated advisers. A recent change in the regulations surrounding financial advice will cause some concern for those...

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May 17

Giving Up Your Career to Get Married? Think Twice!

A person who voluntarily prioritises their marriage over their working life may not be entitled to compensation for the earnings foregone if their relationship ends in divorce. The Court of...

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May 17

Assets of Elderly Are Target of Wrongdoers

Where there is money, there is opportunity for wrongdoing and a steady stream of cases show that vigilance is needed to prevent the assets of the deceased or elderly being...

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May 17

Court Urges Simplification of 'Right to Manage' Rules

As a recent case shows, whilst there is legislation which, in certain circumstances, allows leaseholders to obtain the right to manage the buildings they occupy, the process is replete with...

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May 17

Bank Mistake – HMRC Still Levy Penalty

When a taxpayer named Mr Coomber sent his cheque by post to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to settle his tax demand, he thought that would be the end of...

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May 17

Divorce: Asset Division Not Always Equal

In general, there is a presumption that on divorce the assets will be split more or less equally, but that is based on case law interpretation of the Matrimonial Causes...

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May 17

Accountant Forged Mother's $50 Million Will

Will disputes can be extremely bitter and the kind of skulduggery depicted in fiction sadly sometimes reflects reality. In one case, the High Court found that a well-respected accountant had...

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Apr 17

Charity Report Highlights Need for Trustee Vigilance

The need for charities to exercise strict controls over the disbursement of significant sums was made clear in a recent report by the Charity Commissioners into a small charity. The charity,...

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Apr 17

Probate Charges Increase Likely to Be Delayed

The Government has acknowledged that the upcoming general election makes it unlikely that probate fees will increase significantly in May as planned, as there will not be time for Parliament...

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Apr 17

Definitive Plan Decides Boundary Dispute

Boundary disputes are commonplace and, unless skilfully mediated, can often spiral out of control, ending up in legal action the cost of which far exceeds the value of the land...

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Apr 17

Tax Penalties Avoided for Those Affected by IT Glitch

With HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pressing ahead with plans to make 'customers' deal with them only digitally, it is good to see that when a system issue with the...

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Apr 17

Court Enforces Pre-Nuptial Agreement

When the marriage of a wealthy couple broke up, the English court had the opportunity to consider the impact of two pre-nuptial agreements the couple had made before they wed. The...

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Apr 17

Problems for Family Unaddressed as People Still Shun Wills

The latest research from National Savings and Investments shows that a staggering 64 per cent of adults in the UK have not made a will, and that 38 million adults...

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Apr 17

Driver Need Not Enforce Wheelchair Space on Bus, Rules Court

The Supreme Court has ruled on the long-running dispute between First Bus and a disabled passenger who sued the bus company after a driver declined to intervene when a passenger...

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Apr 17

Failure to Reveal All Proves Costly for Developer

The standard pre-contract enquiries made by a solicitor when a client is intending to purchase a property include querying whether there are any disputes which may affect the value of...

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Apr 17

Court Corrects Bureaucratic Nightmare for Family

One of the most important roles played by judges is to protect individuals against unlawful treatment by the state. In one unique example, the High Court came to the aid...

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Apr 17

Solicitor Evidence Crucial in Proving Will Valid

A recent case shows the importance of involving a solicitor in the preparation of a will, especially where it is considered that an attempt to invalidate it on the grounds...

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Apr 17

Carrying Out Building Works? Consult Your Neighbours First!

Disputes between neighbours can be agonising, both emotionally and financially, but taking advice at an early stage can swiftly draw the sting. In one case where matters were allowed to...

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Apr 17

Lack of Diligence Costs House Purchaser

House buyers often regard any inspection of a property beyond that undertaken by the surveyor acting for their mortgage provider as unnecessary. A recent case shows why this is a...

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Apr 17

Woman Aged 96 Wins £223,000 for Negligent Investment Advice

The complexities of financial advice can be bamboozling, particularly for the elderly, but one High Court case – in which a 96-year-old woman won more than £220,000 in damages in...

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Mar 17

Unexplained Delay Denies Right to Give Evidence

A recent case in which a litigant who waited more than a year to file its final defence against a claim had its late submissions rejected by the court is...

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Mar 17

Tax Evasion Assistance – Changes in the Law

New rules which came into effect on 1 January 2017 will see professionals who deliberately aid clients to evade (not avoid, which is legal) tax saddled with penalties of the...

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Mar 17

Massive Increases in Probate Charges on Large Estates on the Way

Probate fees, which rose sharply only three years ago, are about to rise again. Under the present scheme an application for probate by an individual costs £215 and by a solicitor...

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Mar 17

Supreme Court Overturns Daughter's Will Claim Award

A surprising Court of Appeal decision that a daughter was a 'dependant' of her estranged mother and thus entitled to benefit from her estate has now been overturned by the...

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Mar 17

New Powers Proposed to Make Family Financial Settlements Effective

The problem of making family financial settlements or court rulings in divorce 'stick' is well known. Following an extensive consultation process, the Law Commission has made proposals designed to improve...

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Mar 17

Attorney Who Forged Will to Accelerate Inheritance Given Jail Term

When an elderly man died owning both a house and a half share in an attached property with his sister, whose financial affairs were already being administered by a cousin...

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Mar 17

Where is a Taxpayer 'Ordinarily Resident'?

The answer to the vital question of whether a taxpayer is 'ordinarily resident' in the UK depends on many factors. In one such case, a billionaire businessman received an £84...

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Mar 17

Housing Association Tenant Pays Price for Unlawful Subletting

Social housing tenants are not normally permitted to sublet their properties. Where it is discovered that they have, an Unlawful Profits Order (UPO) can be made to recover any profit...

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Mar 17

Bankruptcy Can Be a Fresh Start – But Only For Those Who Cooperate!

Bankruptcy gives debtors the chance to wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start – but such opportunities are only open to those who cooperate with creditors: the law...

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Mar 17

Court Orders Must Be Obeyed – But Caring Pensioner Was Wrongly Jailed

Disobeying court orders is ultimately punishable by imprisonment – but only as a last resort. In the context of a family case, the Court of Appeal has ruled that a...

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Feb 17

Investment Opportunity? Take Advice First

Promises of generous returns on backing novel products can be awfully tempting for investors, but such investments should only be undertaken with the benefit of professional advice. In one case...

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Feb 17

Changes in Trustees – Who Appoints New Trustees?

Trusts are relatively common and the death of a trustee is by no means rare. A trust deed normally contains a clause stipulating how new trustees are to be appointed...

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Feb 17

Expert Resolution of Boundary Dispute 'Final and Binding'

Neighbours engaged in boundary disputes would generally be wise to submit their differences to an independent expert for resolution, rather than fighting it out in court. However, as one High...

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Feb 17

IVAs and Mental Capacity – Test Case Ruling

Can individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) be valid if debtors who enter into them lack the mental capacity to make rational decisions? In an important test case that has clarified the...

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Feb 17

Reliance on Accountant's Advice Prevents Penalty

When a man inherited a property, he and his wife rented it out and later put it on the market for sale. In May 2010, they exchanged contracts for sale....

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Feb 17

Trustee of Deceased Bankrupt Cannot Claim Payment From Spouse

Financial problems are frequently connected with marital problems, and the interplay between family law and insolvency law can produce legal complications. In a recent instance, the court had to decide what...

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Feb 17

Court Rejects Unprovable Claim of Property Gift

Arguments over the division of estates are unfortunately common where the value of the assets they contain is substantial, especially if family relationships are fractious. In such circumstances, the distribution...

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Feb 17

Council Held to Account Over False Claims

Press releases circulated by public authorities enjoy a high level of credence and are widely published across the media. However, their accuracy is not guaranteed and, in one case, a...

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Feb 17

Government Acts to Close Dubious Investment Companies

An essential role of government is to ensure that companies do not operate against the public interest and tight regulatory regimes exist to prevent this, particularly where investments are concerned...

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Jan 17

When is a Conversion Not a Conversion?

The conversion of agricultural buildings for residential use is commonplace and a special planning regime exists to simplify the procedure for farm owners wishing to convert buildings into residential property....

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Jan 17

Survivorship Clause Leads to Double Benefit for Beneficiaries

There is an established legal principle that where people have wills benefiting each other (as is normal with the wills of a husband and wife) and the order in which...

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Jan 17

Jail Threat for Man Who Failed to Cooperate in Divorce Proceedings

Divorce is normally a difficult time for all concerned and the financial arrangements can be very contentious. Normally, problems revolve around the failure to provide accurate disclosure of assets, but...

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Jan 17

Short-Term Property Rentals – Points to Note

The rise and rise of Airbnb and similar online community marketplaces that allow property owners to rent out their properties on short-term lets has led to many people making use...

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Jan 17

Bankrupt's Pension Safe From Creditors

People who get into financial difficulties leading to bankruptcy will be relieved to hear of a recent decision by the Court of Appeal which has confirmed that a bankrupt cannot...

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Jan 17

Non-Working Daughter Loses Claim for Financial Provision

Claims by disappointed children seeking a share, or a larger share, of a parental estate are on the rise, with the latest figures published showing a year-on-year increase of more...

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Jan 17

Court Compels Insurers to Honour Policy Terms

Insurers are often less than happy to pay up gracefully in the event of a claim and legal advice is sometimes necessary to enforce your rights. In one case, lawyers...

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Jan 17

Claiming Compensation Always Better Than Reliance on the State

The costs of care for people with a disability can be eye-watering and, in many cases, the state may be unwilling to provide a care regime which meets the full...

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Jan 17

Alcoholism and Mental Capacity

In order to make a valid will, you need to know your own mind – and it helps to have a solicitor on hand to advise you. That was certainly...

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Jan 17

Selling Property? Once Contracts Are Exchanged You Must Complete

Every property seller should be aware that, once contracts are exchanged, there is a strict obligation to complete the deal. One woman who failed to do that, following the death...

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Jan 17

Who Needs a Pension if You Have a House?

Two recent surveys have underlined the importance to younger people of getting away from what is increasingly seen as a 'rent trap', in which the high cost of rentals prevents...

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Jan 17

Child Protection More Important Than Family Togetherness

Family judges are used to controversy and accept the fact that there will always be an embittered few who accuse them of 'playing God'. However, one striking case shows that...

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Dec 16

Tenacious House Owner Wins £320,000 Following Compulsory Purchase

Property rights are strongly protected under English law and those who have their land compulsorily purchased by public authorities are entitled to full compensation. In one case, a man whose...

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