Probate, or the administration of estates, is not an area of law that changes dramatically or very often. However, at this time there are three changes affecting the life of a private client solicitor when dealing with this area of law.
It’s a fairly well known principle that, provided you ensure that you retain no benefit in the asset you give away, after seven years the value of the gift washes out of your estate for IHT purposes and the gift has, in effect “worked”. That’s why the technical term for such gifts is “Potentially Exempt Transfers”; at the time of the gift and for seven years thereafter, the Sword of Damocles hangs over it, but eventually it becomes fully exempt.
Part 3 – Discretionary Trusts
In part 1 of this series, [url] we raised the issue of Discretionary Trusts as lifetime planning instruments. Many people’s Will contain a trust of one sort to another, often in favour of a surviving spouse to protect the deceased’s share in the matrimonial home. However, lifetime Discretionary Trust are a valuable tool in Inheritance Tax Planning and also a useful vehicle for protection of assets.
Landlords and management companies who are asked to consent to the alterations that a leaseholder intends to undertake must now be careful not to fall foul of the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Duval v 11-13 Randolph Crescent Limited  EWCA Civ 2298.
Part 2 – Gifts from your surplus income
Following on part 1 of the series by my colleague Alastair Liddiard, this blog looks at one of the most under used gift allowances which can be one of the most generous available for Inheritance Tax Planning, “normal expenditure out of income”.
As a member of the Commission on Economic Justice, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury has recently been in the news discussing a report it has released which takes in a white-ranging view of the economy, on such divers topics as regulation of technology firms, provision for public utilities and taxation.
In England and Wales, all companies must – by law – have a set of articles of association (also known as just “articles”).
The contents of the articles are important because the articles govern how the company should be run in certain areas. The articles also place some limits upon what a director or shareholder of the company can or can’t do.
There has been a lot of talk lately regarding “no fault divorce”.
The current law governing divorce in England and Wales is the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The law was made at a time when divorce was a completely different deal. There was a certain stigma attached to divorces in the early nineteen seventies and it was a lot more important for fault to be a part of the divorce process for many people. The Matrimonial Causes Act has served England and Wales for some 45 years, during which time public attitude has changed substantially but the law has not………..Yet!
Over the past few years there have been a number of cases, the most recent of which is James v James, involving farming children resorting to Court action to try to obtain what they believe is due to them. There are a number of lessons that can be learnt from these cases, both for professional advisors and, more importantly, for the farming family.
The commonly quoted “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” comes to mind when thinking about Brexit.
With only 6 months to go before the UK’s official exit from the EU, time is running out for businesses to prepare for whatever outcome is reached, including a no-deal scenario.
When it comes to extending their leases, many tenants are faced with the dilemma – accepting the landlord’s offer for a lease extension outside of the parameters of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“the 1993 Act”) or pursuing their statutory right to a lease extension pursuant to the 1993 Act.
Defra has just published a blog about the impact on farm payments if no Brexit deal is made (see attached). This is obviously a very unsettling time for farmers, many of whom currently receive the Basic Payment Scheme payments.
Figures recently released show that HMRC received a record of £5.2 Billion Inheritance Tax in the last tax year. This represents an 8% increase in comparison to the year before. This increase comes despite the introduction of the Residence Nil-Rate Band Allowance in April 2017.
Loss of capacity can be gradual or sudden depending on the reason for it. Your loved one could be suffering from early stage dementia and the signs might be quite clear. You could have plenty of time to make arrangements for the time when he or she may not be able to make their own decisions, manage their own affairs, or take care of themselves.
In this continuing series of blogs on IP, this blog focusses on the concept of patents.
What is a Patent?
A Patent is a form of intellectual property which gives you exclusive rights over a new or enhanced invention. This can be a product or a process and broadly speaking, protection can last up to 20 years.
In the recent case of Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz the County Court has ruled that a landlord of assured shorthold tenancy who failed to provide a gas safety certificate before the tenant moved in was permanently unable to rely on a section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy.
There has been much talk of banning letting agents’ fees over the last couple of years, but the Government has now put its money where its mouth is and published the draft Tenant Fees Bill 2018 (“the TFB”).
Longmores Solicitors hosted their annual summer party last night on Thursday 21st June and were delighted to welcome a record number of guests. In a change from recent years the party was in the historic and beautiful location of Hertford Castle and the balmy weather of midsummer’s day allowed guests to enjoy drinks and canapés outside all evening.
Have you recently set up a new company with friends or family? Do you run an existing long-standing company? If the answer is yes, then you ought to consider putting in place a shareholders’ agreement.
It can be tempting, especially for new, eager businesses, to start trading immediately without using any written terms and conditions or contracts. After all, there is no legal requirement for contracts to be written down and oral contracts are just as valid as written contracts. However, if a dispute arises over an oral contract, it can be extremely difficult to produce definitive evidence of what was agreed if nothing has been written down.
On almost every sale or lease of commercial property (whether that be offices, a shop, warehouse or farm etc.), the buyer’s solicitor will ask the seller’s solicitor to provide replies to a standard set of enquiries. In most cases, these are replies to general Commercial Property Standard Enquiries (CPSE), although there are different numbered versions of these standard enquiries, depending on the nature of the transaction. There are also additional sets of enquiries where the property is subject to one or more leases, and if the transaction involves the grant of a lease. Where the transaction involves agricultural land, a different set of enquiries more specifically dealing with agricultural land may be used.
The land registry was first set up in 1925, as a central register of land ownership. At that time it was not compulsory to register dealings with land in all areas of the country. Different parts of England and Wales gradually became subject to compulsory registration of dealings at various times until 2003.
If you let your barn using what you believe to be a simple licence agreement, then you should be aware that you may have inadvertently granted the occupier a lease. This is because if you allow someone to have exclusive occupation of a building (or part of a building) then legally you are giving them a lease, even if you call it a licence.
In April the think tank Resolution Foundation published a report stating that Inheritance Tax is “unfit for modern society” and should be abolished. This is not the first suggestion for IHT to be overhauled but they do go further with suggestions as to how it should be amended, providing further facts and figures as to the reasons why.
“Can I have a Separation Agreement and is it cheaper than a divorce?”
This is a question that I have been asked on many occasions. Some potential clients ask if it is possible to get a “legal separation”. When faced with this question it is important to explain clearly the differences between a Separation Agreement and a Consent Order.
The Silver Rebellion: Marriage and divorce on the increase for those aged 65 and over. The Office of National Statistics [‘ONS’] has published a marriage data survey reporting a distinct increase in marriages and divorces for those aged 65 years and over.
In order to be registered, a trade mark must be capable of graphic representation, have a distinctive character which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of another, and should not fall foul of the various grounds for refusal.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced to increase the transparency of big businesses with turnover of £36m per year and adds additional reporting obligations on these businesses. The Act applies to commercial organisations and aims to encourage transparency in relation to slavery and human trafficking. The reporting element of the Modern Slavery Act applies to both UK and non UK businesses.
When entering in to any negotiation (or any dispute), it is tempting for the lead negotiator to try to decipher the objectives and motivation of their opposite number. That exercise will always produce imperfect results. Instead, be sure to conduct a proper analysis of your own motivation and ask yourself these questions:
Over the course of the next few blogs, we shall be exploring the different forms of intellectual property available in the UK, with each blog focussing on a different type of IP, namely: trade marks, copyright, patents and design rights. This first blog focuses on trade marks.
25th May is fast approaching and GDPR will then really be here!
Employers have been losing sleep over this new legislation but maybe they have been overreacting. Yes, the law is changing but in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way. The key principles of the current Data Protection Act 1998 will remain. Employers will need to deal with data “lawfully, fairly and transparently”; they must not hold excessive data and should only use it for the intended purpose. They also need to check accuracy and not hold the information for longer than needed. As has always been the case, information must be kept safe and secure.
Spring has sprung and although it appears that we are periodically being plunged into Siberian Winter, this is the traditional time when people turn out their cupboards, rifle through their collections and generally look to find space for items which may fall victim to the next year’s bout of cleaning.
The general rule is that a lease may only be terminated during the term of the lease if the lease contains a tenant’s break clause. If it does not, the lease can be terminated early by way of surrender however the landlord will need to be in agreement. If the landlord refuses to take a surrender, the lease will have to remain in place.
The process of divorce or separation can be deeply emotional and stressful for all involved. But it doesn’t have to be. A good family lawyer will help you through the process in the most painless way possible. Whilst they cannot help you to overcome the problems in your marriage they can put you in touch with a marriage counsellor who can. A family lawyer is not qualified to provide counselling. If you decide that your marriage is at end, a good counsellor can also help you deal with the emotional fallout of the breakup. This will help you to think clearly and deal with the divorce in a civilised and reasonable way.
From 1 April 2018, landlords will not be able to rent out their commercial properties if they do not meet a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES). The reason for this change is to help the government to meet its obligations in the Energy Act 2011 to improve energy efficiency across commercial properties.
I often work in conjunction with my colleagues in our commercial team, particularly for business owners who are thinking about their own Wills and Inheritance Tax planning. The most frequent area in which my colleagues and I work together relates to the preparation of cross option agreements.
When selling or buying land, you might hear the terms “conditional contract”, “option agreement” or “pre-emption agreement”. Whilst these all essentially involve the sale of land from a seller to a buyer, there are significant differences.
I work in our Private Client Department and manage older and vulnerable clients’ affairs. This position has made me realise how difficult it is for clients who do not have family members close to them. It could be that they do not live close by, or they do not have a close relationship with the client for whatever reason. At Longmores, we act as Attorneys under Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Finances where there are no other suitable people to take up this role. Where there are no family members to provide a helping hand my role can include a regular visit to check the client has everything they need, liaising with financial advisors to ensure the client’s money is achieving maximum income, arranging care, arranging meal deliveries, contacting third parties for jobs around the house, etc.