Private Client

  • A Guide to the Adoption Process

    The most important requirements for adoption are that the adopter must be over 21 years of age, the child to be adopted must be under the age of 18 and joint applications to adopt can only be made by married couples and civil partners. Unmarried couples can...
  • Accessing Your Own Land

    Prior to the introduction of revised procedures (set out in regulations under Section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 , which came into effect in July 2002), people who had to cross common land in order to reach their homes were sometimes...
  • Administering Estates - Procedures and Pitfalls

    A recent survey has shown that more than one in ten people who are thought to have died intestate (i.e. without leaving a will) may actually have made a will and that a similar number of those who leave a will which is initially believed to be the last will...
  • Asset Valuation Problems - Chattels

    When dealing with an estate, an increasing problem for executors is the valuation of assets in the form of the chattels of the deceased. In probate terminology, chattels are the ‘everyday’ assets such as furniture and ordinary possessions, as...
  • Bank of Mum and Dad Lending Issues

    Tthe 'bank of Mum and Dad' is  unsurprisingly one of the leading sources of finance for house purchase – it was estimated that 300,000 mortgage deposits were provided by parents of property purchasers in 2016. The survey, sponsored by the Centre...
  • Business Assets and Divorce

    Divorce is seldom an easy business, but the problems are compounded when there is a family business involved. The division of the spoils has traditionally been the subject of a great deal of argument, but recent cases have at least clarified the thinking of...
  • Buying Abroad - Considerations

    More then 400,000 Uk citizens own properties abroad. If you are thinking of joining them, here ar some of the main issues: as well as it being essential to take independent and high quality legal advice, there are several other considerations you should be...
  • Buying a House and Consumer Protection

    With the appointment of a Property Ombudsman , the laying down in statute of the duties of estate agents and the passing of the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 (CEARA), a property purchaser might reasonably conclude that their interests are...
  • CGT and Shares in Estates Valuation Trap

    In the UK, there are quite generous exemptions from Inheritance Tax (IHT) which apply to business assets. One problem with making use of such exemptions is the effect this may have on the subsequent value of the relevant assets for Capital Gains Tax (CGT)...
  • Changing Wills For Benefit

    A will expresses the final wishes of the deceased person and it is commonly thought that a will is irrevocable after death. However, provided everyone agrees, it is normally possible to vary a will provided that the application is made within two years of...
  • Child Custody Explained

    Arrangements over the custody of children (called residence arrangements by lawyers) after the breakdown of a relationship are usually best decided without the intervention of the court. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for the two parties to...
  • Child Maintenance Explained

    The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) – a statutory non-departmental public body – was established in 2008 to take on the work of the Child Support Agency. At the same time, the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 ...
  • Civil Partnerships And Same-Sex Marriage Explained

    The first civil partnerships were formed on 21 December 2005, after the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 came into effect on 5 December 2005. Same-sex marriages contracted abroad, however, have been recognised as valid civil partnerships from 5 December...
  • Cohabitation Agreements - Protection for Unmarried Couples

    One of the most common myths in English law is that there is such a thing as a ‘common law marriage’. It simply doesn’t exist and this misapprehension has led the Law Commission to suggest proposals giving additional rights to cohabiting...
  • Cohabitees and Death - Who Can Claim?

    When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to the bereaved partner to discover that not all of their late partner’s estate will pass to them in the absence of a will. It is only when this happens that many people...
  • Dealing With an Insolvent Estate

    One of the rules that applies to the administration of estates is that whilst a person appointed as executor under a will can refuse to accept the appointment, once an executor ‘intermeddles’ in the estate, in principle he or she cannot then...
  • Divorce and Foreign Nationality

    Approximately one in six marriages in the European Union is between persons of different nationalities. Not surprisingly, approximately one in six divorces also involves spouses of different nationalities. This can make for some complexity on divorce as to...
  • Divorce and Foreign Residence: Children

    When a marriage breaks up, it is usual for the couple to separate physically as well as legally and in some cases the physical separation can be considerable. With the increase in international travel and residence abroad, marriages between persons of...
  • Divorce and Money

    When it comes to dealing with money and divorce, it is important to know what has to be taken into account and the powers available to arrive at fair decisions. For most couples, the basic problem is how to finance two separate households from income and...
  • Divorce and the Company Director

    Divorce is almost never easy and the financial negotiations can be protracted and difficult, particularly when there are business interests involved. In this article we consider some of the issues surrounding divorce for company directors. In the first...
  • Divorce and the Family Home

    Family break-up is always complicated and when there is a property involved, things can get very complex indeed. In principle, when a couple are cohabiting (not married or in a civil partnership) the property belongs as of right to whoever is shown on the...
  • Estates - What Happens if Values Fall?

    One of the biggest problems now facing executors is that assets can fall in value as well as increase, which can mean that the value of an estate for Inheritance Tax (IHT) purposes is greater than the market value later on. Where assets are disposed of at...
  • Fact Sheet - Disclosure to Mortgage Lenders of Incentives for Buyers

    This fact sheet provides guidance for those involved in the development of residential properties whether new builds or conversions of existing properties . On 1 September 2008, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML)  introduced new procedures in...
  • Financial Settlements in Divorce: Factors

    The headline-grabbing decisions in a spate of  ‘rich list’ divorce cases in 2007 confirmed that the House of Lords  (now the Supreme Court) is emphasising that marriage is a partnership and that the relative contributions of...
  • Guide to Law on Squatting in Residential Premises

    After carrying out an extensive consultation exercise, which closed in October 2011, squatting in residential properties has now become a criminal offence. Criminal squatting occurs when: a person knowingly enters a residential building as a...
  • Guide to Parental Responsibility

    The 1989 Children Act aimed to clarify the law regarding who could look after children. One of the main new concepts introduced by the Act was that of ‘Parental Responsibility’ (PR). This is the legal term which emphasises that the duty to...
  • Heir Hunters - Take Advice!

    Until the recent publicity afforded by television shows on the subject, many people might not have realised that ‘heir tracing’ companies exist, let alone that they research ‘promising’ estates by looking at public records and then...
  • Helping Your Executors

    Being an executor is a demanding job at the best of times and a task that is made all the more difficult when the deceased has not given proper thought to the problems their executors will face. Here are some of the things you can do to make sure your...
  • How Do We Set Up a Commonhold?

    Commonholds are a relatively new way of holding property and will be attractive to some flat owners who wish to take the ownership and management of the freehold of their block of flats out of a management company. They may also become increasingly common in...
  • How do I Leave Money to Charity in My Will?

    It's easy to include a charity in your will, but you should always consult your solicitor before you write or change your will  to be sure it reflects your exact intentions and that you understand its implications. Before you call your adviser,...
  • Leaseholders' Right to Manage

    Since 2003 qualifying leaseholders have had the right to take over the management of their block of flats from their landlord, under provisions made under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 . Leaseholders who take advantage of this right have more...
  • Living Together Agreements

    When you begin living together as a couple, without being married, it is best practice to set up a trust deed to make clear your joint wishes and intentions concerning ownership of the house you live in. Preferably, this should be in association with a...
  • Making Your Will - Guidance

    It is easy to keep putting off making a will. However, having a valid will is the only way to guarantee that your estate goes to who you want it to when you die. If a person dies having made a will, the distribution of their estate is normally...
  • Mortgage Exit Administration Charges - Consumer Redress

    When you ask for a redemption statement from your mortgage lender, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to see an additional charge termed ‘mortgage exit administration fee’ (MEAF), which, while it will be shown in the mortgage offer letter, is...
  • Pensions and Divorce

    Divorces among the over-60s are by no means infrequent and, whilst the potential for acrimony arising from issues concerning young children is absent, they often do produce a great deal of dispute regarding the division of the family assets.   There...
  • Planning Law Basics

    Whether you are planning to refurbish and sell a house or to construct a whole new apartment block, almost all your plans will be governed by planning laws and any local restrictions. Planning restrictions are more stringent in conservation areas, for...
  • Post-Nuptial Agreements - the Basics

    Although divorce rates are in decline, more than 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce (in England and Wales more than 100,000 couples divorce annually) and when one in five of all men and women seeking to end their marriage have already been through one...
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements: Wise Planning for the Wealthy

    Following a decision in the Supreme Court, in which a pre-nuptial agreement entered into by a German heiress and her husband was held to be enforceable, wealthy families worried about preserving family assets in the event of a divorce should certainly...
  • Relationship Break Up and Tax

    Getting divorced is never a pleasant experience and couples going through the process have a lot to think about. Whilst management of the tax consequences of the split is not normally at the top of their priority list, these can be considerable, even where...
  • Selling Your House and Land: Tax Tips

    Most people buy and sell the property they live in without any thoughts about tax (other than, perhaps, Stamp Duty Land Tax). However, there are some circumstances in which selling the property you live in can cause tax problems. Some of the main ones are: ...
  • Selling Your Property at Auction

    In recent years, increased mobility and growing rates of home ownership have meant that ever-larger numbers of people nowadays inherit properties from relatives who lived many miles away. Similarly, many buy-to-let properties have been purchased in areas...
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax and Second Properties - The Basics

    Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was brought in to replace the old 'stamp duty' and has been complex since its inception. Among the transactions subject to SDLT are residential property sales. Levied at a rate of 2 per cent on purchases of £125,001 to...
  • Taking Children into Care - The Legal Process

    We often hear of children being taken into care, but the process by which this occurs is not well known. The Children Act 1989 lays down the circumstances under which it is appropriate for a child to be taken into care or a supervision order made. The...
  • Tenants' Right to Buy

    The right of secure tenants to buy their homes was established under the Housing Act 1980 . The original rules have subsequently been amended, however, mainly owing to a growing number of abuses of the system. These mainly involved property speculators who...
  • The Duties of Mortgage Lenders

    When mortgage arrears are serious and/or there is a breach of the mortgage covenants, the lender will usually seek an order for repossession of the property. Once it has possession, it will normally sell it with vacant possession. If this course is taken, it...
  • The Process of Divorce

    Although divorce is a commonplace occurrence these days, few people going into their first divorce have much idea about how the process operates. Here is a brief guide. The process for dissolution of a civil partnership is essentially the same, as are the...
  • Timeshares - Good or Bad?

    Although there are millions of contented timeshare owners throughout the world, the timeshare industry has certainly had a chequered history. On the one hand there is the promise of golden weeks in the sun or on the slopes at a fraction of the cost of buying...
  • What Are Financial Needs?

    When financial settlements are being made on divorce, one crucial aspect that is taken into account in deciding the structure and value of the settlement is the 'financial needs' of the person receiving maintenance from their former spouse. However, one of...
  • What Happens on Intestacy?

    The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act came into force in late 2014. It changes intestacy law in England and Wales to allow a deceased's estate to pass to their widow, widower or civil partner absolutely where there are no children. The...
  • What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

    In October 2007 there was a fundamental change on the way in the way powers of attorney are created and the powers that they can give attorneys, when the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) was replaced by the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). EPAs are no longer...
  • What is a Tenant's Improvement?

    The law allows any tenant (with some exceptions) who has lived in a property for more than three years under a lease of more than 20 years to apply to the Landlord to purchase the freehold. The purchase price is based on the open market value of the...
  • What is a Trust?

    A trust comes into effect when a ‘settlor’ places money, land or other assets in the hands of trustees. The trustees are the legal owners of the property but are obliged to hold and manage the property for the benefit of a person or a group of...
  • When Can I Access My Neighbour's Land?

    Disputes between neighbours can cause a lot of unpleasantness. If you need to deal with your neighbours over matters related to land or property it is always advisable to try to get things done in a friendly way, whilst at the same time making sure you know...
  • Who Can Go Where?

    In England and Wales, the law relating to access to land position is governed by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 . In England and Wales, the public have the right to access what is called 'access land' – which is mainly registered common...
  • Who is Under the Influence?

    The law recognises that some people (such as solicitors or accountants) have a high degree of influence over other people (their clients), since clients hire their professional advisers for the specific purpose of giving advice. However, it is not normally...

Latest News