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DECEMBER 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
The Green Deal was introduced by the Energy Act 2011. Its aim is to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. This can be done by having new insulation, double glazing, boilers, solar panels and heat pumps installed by a specialist Green Deal provider. The cost is recovered through the electricity bills. If you decide to undertake such works through this scheme, you will need to be aware that on the sale or letting of a Green Deal property, there is a legal obligation to disclose the existence of the Green Deal to a purchaser or tenant and to obtain a written acknowledgement that they are aware of the charge and that they will be bound by the terms of the scheme. It is important to retain all documentation for future reference.
WELSH ACTIVE TRAVEL LAW
The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 has made its way through the National Assembly forWalesand has been given Royal Assent. It is a Welsh law making it easier for people to walk and cycle inWaleswith Local Authorities inWalesbeing legally required to map and create fully integrated transport networks that consider the needs for walkers and cyclists.
Making a Will is not a bad omen! Statistically, people shy away from making a Will even where there are complex family situations. If a person cohabits with another person but they are neither married nor have entered into a Civil Partnership, there is no automatic entitlement of rights on intestacy. The survivor, following death, has to apply for financial provision to the Court in absence of an agreement being reached. This can cause stress, expense and delay at an emotional time with an uncertain outcome. Making a valid Will can avoid such a dilemma. Also, where there are children, it is important to ensure that their best interests are secured in event of death. Such security can be financial, physical and emotional. In addition to making reasonable financial provision for children in the event of death, it is also important to appoint a guardian for minor children. This can be done within a Will. Contrary to popular belief, Solicitors are not always expensive and as a practice, we offer fixed fees from the outset which gives certainty to the client and peace of mind once a Will has been made. As part of the process, we offer inheritance tax planning.
For any advice on the above matters, contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Evans v Lloyd  EWHC 1725
High Court of Justice (Chancery Division)
Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins acted for the successful Defendants in this recorded case and the following article was published by Solicitors for the Elderly
This case involved the estate of W, a farm worker. Prior to his death, W had made a gift of two agricultural holdings he had inherited from his brother to the proprietors (together ‘L’) of a farm for whom he had worked for his entire working life.
The first claimant, H, was W’s brother, and entitled to his estate in the event that W was intestate. H was unable to manage his property and affairs. The second claimant (‘B’) was a cousin of H and he and the third claimant, his wife, were together due to be jointly entitled to H’s estate on his death under his will.
The claimants claimed rescission of the gifts of the agricultural holdings to L on the grounds (a) of undue influence on the part of L and (b) on the grounds that the gifts amounted to unconscionable transactions. L denied that either cause of action was made out and counterclaimed that W had made a last will, which had been lost, in their favour.On the law, after reciting the familiar principles of undue influence, the court considered the principles relating to unconscionable transactions. The court cited a passage in Snell’s Equity, in which it was stated that the doctrine applies where (1) the complainant was suffering from certain kinds of disability or disadvantage (e.g. educational deficiency) (2) the bargain was oppressive to the complainant and (3) the other party acted unconscionably in that he or she knowingly took advantage of the complainant. Where these three requirements are satisfied, the burden passes to the other party to satisfy the court that the transaction was ‘fair, just and reasonable’. The court rejected a submission by L that the doctrine only applied to bargains, and not gifts.
As to the undue influence claim, the key findings were as follows:
1. There was no relationship of trust and confidence. W was regarded by L as part of their family and he regarded them in the same way. They had cared for him in the last years of his life when he had become ill. He admired them for the way they had looked after him. It was a relationship characterised by mutual love and trust. L had not managed W’s finances or told him how to manage them. Furthermore, there were examples of W showing independent judgment when dealing with L.
2. Furthermore, there was no transaction which called for an explanation. W and L were bound by the strongest ties of affection. W wanted the holdings to remain with farmers such as L. The fact that the holdings constituted nearly all of W’s wealth did not matter; W had no interest in owning property and had inherited them only just over a decade earlier. Furthermore, the gifts had no impact on W continuing to live the life he wanted to live, and were made in the context of a concern that recourse might be had to the assets should he need to go into residential care.
3. Thirdly, even if the two above requirements had been made out, such that the burden was on L to show that the gifts were not procured by undue influence, the court would have held that that burden would have been discharged. The gift was the product of W’s independent will; he had initiated it. L were decent people who had not sought to influence the matter in any way. Advice was given to W by a firm of solicitors who had been instructed by L and who were being paid by L. However, there was no reason to believe that the solicitors had not been conscientious towards W or unmindful of his duty towards him. The solicitors would have taken steps to investigate whether W was subject to undue influence. The evidence would have been ‘just about’ sufficient to discharge the burden.
As to the allegation that the gifts amounted to unconscionable transactions, the court held as follows. W was poorly educated and the gifts were disadvantageous to him, in the sense that they divested him of practically all his assets and were unnecessary. However, there was no basis for finding, given the facts outlined above, that L had acted unconscionably. Furthermore, the claimants had delayed in bringing their claim such that the doctrine of laches applied.
Although it was strictly unnecessary to consider it, the Court considered the question of whether W had made a will in L’s favour. It was held that the most likely position was that a draft will had been produced after W consulted solicitors, but that no final will was executed.
The court therefore dismissed the claims made by the claimants.
NOVEMBER 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
Dare we mention Christmas! Now may be a good time to reinforce some statutory rights which consumers have when purchasing any items. If faulty, any item needs to be returned as quickly as possible. Generally, if returned within a four week period, a refund is likely but if there is any delay, only an exchange, repair or part refund may be offered. If an item is not returned for a period in excess of six months, the consumer must prove that the item was faulty when purchased. If an item is bought as a gift, it is sensible to ask the seller to endorse the word “gift” on the receipt with the shop also being asked to keep a copy. If an item is bought which is in the wrong size, there is no legal right to demand a replacement. As a compromise, a credit note may be an option to negotiate for.
If a credit card is used to buy goods or services for more than £100.00, the credit card company will be jointly liable with the seller for any defect or late supply.
If you need further advice with any consumer issue, contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins for advice on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at email@example.com
Just a reminder – for those whose Capital Works formed part of a Glastir 2012 Entry (All Wales Element), contracts must be completed by 31st December 2013.
The Common Agricultural Policy consultation document requires responses by the closing date of 8th November 2013. This is available online at the following link:-
The Young Entrants Support Scheme remains open until 22nd November 2013. Eligible formers need to be under the age of forty when submitting an expression of interest and must either be setting up as head of the holding for the first time or have set up as head of holding within the previous twelve months.
For agricultural advice contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For new non-domestic properties completed after 1st October 2013 (but before 30th September 2016) there is an eighteen month period of rates relief. Such properties, however, must remain unoccupied for the first eighteen months after completion. The relief is not always available and is at the discretion of the Local Authority.
For agricultural advice contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at email@example.com
LONG TERM CARE
Most people would prefer to remain and receive care in their own home irrespective of any physical or mental infirmity. This is a principle objective of community care. However, in practice how much assistance you receive from your local authority social services department will depend on the extent of your needs for services and their eligibility criteria. Commonly, many older people, their family and carers consider whether to move into a care home as an option.
Residential and nursing homes usually charge on a weekly basis. The amount of the fee will depend on the nature and level of care provided, the location and facilities of the home.
In the event that you decide to move into a care home, important decisions need to be made. Such decisions may have unintended ramifications and so the important of early, specialist legal advice, such as from a member of Solicitors for the Elderly which includes our Adrian Foulkes, can prevent or mitigate problems arising at a later date, leaving you in the best position to plan your care.
The legal issues relating to long-term care are expanding. Laws and regulations are rapidly evolving and becoming more complex.
There are occasions when the NHS is responsible for the cost of care. The Department of Health in England and National Assembly in Wales has set a national framework to assess and determine eligibility. If a person meets the criteria, then their personal, health and accommodation care costs (which, may be provided in a nursing home or your own home), will be funded by the NHS regardless of the person’s own financial position.
The NHS is responsible for the cost of nursing care in a nursing home provided by a registered nurse irrespective of the individual’s own means. It is a paid at a flat rate.
Depending on your resources the local authority may assist in the funding of care. How much and when are based on complex guidance. Whether you fund all, part or none of your care costs is not always clear and early advice is recommended.
You may need advice on the following:
• Should I be charged and how much should I pay?
• Is the care contract reasonable and should you try to amend the
• Will your spouse or partner be expected to pay towards your care?
• Will your spouse, partner or other relative be able to continue to live in
your family home?
• What assets do you need to sell?
• How should the assets be valued?
• Can you take out insurance to pay for your care?
• Are there any welfare benefits you may be entitled to?
• Should you make an advance decision, setting out your health care
Wishes in the event that you become unable to communicate them?
• Alternatively should you prepare a health and welfare lasting power of attorney, so that others can assist you if you are unable to tell others your wishes
• Should you update your will and how can you pass on assets to your family?
• Can you continue to financially manage your own affairs and should you appoint another to act on your behalf, particularly in the event you become mentally incapable?
Our specialist lawyers at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins Solicitors will be happy to advise and assist you without obligation in plain English and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have with regards Long Term Care. Telephone us now for a free initial discussion on 01686 412166
An advance medical decision, often referred to as an 'advance directive' or 'living will', is a written statement of your wished about medical treatment if you become terminally ill or incapacitated. An advance medical decision allows a person to refuse specified treatment in specified circumstances such as:
You are completely free to refuse to undergo medical treatment even if, as a result it brings about your death. However, you must have the mental capacity to make that decision. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 gives clear legal Status to advance medical decisions, which means that health professionals must follow them, if they are valid and applicable to the specified treatment and circumstances.
It is important that an advance medical decision is well drafted so it is valid and applicable to the specified treatment and circumstances. You should discuss your wished with your immediate family. The document is not intended to be a substitute for discussion with medical staff and it is always recommended that you talk fully with your doctor about your treatment. An advance medical decision does not ask a doctor to do anything against existing law, but it is useful when decisions have to be made on prolonging an individual’s life.
An advance medial decision will be valid if:
If you change your mind at a later date, an advance medical decision is not final and irrevocable and can therefore be changed by telling your doctor. However, it is sensible to destroy the document and all copies of it.
Our specialist lawyers at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins Solicitors will be happy to advise and assist you without obligation in plain English and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have with regards Advance Directives and Living Wills. Telephone us now for a free initial discussion on 01686 412166
LEXCEL QUALITY STANDARD
Milwyn Jenkins and Jenkins Solicitors were delighted at the result of their two day Lexcel accreditation audit, which resulted in a recommendation that they should be accredited to the coveted Law Society standard. The audit is a rigorous check by an independent auditing organisation against the stringent Law Society Lexcel Quality Standard.
“We have always tried to have the best customer care and quality procedures, but decided we should further demonstrate their effectiveness by achieving Lexcel Accreditation,” said Angela Davies-Jones, Director.
“We have previously shown our commitment to quality by achieving and retaining the Investors in People Standard and the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme, but felt this wasn’t enough to demonstrate how serious we are about continuous improvement as an organisation,” said William Ransford, Solicitor.
“The Lexcel standard requires a legal firm’s people to continuously improve client services. And that’s the operative word – people – and ours always challenge our processes to improve them for our clients,” said Mark Harvey, Director.
“Although we have demonstrated our commitment to quality, we are by no means complacent, and will continue to strive for the best practices that give our clients the first rate service they expect,” said Adrian Foulkes, Chartered Legal Executive.
The practice is now waiting for its accreditation to be confirmed officially by the Law Society.
OCTOBER 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
PLANNING – CHANGES TO PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT
From the 30th September 2013 changes come into force (to bring Wales in line with England) to allow property owners to build a larger range of extensions and garden buildings without submitting a planning application. People living within sensitive areas such as Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest need be aware that their position is different. Contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins for advice on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANCEL REPAIR LIABILITY
Changes are afoot – if a property which has already been registered with the Land Registry changes hands for full market value after 12th October 2013, the Church loses its ability to register its interest. If a property is received post 12th October 2013 by gift, transaction at an under value, inheritance or on divorce, it may still be affected by Chancel Repair Liability. If the property has not been registered with the Land Registry the Church can continue to enforce any repair liability. For advice contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail us at email@example.com
LASTING AND ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEYS
The fee payable to the Office of the Public Guardian to register a Lasting Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney is being reduced from £130 to £110 from 1st October 2013. This may now be a good time to think about making a Lasting Power of Attorney which entails you choosing one person or more to make decisions about:
1. Money and Property include:
2. Health and Welfare to include:
Contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166 or e-mail for a fixed fee quote at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help to Buy: Home Ownership Schemes
The Government have confirmed that they are bringing forward the start date of the Help to Buy: Home Ownership Schemes. For guidance on how the scheme works, please see link:-
REMINDER – CHANGES TO MINIMUM WAGE
Most workers in the UK over school leaving age are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (“NMW”) and the NMW rates are reviewed each year by the Low Pay commission.
The current NMW rates which came into force on 1 October 2012 are as follows:
• £6.19 for workers 21 and over
• £4.98 18 - 20 yrs
• £3.68 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
• £2.65 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.
However, employers and employees need to be aware that the NMW rates from 1 October 2013 will be as follows:
• £6.31 for workers 21 and over
• £5.03 18 - 20 yrs
• £3.72 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but under 18
• £2.68 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.
There are a number of people who will not be entitled to the NMW these include:
• self-employed people
• voluntary workers
• company directors.
All other workers including pieceworkers, home workers, agency workers, commission workers, part-time workers and casual workers must receive at least the NMW. There are no exemptions according to size of business or by sector, job or region.
For advice on any employment issues, please contact our William Ransford at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins by calling 01686 412166 or e-mailing at email@example.com
ABOLITION OF AGRICULTURAL MINIMUM WAGE IN ENGLAND
From 1 October 2013 the agricultural minimum wage is to be abolished in England - The National Minimum Wages will now apply as well as the normal working time regulations apply. The Welsh Government in July of this year decided against removing the minimum agricultural wage so there will be no changes to terms of agricultural employees in Wales.
SOLICITORS FOR THE ELDERLY
Our Adrian Foulkes is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly, the UK association of solicitors, legal executives and barristers who provide specialist advice for older, ill, infirm and disabled adults. To be a member you must be a highly trained, experienced regulated professional who provides independent, impartial advice, which is in the client’s best interests. All members are dementia aware, and able to support you make important decisions. Solicitors for the Elderly’s and Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins’ aim is to provide you with advice and information on all of your options in order to protect you, those you care about, and your estate; to avoid problems and prevent unnecessary costs, losses or expense being incurred.
By making a will you can decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death, and set out your funeral wishes. For example, you may like to request no flowers at your funeral but make a request for charitable donations instead. Without a will, your assets may be distributed according to ‘the intestacy rules’ rather than your wishes. Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins can advise and draft your will to be tax and administratively efficient and reduce the risk of a claim being made against your estate after your death.
By making a power of attorney, others can make financial and/ or health and welfare decisions for you, if you are unable. In the event you become mentally incapable of making a decision a financial Ordinary Power of Attorney is automatically cancelled, whereas a Property and Financial Affairs /Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney will be valid, provided it is registered with the Public Guardian. Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins can advise on the suitability of the power and safeguards to protect you from the misuse of the power, and draft the power to your particular circumstances and needs.
Without a power of attorney, if you lose mental capacity to make decisions, it may be necessary to get an order from The Court of Protection. Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins can advise on the appropriate order, draft court documents and handle the application. This is more expensive, cumbersome and time consuming than making a power of attorney.
By making an advance decision you can set out details of any medical treatment you do not want in the event you are later unable to communicate your wishes. Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins can draft the document and advise on how it applies in practice.
Seek advice on arranging and funding long-term care. Whether you plan to remain in your own home, move into sheltered or care home accommodation, you may qualify for state support. This may be by way of welfare benefits, social funding, or equipment from social services and health care, funded by the NHS. The rules are complex but Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins are able to navigate these and provide advice to maximise what you receive from the state and avoid using your own assets unnecessarily.
By making timely gifts or putting assets into trust during your lifetime, you can pass on your estate before you die. Any proposed gift needs careful consideration of the benefits, risks and implications on tax, your financial security and any future liability for care. It is dangerous to make a gift without getting the right advice as you may find that you are denied state funding at the time you most need it.
Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins adopt Solicitors for the Elderly’s Code of Practice so you can be sure
• You will be treated with dignity and respect.
• Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins will ensure all practicable steps are taken to maximise decision making potential, particularly if you are compromised by physical, emotional and mental difficulties. If you have hearing and visual difficulties they will take this into account when communicating, for example correspondence and documents can be produced in large print or Braille.
• We will endeavour to follow a plain English policy and communicate in easy, understandable language, avoiding legal terminology unless necessary.
• Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins will provide written details of charges.
• We will try to ensure ease of access and parking if you are less mobile.
• We will offer home visits as an alternative to a visit to the office. Any arrangement will be at a mutually agreed time and cost.
• In the interest of your personal security, Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins will operate appropriate measures, such as identification passes or passwords.
• We will provide written details of how to complain.
Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins are on the British Free Range Egg Producers Association's national list of legal advisors.
MEDIATION V LITIGATION
At Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins, our trained mediators (Angela Davies-Jones and Adrian Foulkes) wear two hats! They are both trained mediators and litigators. Different disciplines apply depending upon the circumstances. When asked to mediate, they deal with parties experiencing unresolved conflict in order to assist in resolution of such conflict. Mediation is a voluntary, non binding private dispute resolution where parties are encouraged to seek their own solutions to conflict which involves identifying key issues as part of the process of enabling parties to resolve their situation in a constructive and positive manner. This approach to mediation, being a tried and tested method, is effective in that the parties maintain ownership of the dispute with the mediator being tasked to facilitate a neutral and non-confrontational environment for the parties to discuss issues aimed at seeking a resolution.
With litigation, a different approach is called upon and our litigators at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins (Angela Davies-Jones, William Ransford and Adrian Foulkes) are familiar with navigating the Court process which includes adopting pre-action protocols, where applicable. Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins have a history of success across a wide range of litigious matters. They handle a wide variety of cases with varying complexities in terms of issues, parties and claim values. They offer various funding options, tailored to the client’s needs.
The two approaches outlined above are diverse. The benefits of mediation are as follows:
With litigation, there are advantages:
Both approaches to dispute resolution have potential disadvantages (mediation calls for co-operation on both sides which may be lacking; litigation can be expensive and slow with a decision being imposed upon the parties). At Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins we adopt a holistic approach to dispute resolution, with a focus on our clients’ best interests. When considering the options, we also have at the forefront of our minds other forms of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), which may be more appropriate e.g. negotiation and arbitration
SEPTEMBER 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE TO INCREASE FROM OCTOBER 2013
Increases will be made to the National Minimum Wage as follows:
21 plus: £6.31 an hour
18 – 20: £5.03 an hour
Under 18: £3.72 an hour
Apprentice: £2.68 an hour
If you require advice on employment matters generally, contact William Ransford on 01686 412166.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS
Many businesses are run by family members (e.g. parents and children). Often there is no formal partnership agreement in place with people preferring to base their agreement on unwritten understandings. This can pose difficulties when a partner dies, becomes seriously ill or retires. Without a written formal agreement, partnerships are governed by the Partnership Act (1890) which is somewhat inflexible. It is always advisable in a partnership situation to enter into a written agreement so that the requirements of the partners can be met. A well worded Partnership Agreement can be invaluable in the context of succession planning and in defining each partners` share or role in the business and to avoid a partnership being brought to an end in certain circumstances.
Contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166
COHABITEES’ RIGHTS ON INTESTACY
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “common law wife or husband”. Where a person dies leaving no valid Will, the Intestacy rules apply which make no provision for a surviving cohabitee. If a deceased cohabitee fails to make sufficient financial provision for the surviving cohabitee, this can cause additional stress on family relationships particularly when the survivor has to resort to court for reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate. Such stress and costs can be avoided by making a Will.
Avoid delaying making a will by contacting Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins on 01686 412166
CHARITY BIKE RIDE
On the 4th October 2013, our client Dean Taylor will be cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats - the purpose of the cycle is to raise money for Huntingdons Disease Association from which one of his friends has suffered for a number of years. He says that, as the disease is quite debilitating and not easy to live with, the challenge of such a long bike ride will seem like nothing in comparison. He knows lots of people request sponsorship throughout the year for various good causes and it is hard to support everything. However, if you would like to join us in sponsoring Dean and his friend Andrew then please click on the following link and follow the instructions.
Our Mr William Ransford (Solicitor and Notary Public) presented a shearing trophy donated by Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins for the Trefeglwys Show held on Saturday 3rd August 2013.
AUGUST 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
MEDIATION – DO YOU NEED HELP TO RESOLVE A DISPUTE?
Mediation is a voluntary, impartial and confidential process where parties who experience unresolved conflict agree to appoint a neutral third party to assist in their resolution of conflict. Our mediators at Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins, being Angela Davies-Jones and Adrian Foulkes offer expert guidance to assist in the resolution of disputes such as:-
• Work place disputes
• Difficulties between family members
• Neighbour and boundary disputes
• Farming and agricultural related disputes
• Eldercare complaints
• Landlord and tenant issues
• Contract disputes
• Disputes with tradesmen
• Debt and consumer disputes
• Environmental and planning issues
• Disputes over Wills and Estates
• Business and partnership disputes
• Community, sporting and other bodies to include not for profit organisations issues
• Issues between students and/or colleges and universities
Our mediators at Milwyn Jenkins will explain all you need to know about the process, will listen to your view of the situation and will assist and support you in the process of achieving the best outcome.
Contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins by telephone on: 01686 412166 or complete our online enquiry form.
Where a property is being sold under a power of sale, a mortgagee who has repossessed a property owes a duty to take reasonable precautions to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable. Care therefore needs to be taken by mortgagees in possession to ensure that they do not set a very low asking price simply to generate interest and just to cover the debt owed. If you find yourself in this position and are concerned that the mortgagee has set an asking price which is too low for your property, contact Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins by telephone on: 01686 412166 or complete our online enquiry form.
NEW FEES FOR MAKING A CLAIM TO AN EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL
From 29th July 2013, fees will be charged for making a claim to the Employment Tribunal. A fee has to be paid when starting the claim and a further fee is payable before the final hearing when the outcome of your case is decided. For advice, contact William Ransford of Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins by telephone on: 01686 412166 or complete our online enquiry form.
Evans and others v Lloyd and another
 All ER D 264 (Jun)
A Mid Wales farm hand gave almost everything he owned to the farm-owning family that he grew up and worked with for more than 60 years. In the case of Evans v Lloyd heard in The High Court in Cardiff where judgment was delivered this week, disaffected members of Wynne Evans family had judgement given against them as the judge, Andrew Kesyer QC, ruled in favour of Mr & Mrs David and Elizabeth Lloyd of Cefnbarrach farm Trefeglwys represented by Geraint Jones QC and Gwydion Hughes both instructed by Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins Solicitors of Llanidloes.
Up to his death in 2006 aged 79, Wynne Evans, had spent his entire life from the age of 14 living on at Cefnbarrach Llanidloes working for David and Elizabeth Lloyd (and before that, their parents). Wynne was not related to Mr and Mrs Lloyd in any way but over the years had developed an extremely close relationship with the Lloyds and was in effect accepted as a member of the family.
Being the only member of the family with a farming background, Wynne was left a farmhouse and some surrounding land on the death of his older brother, Ieuan, in 1985 which he later gifted to Mr and Mrs Lloyd free of charge. Following Wynne’s death, his cousin Bernard Evans and his wife Brenda sought to have these gifts set aside on the grounds that they were unconscionable transactions and that Mr and Mrs Lloyd had unduly influenced Wynne to make them.
The judge rejected these claims “without any regret” preferring the evidence of Mr & Mrs Lloyd whom he referred to as “thoroughly decent people” to that of the claimants. Although Wynne enjoyed a simple life, he was, nevertheless, “independently minded” with his own views in areas such as politics. The Court rejected claims of undue influence as the gift could be explained as “ordinary motives by which people are accustomed to act” and the judge agreed with Geraint Jones QC that Wynne Evans “would be turning in his grave” if he knew that his generosity was being challenged in Court.
William Ransford of Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins said following release of the judgment “This is a case that should never have been brought in the first place. The Lloyds view of events was consistent from the outset and they feel thoroughly vindicated by Judge Keyser’s decision and especially his comments about their motivation and character. My clients deserve credit for bringing this matter through to a successful conclusion in what has been an enormously anxious time. They would like to thank Geraint Jones QC and Gwydion Hughes for their hard work and skill in ensuring that this opportunistic claim was roundly dismissed.”
JULY 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
With the holiday season upon us, now is the time to make the appropriate preparations. We would advise you to have adequate holiday insurance covering eventualities such as sickness or accident. Always shop around for quotes and never forget to read the small print! In particular, you need to check whether there are any additional conditions to the policy (e.g. if your flight is delayed, how long does the delay have to be before the insurance company will pay out any compensation). Also, check whether there are any exclusions to the cover provided (e.g. dangerous sports and activities, existing medical conditions and age limits). It is also worth making sure that the policy does not have too high of an excess for your needs.
If expensive personal items are being taken on holiday, check that you have adequate insurance to cover against any loss or damage. It is worthwhile checking your household contents insurance policy to make sure that you are covered for any loss or damage to personal belongings whilst you are on holiday whether in this country or abroad.
You may have been watching BBC 3’s television programme based on a call centre in Swansea. We thought it might be worth highlighting what you can do if you are fed up with receiving cold calls similar to those featured in the programme! You can register free with the Telephone Preference Service by calling 0845 0700707. Please note that it can take up to a month for your registration to take effect, but after this, the problem should be resolved.
BUYING PROPERTY AT AUCTIONS
This is quite a popular way of buying property whether for residential, commercial or investment purposes. We act for many clients who have bought or sold by auction and it can be effective process by eliminating many delays with a successful outcome.
If you are a potential buyer, you will need to fully investigate the property by personally inspecting the property (we would suggest at different times of the day and night and on random days) and getting a surveyor to thoroughly check over the property for any potential defects or problem areas which may be expensive to rectify and which may not be readily apparent from your own inspection. Also, you will need to ask your Solicitor to carefully go through the auction pack in order to be sure that the title to property is in order and to advise you fully on any issues.
The important point to remember is that once the gavel falls, there is a binding contract and buyer and seller committed to proceeding to complete the transaction.
If you are considering buying or selling at auction, we have vast experience of handling such transactions and would be happy to advise and assist.
JUNE 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
PROPERTY MARKET UPDATE
Our Conveyancing department has been exceptionally busy since the beginning of 2013 with a continuing steady increase in the number of transactions proceeding to a successful completion. We feel that all the signs are positive for a recovery in the housing market which can only be good news for the local economy and beyond.
TENANTS’ DEPOSITS MUST BE “RING-FENCED”
Landlords of residential property must ensure that deposits paid by new tenants are paid into a government-backed scheme within 30 days of receipt. This gives protection to tenants and prevents Landlords from merely taking the money rather than retaining it as security for any damage to the property. It also protects the tenant in a situation where the Landlord becomes insolvent. It also offers protection to the Landlord by giving financial certainty and a mechanism which assists in resolving disputes. If a Landlord fails to comply with this strict requirement, Court proceedings can be taken against the Landlord with a potential penalty of between one and three times the value of the deposit being awarded to the tenant.
CONTINUING WITH THE RENTAL MARKET THEME……
Landlords must not forget to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before renting out a residential and most commercial properties. Once issued the Certificate is valid for up to ten years. Failure to obtain such a Certificate, can incur a fine of up to £5,000.00.
Just a reminder - all new recruits (with a few exceptions - pregnancy or maternity leave, trades union membership, whistle blowing, reporting health and safety risks or assertion of statutory rights) who commenced work on or after 6 April 2012, have to work for two years to qualify for unfair dismissal. However, from June, this two year qualifying period will be removed where the dismissal is due to the employees political opinion or affiliation.
Rhayader Free Legal Surgery - 6th June 2013
Our Mr Adrian Foulkes and Mr Liam Davies-Jones will both be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on Thursday 6th June 2013 between 11.00am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
WILL WRITERS REGULATION
The Government has confirmed that it has refused to regulate Will Writers which could place consumers and clients at a real risk. Will writers without the appropriate regulation do not have the following:-
1. A Code of Conduct or any professional governing body
2. Professional Indemnity Insurance
3. Appropriate training
4. To be clear on the level of costs to be charged; and
5. A complaints procedure.
A petition asking the government to reverse its decision has been put in place and can be accessed at the following link:-
Our Sian Mills was recently made Llanidloes' Deputy Mayor at a Ceremony held at Llanidloes Town Hall on Friday 10th May 2013, which our Adrian Foulkes also attended representing the Llanidloes & District Chamber of Trade. Below is a photograph of Sian in her Robes outside the Town Hall during the Mayor's Sunday parade which took place on Sunday 12th May 2013
Our Mr Adrian Foulkes will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 14th May 2013 between 11.00am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
MAY 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
FACEBOOK AND THE LAW
Facebook is a powerful form of social media which can have its advantages and disadvantages. Caution has to be exercised when posting photographs and messages. Employers cannot be criticised for checking Facebook entries in respect of employees. If for example, an employee is absent from work on sick leave and messages/photographs have been posted showing the employee appears to be fit and healthy, such posting can be used as evidence in an Employment Tribunal, in the event of there being a dispute. There is no right of privacy in this type of situation.
ACTION TAKEN AGAINST SPAM
If unsolicited electronic marketing (e.g. e-mail or text) is undertaken, whoever is responsible for such messaging can be fined. The reason for this is that under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, there is a prohibition against sending messages without the recipient’s consent. Also, the sender has to identify itself. This law has been a long time coming and the Information Commissioner has powers to enforce the 2003 Regulations.
The Agricultural Wages Board could be abolished from October 2013. If this happens, employees will still be protected under the Minimum Wage and the Working Time Regulations together with discrimination laws. We shall keep you posted.
CHANGES TO THE CHILD SUPPORT SYSTEM
Changes to the system were introduced on 10 December 2012. New applicants for child support who have four or more children with the same non resident parent are able to enter the new scheme. Further changes are in the pipeline to include families where there are two children, the intention to, eventually include all new cases. If you think you are affected by the changes and seek clarification on any matters, please contact us.
Our Mr William Ransford will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 4th April 2013 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
Congratulations to Ali Smith for being placed first Yorkshire Building Society in our Easter Card-Making Competition. She was last week presented her Easter Egg and cup by our Alison Brown and Julie Evans Well done Ali!
APRIL 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
Even though the weather may be inclement, now is the time to put your house in order (or more particularly, your holiday letting property). Owners of properties which are let for holidays may assume that, on death, they will be able to claim business property relief from inheritance tax. However, beware! It has recently been decided that holiday lets are held as an investment and in consequence, do not qualify for business property relief. The only way an owner can claim inheritance tax relief is if it can be proved that the service element being offered is substantial. Even if cleaning, heating, hot water, television and a welcome pack were offered to holiday makers, this is not sufficient for the “services” element to outweigh the “investment” reason for the let, for the reason that such services are considered to be “relatively standard”.
As we still appear to be in the throes of winter, we thought it may be useful to include some guidance regarding a landlord’s duty where rented premises include an open fire or wood-burning stove. As a stove and chimney are part of the structure of the property, a Landlord is obliged to keep them in good repair. For any fuel-burning appliance installed post October 2010, it has to comply with Building Regulations. Furthermore, a carbon monoxide detector has to be installed which must be kept in good condition. The position pre October 2010 is that although there are no specific regulations, a landlord is still under a general duty to ensure that they are safe.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO TALK ABOUT SNOW!
This was something we hoped could have waited until next winter but alas not! With the ongoing snow and icy conditions, we see no harm in reminding owners and occupiers of commercial premises that are open to the public of their obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors are kept reasonably safe when visiting their premises. There is no defence to say that as snow and ice is a natural occurrence, there is no responsibility. As all premises differ, what constitutes reasonable steps will vary from case to case. The longer snow and ice is left untreated, the greater the risk will be for liability. Therefore, if premises cannot be made reasonably safe by taking some positive action a decision may need to be made to discourage visitors.
Congratulations to Sam Fine for being placed third in Yorkshire Building Society’s Easter Card-Making Competition.
Well done Sam!
MARCH 2013 – LEGAL UPDATE
PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT - IT NEED NOT SPELL THE END OF ROMANCE!
It may not be the most romantic of gestures, however, it may not be a bad idea (for all sorts of reasons) to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement before getting hitched. In certain situations, there may be compelling reasons for considering entering into such an agreement e.g. where there are children of previous relationships, second and subsequent marriages, or to protect inherited or otherwise accumulated wealth. With changes in society and general attitudes, people are increasingly becoming more pragmatic and less romantic when considering marriage and there is no reason why a contract cannot be entered into aimed at regularising what is to happen in the event of the relationship ending.
If you are thinking about drawing one up, we would advise you to take legal advice aimed at making an agreement that lays out how you and your partner would divide things fairly. To be legally enforceable in the UK, such an agreement has to be carefully thought through and properly drawn up, following certain procedures.
A pre-nuptial agreement is not the only form of contract we would like to draw your attention to. If, for example, you are a farmer and you decide to hire out machinery and equipment, we would advise you to enter into a formal written hire agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the hiring arrangement. Do not leave it to chance as this could prove to be an expensive experience – what if a tractor is hired out but is not returned by a certain date? Who is responsible for insuring the tractor’s (and operator’s) use? What payment is to be made and at what frequency? These are just some examples of issues which arise and need to be addressed. For further advice, we are happy to assist.
SHEDS AND GREEHOUSES
With spring just around the corner, you may be in the mood for putting those green fingers to good use! If you were wondering whether Planning Permission or Building Regulation approval is required for sheds and greenhouses, so long as they: Do not cover more than half of the garden area (not including the area occupied by the house); contain no sleeping accommodation; the floor area does not exceed 15 square metres; no point is less than one metre from a boundary; it is not more than three metres high (for a flat roof) or four metre with a ridged roof; no part projects beyond any wall of the house that faces a road; and the outbuilding is for use only by those who occupy the house then they do not require permission/approval.
Our Mr William Ransford will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 13th February 2013 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
FEBRUARY 2013 - LEGAL UPDATE
INHERITANCE TAX TRAP!
If a person dies and is still involved (even if it is to a lesser extent than was previously the case) in, for example, a farming or indeed another business activity, when registering the death, care has to be taken to ensure that the deceased is not recorded on the death certificate as being retired. The word “retired” could prove to be a costly one from an inheritance tax point of view as tax reliefs may be lost with inheritance tax becoming payable.
DOGS AND THE LAW
Beware of the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953! Under this Act, any owner of a dog or the person in charge of the animal is liable under the Act if the dog worries livestock on agricultural land. Livestock is defined as including sheep, cattle, horses, goats, pigs and poultry. A farmer is entitled to protect livestock that belongs to him, or is on land which belongs to him or where he acts under an express or implied authority of a third party
If you decide to take your dog for a walk near livestock, you need to ensure that your animal is kept on a short lead and under your control.
CHANGE OF USE
All existing buildings have a defined use under planning laws, that is, a house, a number of flats, office, shop, factory etc. If it is intended to change the use of a building from one type of usage to another, an application needs to be made for Planning Permission even if the intention is to sub-divide a building. In addition, building regulations approval is required to ensure that the regulations applicable to the new use are met. If in doubt, contact us for advice.
SNOW AND EMPLOYMENT LAW
We have recently experienced a taste of poor weather (snow with a threat of floods). Employees are not automatically entitled to be paid if the weather is so bad that it prevents them from getting to work. Having said this, sometimes there may be a contractual entitlement to be paid. It is always worth reviewing contracts of employment and checking the legal position.
Our Mr Mark Harvey will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 9th January 2013 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
JANUARY 2013 - LEGAL UPDATE
THINKING OF GOING SKIING IN THE NEW YEAR?
Bear in mind that if, as an airline passenger, your flight is cancelled or delayed you may be entitled to compensation from the airline company. It has recently been confirmed that a delay of three hours or more will (subject to some exceptions) give rise to a right to compensation. The criteria on “delay” is whether the arrival time is delayed at the passenger’s “final destination”. You have, under UK law, a right to make a claim for up to six years.
Continuing with the theme of holidays, you need to make sure that you have adequate insurance cover - although a typical travel insurance policy will not cover any claim which arises from being under the influence of drink or drugs or where there has been exposure to unnecessary risk.
Well, roots to be specific! If there is tree root subsidence, a person who seeks to make a claim against, for example, a neighbour will need, to prove by way of expert evidence, that it was reasonably foreseeable that there would be damage to a specific property. Liability turns on the risks involved and the steps which could have been taken to reduce the risk. A person defending a potential claim may be able to successfully argue that the only way of avoiding damage would be to remove all problem trees as pruning makes no difference but to require all offending trees goes against the principle of “social utility”. Please contact us.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTION – DO YOU NEED TO MAKE OR CHANGE YOUR WILL?
The New Year is a good time to focus on the important things in life. If you have young children, have you appointed a guardian to act in the event of your death? This can easily be done by Will. If a guardian is not appointed for your minor children then the decision as to who should care for your children will be made by the Courts. Only those with “parental responsibility” can make the appointment. Anyone can be appointed as guardian but it is crucial to give careful consideration to the identity of that person (or persons) taking into account the potential guardian’s:
• Work commitments
• Age and general health
• Relationship with the child or children
• General family situation.
If you require further advice or any other matters, please feel free to contact us by telephoning on 01686 412166.
Our office will be closed for the Christmas Holidays from 12 noon on Christmas Eve until 9.00am on 2nd January 2013.
MILWYN JENKINS & JENKINS WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR
DECEMBER 2012 – LEGAL UPDATE
EMPLOYMENT - PATERNITY LEAVE
An employee can take one or two weeks of Ordinary Paternity Leave and up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave, if the child’s mother has returned to work. Please note that Ordinary Paternity Leave must start and end within 56 days of birth.
If you have any further queries on this or any other employment issues, please contact William Ransford
LAND LAW – MANORIAL RIGHTS AND CHANCEL REPAIR
You need to be aware that manorial rights will cease to be overidding interests on 12 October 2013. In addition, the deadline for registering and protecting chancel repair rights is also the same date.
At the moment, manorial rights bind purchasers, whether the property is registered with the Land Registry or not. From October 2013, this will change and anyone who thinks that they are entitled to any such rights should take steps to register now with the Land Registry.
With chancel repair, it is important for parochial church councils to protect such rights before the deadline. Failure to do so will mean that any future purchaser who pays “valuable consideration” for a property will take it free of the chancel repair liability. In the meantime, until such a transfer takes place, the chancel repair remains in force and is still capable of being protected by registration. For the sake of avoiding uncertainty, we would urge you to take advice on registration sooner rather than later, if this is an issue which affects you.
PLANNING - INSTALLING REPLACEMENT GLAZING
Where steps are taken to replace glazing in windows and doors, although planning permission is usually not required as this is regarded as “permitted development”, it will be necessary to ensure that building regulations approval or a FENSA Certificate is issued. So many problems can arise when the time comes to sell a property if this is not properly dealt with. Also, the situation may be a bit more complex if a property is Listed or is situated within a conservation area. For further advice, contact us.
Our Mrs Angela Davies-Jones will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 12th December 2012 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
Angela Davies-Jones was a panel member at the POLICY FORUM FOR WALES KEY NOTE SEMINAR: "The way forward for sustainability in Wales"on 22nd November 2012 at The Marriot Hotel, Cardiff when she gave a presentation expressing her view as to whether the Sustainable Development Bill should include a legal definition of the term “Sustainable Development”. The transcript of her speech can be read on the "RESOURCES" page of our website or by clicking the "Resources" link below:-
NOVEMBER 2012 – LEGAL UPDATE
WORKPLACE PENSIONS REFORMS
As from October 2012, wide ranging work-based pension reforms have been phased in. The employers who are currently affected are those with 250 or more employees. Employers with 50-249 employees will have to implement the changes between April 2014 and April 2015 with smaller businesses – employing less than 49 members of staff expected to be brought into process between June 2015 and April 2017.
The reforms require employers to automatically enrol employees into pension schemes. If there is no existing staff pension scheme, employers are required to either set up an appropriate “qualifying scheme” or find one in the market place. Employers are responsible for enrolling employees into the chosen scheme(s) and for collecting and paying over contributions.
FARMING – SUCCESSION PLANNING
This can be a difficult issue to tackle and all too often, problems can arise with delay. The sooner consideration can be given regarding the future of a farming business from a succession point of view, the better. Sometimes uncomfortable decisions have to be made involving family members. You should not be put off by the fear of incurring legal costs. To do nothing is, in our experience, not really an option. For expert advice on how to address various issues including the transfer of land, property and other business assets along with other matters such as Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys, contact us.
PLANNING: CONVERTING GARAGE TO LIVING ACCOMMODATION
Where there is an attached or integral garage for residential properties, planning permission is not usually required unless there is a change of use. The reason for this is because the garage and living accommodation are both ancillary to the residential use of the property. However, you may need to check whether any specific planning conditions are in place which prevents such a change. Always check planning documents before embarking upon any change! Further buildings regulation approval will need to be obtained. If you are thinking of selling your property and you are unsure about any change which may already have been made to your property, to avoid any delay and unnecessary costs, check the position at the earliest opportunity.
If you require any further information regarding any of the above, we shall be pleased to assist and would invite you to contact us.
Our Mr Mark Harvey will be attending a free legal surgery at the offices of Rhayader & District Community Support, The Arches, West Street, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5AB on the 14th November 2012 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For a free appointment contact us or alternatively contact Alison Thomas (Transport & Wellbeing Coordinator) on 01597 810921
Angela Davies-Jones today (10th October 2012) gave a talk to the Friendship Group at the Weslyan Chapel, Longbridge Street, Llanidloes. She discussed Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorneys and Long Term Care.
If you have a group which would be interested in having a presentation by this firm then please contact us.
Land Registry provides top tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters
Property is usually the most valuable asset people own. It can be sold and mortgaged to raise money and is therefore an attractive target for fraudsters. The properties most vulnerable to fraud are usually empty, tenanted or mortgage-free. Individuals at a higher risk of fraud include owners who are absent for whatever reason; for example because the owner may live abroad, buy to let landlords, the elderly not living in their properties because they may be in long term hospital or residential care, and where a relationship has broken down.
Land Registry’s top tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters are:
First of all make sure the property is registered. If the owner becomes an innocent victim of fraud and suffers a financial loss as a consequence, they will be compensated. Once registered make sure the contact details are up-to-date. You can have up to three addresses on the register; email addresses or an address abroad can be used. The more information provided, the more chance the land registry has of contacting the owner if needed.
Owners who feel their property might be at risk can have a restriction entered on their property which is designed to help prevent forgery by requiring a solicitor or conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner. There is no Land Registry fee for home owners to register this restriction, as long as they do not live in the property they wish to protect. Owner occupiers will continue to pay.
OCTOBER 2012 – LEGAL UPDATE
SLOW TAKE UP FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS SCHEME IN POWYS
It would appear that the “take up” on the Powys “Lend a Hand Scheme” is making slow progress. To qualify, you need to contact Lloyds TSB Bank PLC who will be able to provide further information. As there is a cap on funding, anyone thinking about buying a property for the first time, who may interested in the scheme should contact their nearest Branch for information in order to get the ball rolling. If you require any further details regarding this scheme, we would welcome your enquiries.
From 1st October 2012, the National Minimum Wage hourly rates have increased and are as follows:-
? Employees aged 21 and over - £6.19
? Employees aged 18 – 20 - £4.98
? Employees aged 16 – 17 - £3.68
? Apprentice rate (for a apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of apprenticeship) - £2.65
Please note that for anyone of compulsory school age, the National Minimum Wage rates do not apply.
WHEEL CLAMPING BANNED
Also, from 1st October 2012, it will be an offence clamp or tow on private land under the Protection of Freedom Act 2012. This only applies to private land. Public Authorities will still be able to clamp or tow vehicles on their land. However, if you find someone has parked on your drive without your consent, your only course of action will be to seek a Court Order for trespass.
CRIMINAL LEGAL INSURANCE
Owing to an erosion in the eligibility of criminal legal aid, a criminal legal insurance policy has been devised, providing cover for the financial shortfall in contributions to criminal defence costs. Further information regarding the scheme can be obtained by following the link below:-
If you require any further information regarding any of the above, we shall be pleased to assist and would invite you to contact us.
Angela Davies-Jones will be giving a talk about Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorneys and Long Term Care to the Friendship Club at the Methodist Church, Longbridge Street, Llanidloes on 10th October 2012 at 2pm
Solicitors for the Elderly Call For Urgent Regulation of Will Writing.
Solicitors for the Elderly fears thousands of people are putting themselves at risk of being cheated by unscrupulous salesmen who offer to write their wills but who are not adequately qualified, trained or insured.
Last month the UK’s Legal Ombudsman highlighted dangers of using Will writing companies to Make Wills. This week The One Show also called for Will writing to be regulated to protect the public. A recent survey showed that 67% of consumers wrongly believe that all Will writers are solicitors and 82% of the 1,000 people polled thoughts that training and qualifications are required before someone can become a Will writer. In fact anyone can write a Will for payment.
David Sinclair, a Director of Solicitors for the Elderly said, “Will writers need no training and they aren’t regulated so if you choose a Will writing company to do your Will you are taking a huge risk. I have heard horror stories of clients who have used Will writers and then paid the price.” “It can be very costly to sort out after you have gone, leaving your family to pick up the pieces as problems generally only come to light when you have died.
Many people make Wills when they enter their senior years and are targeted by Will-writing companies who often apply high-pressure selling techniques, offering wills for a low or discounted fee, then recommend themselves to be appointed as executors, selling other services without full advice, such as transferring the home into a trust in an attempt to avoid care fees. Terms and conditions can be poorly worded and difficult to understand.
Will writers often claim they are significantly cheaper than solicitors but recent research carried out by Which? Magazine found on average the price of a Will from a Solicitor is £130 and from a Will writer is £107. Professionals, such as solicitors and legal executives are regulated, have relevant qualifications, undergo continual training, must be insured and provide redress if things were to go wrong. Given the protection you get by making a Will with a regulated professional the small difference in price is well worth it.
David went on to say, “We need new regulations to help protect the consumer, particularly older and vulnerable people. I recommend using a local member of Solicitors for the Elderly which you can find by calling 0844 567 6173 or via www.solicitorsfortheelderly.com
SEPTEMBER 2012 – LEGAL UPDATE
GREAT NEWS FOR FIRST TIME BUYER IN POWYS
Being able to obtain Mortgages which only require a 5% deposit and with preferential terms, has been very difficult for First Time Buyers over the last few years. We are therefore pleased to confirm that Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Powys County Council have joined forces to establish the new 'Local Lend a Hand Scheme' which was launched on 14th August 2012. This scheme enables First Time Buyers to only provide a 5% deposit (subject to fulfilling normal lending requirements) and Powys County Council will then guarantee or indemnify the balance of the deposit. Lloyds TSB are the only mortgage company running the scheme details of which can be seen on the following link:-
Please note that it is a requirement that a First Time Buyer must apply for the scheme in person - so they must make an appointment at their nearest Lloyds TSB branch. Funding is given on a 'first come, first served' basis and it is only available for as long as local authority allocated funding lasts. The allocation by Powys County Council £1,000,000.00 and Powys County Council have stipulated that they will only consider loans up to a maximum of £175,000.00. The property must also be within a postcode that is entirely within the borders of Powys.
If you need any free assistance or need further details about the scheme, then please do not hesitate to contact our Adrian Foulkes by telephone on 01686 412166 alternatively, you can e-mail him on firstname.lastname@example.org
SOLICITORS FOR THE ELDERLY
We are very pleased to announce that we have recently become members of Solicitors for the Elderly after passing a rigorous application.
Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent, national organisation of lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and legal executives who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
The main areas of law members cover are:
• Estate and tax planning using wills, trusts and lifetime giving
• Powers of attorney and Court of Protection work
• Probate and the administration of estates
• Trusts administration
• Living Wills
• Information on home care
• Preserving assets in the event of long term residential or nursing care
• Care home contracts
• Advice on financial responsibility and funding criteria for long term care
• State benefits
• Home equity release plans
• Mental Health legislation
• Elder abuse
• Deprivation of Liberty
We are very happy to meet with you at home or at some other suitable venue and at a time convenient to you should you wish to discuss any of the above matters.
AUGUST 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
Now that we have had a bit of sunshine, you may be considering installing solar panels. Fixing solar panels to the roof of your house is likely to be regarded as “permitted development” under planning law with no need to apply for planning permission. Sometimes, however, the position is not straight forward. If you lease premises, you may need to get permission from your Landlord, the owner of the building or Management Company; if you have a mortgage you will need to obtain the permission of your lender (see below).
If your property is within a Conservation Area, you will need to have planning consent. If it is a Listed Building you will also need to obtain Listed Buildings Consent which will only be granted if the panels are inconspicuous or are mounted on an adjacent unlisted building or structure. On any other building, panels should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise:-
• The effect on the appearance of the building;
• The effect on the amenity of the area.
Building regulations will normally apply not only to the installation of the panel but also to the electrical installation. You will also need to check the ability of the existing roof to carry the weight of the panel. Some strengthening work may even be needed.
Many utility companies require a 25 year lease of the home owner’s roof space to install solar panels. Great care needs to be taken if you intend to enter into such an arrangement: The terms of the lease need to be carefully considered and if you have a mortgage, not only does the lease have to be satisfactory to yourself but also to your mortgage company who will need to consent you entering into the lease. This is a complex area of law. Therefore, please contact us for specialist advice.
We are experienced in dealing with accident claims and are happy to provide you an initial review following an accident to ensure that you are not faced with unnecessary legal costs. We regularly liaise with medical experts, insurers and/or their legal representatives. Contact us to ensure a stress free and successful conclusion to your claim.
Angela Davies-Jones has been invited to speak on a panel at the "Policy Forum for Wales keynote seminar: The way forward for sustainability in Wales" at a central Cardiff location on Thursday 22nd November 2012. Further details will be posted when they become available.
Alison Brown, our receptionist, is busy supporting her husband, Kevin Brown, Procurement Manager at Randall Parker Foods who is in training to row across the English Channel in support of the AHOY Centre Charity who mainly work with disadvantaged and disabled children. The event takes place on 20 October 2012, leaving Dover at 6.30am, weather permitting. Kevin is part of a team of 7 in his boat, of which there are 4 boats in total. Kevin's boat is sponsored mainly by Randall Parker Foods. Watch out for his team "Lamb Lubbers". If you would like to donate, please view the following website:-
JULY 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
We have recently become members of Certainty. This is the electronic National Wills Register, which provides a Will registration and Will search service. We consider it important, not only to make a Will but to ensure that it can be found after death. This ensures that assets are distributed in accordance with the terms of the last Will made instead of under intestacy rules which may not necessarily be the way you would have wished. To find out more, please contact us.
DON’T GET CAUGHT IN A KNOT!
Japanese Knotweed was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant in the nineteenth century. However, do not be taken in by its appearance – the plant has spread to such an extent that it has become a real nuisance. If you have Knotweed at your property, beware as it may cause a legal nuisance which could give rise to problems. A landowner is obliged to control the plant to prevent further spreading and liability. For legal advice, please contact us or see the link below for further guidance:
FLOODING – DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
With the level of rainfall experienced recently with little hope of dry weather on the horizon, now may be a good time for you to check whether your property is at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea. If you have not already done so, check whether your property is within a flood plain. This can be done by looking at the Environment Agency’s Flood Map which can be done through this link: http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiybyController. Anyone can have access to the same information that is available to insurance companies and if you are finding it difficult to get or renew insurance, you need to be aware at the first available opportunity and to take specialist advice.
JUNE 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
FINAL REMINDER - IMPORTANT DEADLINE
Homeowners have until the end of June 2012 to complete and return a form to register their septic tank or cesspit with the Environment Agency. The registration process is free and can be done on line by going to www.environment-agency.gov.uk/sewagedischarge or by telephoning 03708 506506.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
(CHANGES TO UNFAIR DISMISSAL RULES ON 6 APRIL 2012)
Where employment commenced on or after 6th April, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal increased from one to two years with the maximum award costs increasing from £10,000 to £20,000.
If it is considered that your claim or any part of it has “little reasonable prospect of success” an applicant can be ordered at a pre-hearing review before the Employment Tribunal to pay a deposit of £1,000, an increase of £500 from 6th April.
Employers beware – you may need to review your policies and procedures.
Whatever your concerns, we are here to help – contact William Ransford at email@example.com or telephone 01686 412166 with your queries.
WELSH GOVERNMENT REFORMS PLANNED FOR PRIVATE LANDLORDS
The Welsh Government has outlined changes designed to tackle homelessness by providing more housing and improving conditions in private rented homes. Under its proposals, Landlords and agents will be expected to sign a compulsory register and pass a “fit and proper person” test in order to be able to rent a home.
The proposals include a pledge to deal with empty properties by giving Councils the ability to increase Council Tax on properties which are empty for longer than a year.
We shall endeavour to provide updates on this important development as and when they become available
POWYS COUNTY COUNCIL LOCAL AUTHORITY MORTGAGE SCHEME
We have been closely liaising with Powys County Council in an attempt bringing you news of any developments. There has been some delay owing to political changes following the recent elections. We expect the scheme to be launched in the very near future. Watch this space!
16 May 2012
The Law Society and HSBC have announced an agreement whereby HSBC will amend its conveyancing approach to enable all Solicitors accredited with the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) home-buying quality mark to act for HSBC as well as its mortgage customers.
This firm is CQS accredited and will be able to act for HSBC as well as clients which was the case previously.
This decision ensures a much wider choice of Solicitor with high professional standards as recognised in the CQS scheme.
We would welcome any queries you may have regarding this development.
MAY 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
AUCTION OR PRIVATE SALE?
At this time of year we often act in the sale of property – residential, commercial and agricultural by public auction.
Some of the advantages of an auction include:
• The competitive bidding process, which makes an auction especially effective when selling an unusual or very desirable property, which may be difficult to put a price on.
• Certainty. If successful, a definite sale is made with completion usually twenty eight days of the date of the auction.
• The set date for the auction and the public way in which the property is sold helps to focus minds and in our experience, encourages potential buyers to act quickly.
ARE YOU IN DANGER OF LOSING YOUR JOB?
We are finding that more and more people are facing uncertain futures, particularly with their job security and impact of financial strain. Even if you have not been made redundant but fear that this may happen or are simply unhappy in your work, we are here to help. You may need advice for:-
• Unfair or constructive dismissal
• Maternity and paternity rights
• Discrimination and harassment
• Breach of Contract and Restrictive Covenants
• Compromise Agreements
• Representation at Tribunal and Court
• Unlawful deduction of wages
• Debt advice
• Mortgage advice
We offer an initial free consultation of up to 30 minutes whether in person or by telephone at which time we can discuss your case and the funding options available to you.
For further advice or information, please feel free to contact us by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (01686 412166), fax (01686 413580) or by calling into our office (Mid Wales House, Great Oak Street, Llanidloes, Powys SY18 6BN) when our helpful team will be pleased to assist.
Our Adrian Foulkes managed to complete his half marathon run at Reading on 1 April 2012, achieving a respectable time of 1 hour 31 minutes 25 seconds. It was an enjoyable (but painful!) experience. Many thanks to all those who sponsored his run, which was in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support.
APRIL 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
Traditionally Easter is one of the high points in the housing market calendar. Recent changes in legislation and practice mean that the following points must be considered when buying or selling residential property.
Sewers & Drains
In October 2011 water utility companies were obliged to adopt sewers and lateral drains and they sent out explanatory leaflets advising householders of the effect of the adoption provisions at that time. However, most utility companies do not have a clear database showing exactly what sewers and drains have now become adopted. It is entirely possible, therefore, that some conservatories, garages, car ports and other buildings may currently be constructed over an adopted sewer or drain by virtue of this legislation. This will inevitably cause problems upon a later sale of the property. If you feel that your property may be affected by this change of circumstance then please contact us.
New regulations came into force at the end of 2011 which require owners of septic tanks and waste disposal plants to register with the Environment Agency. If this provision affects your property then you should arrange to do so as quickly as possible - the reason being that more and more purchasers’ solicitors are insisting upon seeing a registration certificate for a septic tank before advising their clients to proceed with the purchase. Registration is quite straightforward by going online to the Environment Agency’s website.
Many householders have been approached by companies offering to install solar panels on the roof. Normally such arrangements involve the solar panel company leasing the roof usually for a period of around 25 years. What a lot of householders do not realise is that such an arrangement constitutes a Business Tenancy under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (Part II) and could give rise to unwelcome consequences. We have already been made aware of one case where the sale of a property fell through because one of the high street lenders would not accept a house with a business tenancy on its roof. Contact us if you need to discuss any issues to do with solar panels.
Finally, please visit our new Facebook page for information of a more informal nature. If you “LIKE” it, then click please click the link!
Mortgage Indemnity Scheme for New Builds in England
To find out more information about the New Builds Scheme which relates to new build properties in England, please see the following link:-
Powys County Council Local Authority Mortgage Scheme
We have recently heard from Powys County Council that the Local Authority Mortgage Scheme which could assist many first time buyers purchasing properties in Policy will no longer commence in April. It has now been put back until after the May local elections. If you are interested in the scheme, you can register that interest with Elaine Jones at Powys County Council at Elaine.email@example.com
We will keep you informed of any other developments in relation to the scheme and if you have any questions please contact Adrian Foulkes at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Build Scheme (England)
The Government`s announcement to assist people in England to climb onto or up the housing ladder is a welcome boost to the housing market and the construction industry. The NewBuy scheme is available on houses and flats up to a maximum value of £500,000 in England only. It will enable banks or building societies to lend up to 95% of the sale price which means that purchasers may only need to provide a deposit of 5%.
MARCH 2012 - UPDATE
IMPORTANT REMINDER: First-Time Buyers' Stamp Duty Concession to end
First-time buyers will no longer be able to receive an exemption from paying stamp duty from 24 March 2012. At present, first-time buyers are free from paying stamp duty on properties costing below £250,000. This is an important change. If you wish to take advantage of this exemption it is not too late but you do need to act fast. Please feel free to pass on this information and to contact us if you require any more advice.
Powys County Council Local Authority Mortgage Scheme
Since providing information regarding this scheme, we have received a number of enquiries from potentially interested clients and others. We are keeping a close eye on developments. Recent indications received by us from Powys County Council are to the effect that full details of the qualifying criteria in respect of this scheme will hopefully be published in the next month or so, with a view to the scheme being introduced in April 2012. We shall keep you informed of any developments as and when they filter through.
Are you thinking of buying a property with your partner?
To avoid any future potential problems on separation, it is wise to consider certain important issues. To avoid conflict further down the line, take advice from your conveyancing Solicitor about the different ways you can own your property and in particular, whether you wish to own the same on a 50/50 basis. The transfer document will need to record how you own the property and in what shares. You may also wish to draw up a Cohabitation Agreement, setting out what should happen to any other assets, debts and income in the event of your separation.
We are experienced in advising clients in this area of law and if you need anymore advice, we would invite you to contact us.
What is a Notary Public and how can we help you?
Along with Barristers and Solicitors, Notaries Public form the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in this country. In simple terms a Notary Public is qualified to witness or certify documents that have often been prepared abroad so that those documents can take legal effect in the country in which they were prepared. For example, a Notary Public may witness a signature to a Power of Attorney that has been prepared in Spain, so that the document in question can be used in order to buy or sell a Spanish property. Other examples of notarial services include the authentication of academic qualifications obtained in this country for use overseas and the witnessing and certifying of court documents for use in overseas proceedings, including the adoption of foreign children.
For further information concerning notarial services, please email William Ransford who is a Notary Public and Solicitor at email@example.com or telephone 01686 412166.
Please note that for the purposes of his notarial practice, William Ransford operates independently of Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins Limited.
Adrian Foulkes will be running the Reading Half Marathon on 1 April 2012 in support of the MacMillan Cancer Support charity. Donations to this worthy cause are very welcome and can be made by clicking the below link
As more and more people move away from high street shopping to do online shopping, it is always good to be aware that internet sellers can be based anywhere in the world. Do not assume that just because a web address includes reference to "UK" that the business is based in the UK. If you deal with a trader from the European Union, you have many of the same rights as you would for a business from the UK. It could, however, be problematical to enforce your consumer rights if a business is based elsewhere in the world.
PIP BREAST IMPLANTS
You may have come accross this issue in the media. We would advise all women with PIP implants to seek medical advice as soon as possible, unless they have already done so. If you are unsure about your rights and need to take legal advice, contact us
FEBRUARY 2012 - UPDATE
What happens if you die without a Will?
Without a valid Will, the rules of intestacy determine how the property (called the “Estate”) of the the deceased will be shared out. Unfortunately, this may not accord with their wishes. Only spouses or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy which were established under the Administration of Estates Act 1925. If you are divorced or if your civil partnership has been legally ended, you cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy.
Many people believe that if they die leaving a husband or wife still living, that person will inherit the whole of the deceased’s Estate. However, under the intestacy rules, if there are surviving children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the deceased and the value of the Estate is more than £250,000.00, the surviving partner will only inherit all the personal property and belongings of the deceased, the first £250,000.00 of the Estate and a life interest in half of the remaining Estate. This could mean that a substantial part of the Estate would be tied up in inconvenient and expensive statutory trusts set up under the rules of intestacy. “Common law” husbands and wives will receive nothing unless they are able to apply to court for financial provision from the Estate. This can create unnecessary delay, expense and worry.
There is a strict “pecking order” under the 1925 Act for deciding who gets what. Such rules belong to a different era and are arguably inconsistent with today’s modern family life.
Making a Will is therefore essential as failure to do so leaves too much to chance and risks considerable disappointment on the part of some family members.
We do not charge clients for storing Wills and other documents in our safe system unlike Banks and some other solicitors.
Please feel free to contact us if there are matters arising that are personal to you for which you would like to receive further legal advice.
Powys County Council Local Authority Mortgage Scheme
Powys County Council have yet to publish their qualifying criteria required for taking advantage of the Local Authority Mortgage Scheme. The scheme is intended to assist first-time buyers entering the housing market. The Scheme will enable the Council to provide a cash-backed indemnity of up to 20% of the purchase price of a residential property. Qualifying buyers may therefore only need to provide a 5% deposit coupled with a 75% mortgage. We shall keep you informed of developments as they have filter through
Yorkshire Building Society have announced that from the 27th January 2012, a Charity of the Year campaign will be held throughout 2012. The charity partner for the year will be the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Further details are available by linking to the YBS website.
On 23rd January 2012 our Yorkshire Building Society agency staff presented cheques each of £100.00 to ten local charities and organisations for Yorkshire Building Society's make a difference week project.
The charities and organisations who benefited included the following:-
Llanidloes St Idloes mother and toddler group
Maesyrhandir School, Newtown
Owainglyndwr Centre, Machynlleth
Llanidloes pensioners lub
Llanidloes Friendship Club
Celf o gwmpas, children with learning difficulties, Llandrindod Wells
Llanidloes energy solutions
First Responders, Llanidloes
Llanidloes Leg club
Providing you have been married for at least 1 year and are certain that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, divorce proceedings can be taken if one of the following can be established against your spouse:
Adultery; “Unreasonable behaviour”; Desertion for at least 2 years; 2 years separation with consent; 5 years separation
Although the process is relatively straightforward making it tempting to deal with it yourself, advice needs to be taken from an experience divorce lawyer who will guide you through the process thereby minimising stress and upset, ensuring your rights are fully protected
Angela Davies-Jones LLB LLM (Member of Resolution).
20 JANUARY 2012
First-Time Buyers' Stamp Duty Concession to end
From 24 March 2012, first-time buyers will no longer be able to receive an exemption from paying stamp duty. At present, first-time buyers are free from paying stamp duty on properties costing under £250,000. This is an important change - please feel free to pass on this information. If you need to know any more about this issue, we are happy to advise.
JANUARY 2012 - LEGAL UPDATE
Did you know that couples who cohabit have significantly fewer rights and responsibilities than people who are married or who have formed a civil partnership? There is no such thing as a "common law husband and wife" who have the same rights as married couples once they have lived together for a few years.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your partner to minimise the financial and legal problems which may arise if one of you dies or you decide to separate if you are living together as a couple.
Even if you have little to leave, it is important to make a will as, without one, your property and assets will not pass to your partner but will pass automatically to your blood relatives.
You should also consider making an agreement regarding the terms of your cohabitation which may make it easier for any possible separation to be amicably dealt with.
If you are an unmarried father or a step-parent, you may need to check whether you have parental responsibility for your children.
If you decide to buy a home together you need to carefully consider how you wish to own it or, if you rent, whose name is or should be on the tenancy agreement.
Another area which is sometimes overlooked is pensions. Check the rules of your pension scheme to see whether your unmarried partner will receive any of your pension. It may be that you need to nominate your partner to make sure that this happens.
If any of these important issues relate to you or a family member, why not make it your new years resolution to deal with them? If you wish to know more, we are happy to assist.
16 DECEMBER 2011
First-Time Buyers Mortgage Scheme in Powys
Powys County Council has introduced the Local Authority Mortgage Scheme which is intended to assist first-time buyers entering the housing market. The Scheme enables the Council to provide a cash-backed indemnity of up to 20% of the purchase price of a residential property. Qualifying buyers may therefore only need to provide a 5% deposit coupled with a 75% mortgage.
The qualifying criteria have yet to be published by the Council. When these are available we will inform you.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in this Scheme, please contact us:
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01686 412166
DECEMBER 2011 UPDATE – EMPLOYMENT LAW
The following brief notes are by way of an update relating to employment matters which are of interest for both employers and employees
Qualification period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim
From 1st April 2012 the qualification period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim will be extended from one year to two years. It is, however, expected that there could be challenges to this change. We will monitor the progress of this legislation.
Claiming holiday entitlements when on long term sick leave
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently held in the case of Fraser v Southwest London St George’s Mental Heath Trust that an employee on long term sick leave must request annual leave during the year in question in order to be paid for it. The request must be made by notice in accordance with regulation 15 of the Working Time Regulations 1998
Flexible working statistics
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, following a Freedom of Information Act request concerning the number of claims in the Employment Tribunal relating to employees right to request flexible working, have suggested that (from the figures collected) the fears expressed about the impact of extending the right to request flexible working hours are grossly exaggerated (clarkslegal.com). They do not agree that an extension of the law to all employees would lead to an avalanche of requests from employees. The Institute believe that this is the case because most employers already recognise that flexible working arrangements are a vital part of the modern work place.
Whether or not an employer decides if an employee qualifies for a Christmas bonus is at the employer’s discretion. It would be good practice for an employer, where problems are likely to arise, to implement a policy regarding the specific requirements that employees must satisfy in order to qualify for a Christmas bonus.
If you have any queries concerning Employment issues then please e-mail Mr William Ransford at email@example.com or telephone 01686 412166