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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
T: 01686 412 166
F: 01686 413 580
Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins
Mid Wales House
Great Oak Street
Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins have handled various transactions for me for over 35 years. Indeed, the firm also acted for my late father since the 1950s. I have always found the service to be excellent and second to none.
Garth Williams, formerly of Dolhafren, Caersws