Legal News

Planning Law - Take Advice Before You Act

The planning system is very far from straightforward and sensible landowners seek legal advice before tackling it. The point was underlined by one case in which a farmer ended up with a part-built barn and at risk of enforcement action if he completed the...

High Court Focuses on Essentials to Resolve Family Trust Dispute

Even the most careful drafting cannot always succeed in dispelling ambiguity or in making provision for all future eventualities. As a High Court case concerning a family trust showed, however, the courts are always there to act as a neutral umpire in...

Reliance on Accountant Shows Reasonable Care

If you rely on your accountant's advice regarding a tax issue, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will now regard you as having taken 'reasonable care' to get things right and will not impose a penalty. On 14 February, HMRC issued new guidance relating to the...

Premature Contract Signature Proves Expensive

Signing a contract before you are sure you are willing to complete it can be a huge mistake: judges do not flinch from enforcing valid contracts, as a recent case shows . It involved a man who reneged on a deal to buy a family home for £5 million. He...

Direct Contact With Both Parents Best Promotes Child Welfare

Family judges know that children normally do best when they have direct contact with both parents. The Court of Appeal underlined that point in a case concerning five ultra-Orthodox Jewish children whose transgender father had been ostracised by the close...

Mistaken Belief Overturns Estate Split Agreement

When the male partner of a cohabiting couple died, apparently without leaving a will, after they had lived together for more than 40 years, his estate was administered according to the laws of intestacy, with the result that no provision was made for his...

Non-Residents Beware - Ignorance of UK Tax Law is No Excuse

About 900,000 UK citizens are long-term residents abroad, and it is no particular surprise that they may be less careful about managing their UK tax affairs than those who live in the UK. Many foreign residents retain UK properties, and when these are sold a...

No Pay, No Passport?

In a consultation paper published just before the December holiday season , the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is the Government department that deals with child maintenance payment arrangements, outlined significant powers that would enable...

DIY Approach to Property Purchase Proves Costly

You might think that something as seemingly simple as buying a pitch for a caravan is straightforward enough to do yourself, but a recent example shows why no sensible person would consider entering into a property transaction without employing a specialist...

Reasonable Provision May Not Mean What You Think

When a person is excluded from the will of someone on whom they were 'dependent', the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 provides that the dependent person can apply for 'reasonable financial provision' to be made for their...

What Do Points Make? Tax Penalties

The automatic penalties attaching to late filing of tax returns have long been an unpopular issue for taxpayers. The system involves fixed penalties for missing deadlines and these are rigorously applied. Filing a tax return online just seconds after the...

Trust is No Replacement for Legal Advice

Sadly, not all relationships that get off to a good start last, and it is vital to seek legal advice before entering into any financial arrangements, even with those who are closest to you. That point was clearly made by a case in which a woman attempted to...

Onerous Leasehold Terms to be Banned

Following an outcry over the terms that apply to the purchase of new leasehold properties in some circumstances, the Government conducted a public consultation. This has now reported and legislation is expected soon to deal with the abuses identified. ...

Placing Trust in a Family Member Proves Unwise (Again)

Even the most apparently trustworthy people can sometimes turn out to be anything but and that is one good reason why it is sensible to appoint a solicitor as executor of your will. In one case that proved the point, an ex-police officer took advantage of...

ISAs in Estates to be Tax Exempt

One of the issues that proves difficult for executors of deceased persons who have Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) is that the interest on them is taxable once the owner has died. Many of these accounts are small and, given that interest rates have been...

Cohabitants Entitled to Bereavement Damages

The legal implications of cohabitation are often poorly understood by those who choose to live together outside of marriage or civil partnership, and the lack of protection for cohabitants often comes as an unpleasant surprise to many, especially when a...

How can you claim a refund on your Lasting Power of Attorney registration application fee

At the start of February, the Ministry of Justice announced that they have launched the OPG fee refund scheme. This means that many people can now claim a refund for their Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) registration fee. The refunds are being offered to...

Service Standards Must Be Appropriate for Properties

Owning a share of the freehold is often cited as a selling point to flat buyers – but tenant democracy is no panacea and there is little advantage to it if residents do not get on. In one case, a dispute between wealthy apartment dwellers over cuts to...

Do You Still Believe in the 90-Day UK Tax Residency Myth? Read This!

It is an enduringly popular misconception that all you need to do in order to establish that you are not UK resident for tax purposes is spend fewer than 90 days per year in this country. However, the true position is much more nuanced than that, as one...

Family Attachment a Critical Factor in Adoption

When the Family Court was asked to consider an application for an adoption order made by a couple, two factors proved crucial in deciding whether it should be granted. The first was that the boy's natural parents could not reasonably be considered able to...
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