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People often don’t tend to realise the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney until they see the effect of a loved one losing the ability to understand information and to make decisions for themselves.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents that allow a person, chosen by you, to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. In other words, your chosen ‘attorneys’ can assist you in handling your paperwork and decision making when you may be unable to deal with it. This can be either decisions relating to your property and financial affairs, enabling them, for example, to pay bills and collect your pension on your behalf or alternatively, to make decisions on your health and welfare such as what care home is most suitable for you.

If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you lose your mental capacity, someone will need to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This is likely to be very costly and can take many months. In the meantime, nothing can be done in relation to your finances.

I always recommend that my clients consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney. The document may never need to be used however, if anything should happen to them, they have the peace of mind of knowing that they have chosen someone they trust to assist them without any delay or expense.

If you would like to discuss Lasting Powers of Attorney in more detail, please contact one of our private client team.


It is sadly true to say that Domestic Abuse is an issue in a significant number of relationships. As Rebecca Ellerbeck of Howard and Over Solicitors, explains, "Domestic abuse is much more common than people realise. Many factors can contribute towards stress in a relationship and when levels of stress rise domestic abuse peaks."

On numerous occasions such abuse is often witnessed by children causing them significant distress and long term emotional problems.

Domestic abuse is not only physical violence but can include emotional or psychological abuse, sexual violence and abuse, threats, harassment and financial control. It can happen in all kinds of relationships and for any reason irrespective of age, race, sexuality, sex, wealth, geography and lifestyle.

Domestic abuse tends to follow a pattern of abuse and is designed to consciously control and dominate a partner/ former partner or family member. Once the abuse starts it often gets worse over time.

Whilst women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence, men are also affected.

The first step in dealing with domestic abuse is to recognise what is happening to you and understand that you are not to blame.

It is important to tell someone you can trust as quickly as possible.

There are remedies available to protect you if you or your family are victims of domestic violence. The Court can make a Non-molestation Order which forbids the abuser from abusing or threatening violence, harassing, pestering or intimidating you and any children. Such an Order gives the Police powers to arrest the abuser should the Order be broken. The Court can also make an Occupation Order which will enable you to enforce your right to stay living in your home and for the abuser to leave.

Howard and Over’s Domestic Abuse Team have significant experience in dealing with Injunctions and other work necessary to protect victims of domestic abuse.

During office hours please contact Rebecca Ellerbeck on 01752 690123

We can also put you in touch with local support networks who will continue to support and assist you in coming to terms with the situation once all legal aspects have been dealt with and the appropriate protection afforded. There is a huge amount of support out there!

Support Networks

• Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service– 01752 252033

• 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 200 0247

If you are affected by domestic abuse please do call us. Don’t suffer in silence.


Congratulations to Jo Melvin, Antonia Roberts, Nicola Ritchie and Katherine Millman who took part in the 10k Plymouth Legal Walk last night, raising funds for the South West Legal Support Trust.


Howard and Over will be taking part in the Plymouth Legal Walk on 3 October 2016.

Plymouth Legal Walk is a 10km walk around Plymouth to raise funds for free legal advice charities in Plymouth.

For more information please go to

Howard and Over are pleased to confirm the appointment of Katherine Millman as a partner of the firm. 

Katherine specialises in Private Client matters including probate, wills/estate planning and powers of attorney.

Jo Melvin and Katherine Millman promoted to Associates of the Firm

South West law firm, Howard and Over Solicitors, have promoted two of their lawyers, Jo Melvin and Katherine Millman to become associates of the firm.

Jo joined the firm in 2007 and is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives.  She has worked in residential conveyancing for 30 years with half of that experience being post qualification.  She aided in the expansion of the residential conveyancing department in the Ivybridge office and now heads it up, as well as being head of the New Homes Team for all three of the firm’s offices.  Jo has a wealth of experience in all aspects of residential property including residential sales and purchases (all values), freehold and leasehold property, new builds, shared ownership, help to buy, leases, transfers of land, transfer of equity and remortgages, matrimonial transfers, easements and auction sales and purchases.  She has lived and worked in and around the South Hams area for the last 31 years and so has a huge local knowledge.

Katherine joined the firm in 2012 as a recently qualified Solicitor and has since expanded the private client department in the Ivybridge office to become head of Private Client over all of the firms’ offices.  Katherine specialises in all aspects of private client work including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate matters.  Since joining Howard and Over, Katherine has become a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and has also been awarded their Older Client Care in Practice Award.

The move will see Jo and Katherine play a more senior role in shaping the vision and continuing the growth of Howard and Over Solicitors.

Jo said: “As we grow our services, staff numbers and client base, we are continuing to ensure that we provide a friendly and efficient service to our clients which is the reputation that has allowed us to be able to develop the firm in the first place.”

Paul Mossop, senior partner at Howard and Over Solicitors said: “Katherine and Jo have played a key part in helping the firm expand and the partners are delighted to welcome them as associates of the firm.  We are also very excited by the new additions to the team and look forward to a promising future together”.

Expansion at Ivybridge

The firm has now introduced Rebecca Ellerbeck, a Solicitor specialising in family issues to the Ivybridge office, as well as Nicola Ritchie, a trainee Solicitor who is currently working alongside Jo in the Ivybridge property department.

Jan Millar, managing partner of Howard and Over said: “I am delighted to welcome Rebecca and Nicola to the firm.  As a high street firm it is important that we continue to offer a high level of service for family work as well as conveyancing services and Rebecca and Nicola will add expertise and enthusiasm to our already successful team.”

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But taking Legal Action can be Expensive

There are various ways of funding your case. You may already have legal expenses cover through your household or motor insurers and this may meet the cost of pursuing your claim. Alternatively if you are a member of a Trade Union they may be prepared to fund your case.

If you do not have any of the above you can pay the legal costs yourself as the case progresses. However most of our clients prefer to fund the case by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement, often known as a "no win no fee" agreement.

No Win, No Fee

We can look at dealing with your personal injury cases under a Conditional Fee Agreement. This means that if you win your case you must pay our costs but you should be able to get the majority of your costs paid by your opponents. If you lose, you pay nothing.

We recommend that the agreement is backed by insurance and our Personal Injury Specialist will discuss this with you in more detail during your first appointment.

What next?

We would be pleased to discuss any possible claim with you. If your claim has a reasonable chance of success we will be happy to represent you and we will guide you through the whole process.

We have offices in Devonport, Plymstock and Ivybridge and we are happy to see you at the office which is most convenient to you.

In the event that you cannot travel to one of our offices due to your injuries we may be able to visit you at home.

Is there anything I need to worry about before putting my business premises on the market?

Yes, unfortunately there are quite a few things you need to consider before placing your business on the open market if you hope to achieve a successful sale. Some requirements, like the Energy Performance Certificate, are needed before any businesses premises can even be marketed. But there are other matters, which most small business owners do not discover until the transaction is all ready underway, leading to unfortunate and avoidable delays. For example:

a. Apportionments – How are you going to apportion the sale e.g. between Goodwill, Property and Fixtures and Fittings? This should be considered carefully as the apportionment will have Tax consequences.

b. Asbestos Survey – this is a legal requirement under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002. A lot of small businesses owners are unaware of the obligation until a potential buyer’s solicitors ask to see the report.

c. Fire Risk Assessment – this is also a legal obligation that some business owners are not aware of until it threatens to slow down a transaction.

Even when a buyer has been found there are certain matters which should be considered right at the start of the transaction to prevent delay. For example:

Planning Permission – what if your potential buyer intends to change the use of the premises? It can take at least eight weeks to obtain planning consent for change of use, and in a buyer’s market this is as much of a concern for the seller as it is for the buyer and could result in the transaction falling through. These matters should be discussed right at the start of a transaction. 

I’m entering into a new lease of business premises, what are the things I need to look out for?

There are lots of important aspects to a business lease that may not come to light until some years after the transaction has completed, and when the consequences could have a severe impact on your business, some of these are as follows:

a. Rent – you need to check if VAT is included or excluded, the frequency and type of rent reviews. Is there any rent-free period? Is a rent deposit required?

b. Term – is it suitable for your business needs? If it is too short, you may find you’re forced to look for new business premises. If you have just started a new business venture, you may not be ready to tie yourself to a long-term liability.

c. Break Clauses – who is the break clause in favour of? It may be in favour of the Landlord and what appeared to be a ten-year term could be terminated after only three years.

d. Assignment – Can you assign the lease, and if so are there any conditions? e.g. Do you need to sign a personal guarantee? Do you need the Landlord’s consent?

e. Repairing/Insuring – who is responsible and how extensive are the obligations? You do not want to find yourselves entering into a lease of a premises which is in a poor state of repair, to find yourself with the inconvenience and expense of extensive remedial work because of your repairing obligations or a failure to agree a Schedule of Condition.

Note: This analysis may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.

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