Latest News

The Law Society has revealed that 73% of people aged between 16 and 54 do not have a will. 

The Society is concerned over the issue and believes around £8m went to the government in 2013 after people died intestate so protect your wealth and make a Will.

Howard and Over are pleased to announce that Katherine Millman, a solicitor in their Ivybridge Office, has successfully passed her exams to become a full member of 'Solicitors for the Elderly'.

Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent, national organisation of lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.

Local authorities are being warned by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) they cannot significantly change the contractual funding arrangements for current care home residents when changing the way they commission care. 

Local Authorities must properly assess the impact on existing users when making changes to care commissioning and must not leave families having to deal with the shortfall if funding arrangements are changed.

If you have any queries about care home fee funding issues please contact one of the team.

Congratulations to Katherine Millman, Laura Tucker & Olivia Slade on completing the 50 mile route raising funds for St Lukes.  

With increasing media attention being given to ‘Horror Stories’ about Inheritance Tax and nursing home fees, it is no wonder that Brits are becoming increasingly concerned about losing the assets they have worked hard for all their lives.

Transferring your property to your children, placing the property in trust or creating a ‘family trust’ can sometimes be helpful, however in the majority of cases it could land you with a large tax bill, usually capital gains tax. It is important to remember that you lose all control over the property.  For example, you may transfer your property to a child only to find that they become bankrupt or divorced, if this happens your home may be sold as part of the bankruptcy or divorce. 

The regulations regarding nursing home fees are very broad.  If your intention is to avoid nursing home fees, the local authority has the power to ignore the transfer or trust you have created.

Given the above and the fact the cost of setting up the unnecessary trust can run into thousands of pounds, it is vital that you take advice from a solicitor or accountant before entering into these schemes.

Please be aware that solicitors cannot under strict regulations cold call you, only salesmen will. If in doubt you can check on the Law Society’s website.

Please contact Jan, Donna or Katherine for further information.

Stella Dyer having devoted over 35 years to Howard and Over first as a trainee and the last 28 years as a partner has now retired to follow other interests. Stella together with her husband John will be setting off in September to sail around the world. The partners are sorry to see Stella go but wish her well in her new venture

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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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