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Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog.

 

Latest Posts

Harassment and Discrimination

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Harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation A male homosexual employee at HM Land Registry had openly come out to his colleagues at Lytham. He was later promoted to a position at Coventry but did not immediately disclose his sexual...

Estate Preservation

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Estate Preservation is concerned with maximising the value that you are able to pass to your family or other chosen beneficiaries. This does not just mean protecting your estate from Inheritance Tax.  You also may wish (eg)  to: Protect...

Dog Friendly Hotel ?

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Old Keith asked me to draft a letter because he was really browned off with posh jumped-up merchants and Bullingdon Boy-type bullies who irritated him to the core when they visited his Hotel in a leafy region of Falmouth for some Rag stunt or on a Stag...

Beware of Witholding Financial Information on Divorce

Carolyn Thomas
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On the 14th October 2015, the Supreme Court made a ruling which made it clear that dishonesty in financial dealings upon divorce will not be tolerated and settlements based on dishonest information are susceptible to being set aside. Alison Sharland and...

SDLT on purchase of an additional residential property

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Are you prepared for the changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax? The government is proposing an increase in the rate of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) for those who complete the purchase of  a second home or additional property after 1 April 2016.  The new...

Maintenance for Ex Partners: The Meal Ticket for Life?

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In a News item earlier in the year  we looked at the decision from the Court of Appeal in the case of   Wright v Wright . The case highlighted a definite shift in the attitude of the courts towards long term financial dependence by one ex-spouse...

To Buy...To Let? No More ?

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Buy to Let has become rather less attractive as an investment after a number of measures introduced by the Chancellor in what he has described as levelling the playing field for home buyers as against buy to let investors. For wealthier landlords –...

Helping You on to the Housing Ladder

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In his Spending Review and Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced, a number of measures aimed at helping buyers to own their own homes. These included: -Government fund to enable 200,000 starter homes to be made available at a 20% discount for first...

Help to Buy ISA

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The 2015 budget saw the launch of this initiative to help first time buyers.  Savings of up to £200pm will be topped up by the government by 25% with a cap of £3000. Further information is available on the Gov.UK website : Help to Buy: ISA...

Family Dispute Resolution: Putting Children First

Carolyn Thomas
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Putting Children First is the focus of Family Dispute Resolution Week 2015 and yesterday the Chair of Resolution  attended Parliament along with the founder of support organisation OnlyDads   to discuss with MPs how they can support...

Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts

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Draft regulations have been published to deal with Exclusivity Terms in ‘zero hours’ employment contracts. The effect of the regulations will be to prevent employers from including provisions to preclude employees from undertaking work under...

New Responsibilities for Landlords

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The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015  came into effect on 1st October. The regulations apply to existing, as well as to new, tenancies. Landlords must ensure that  during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015...

Fit for Work ? A New Service from 1st October 2015

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Launched today, 1st October 2015, Fit for Work is a government-funded initiative designed to support employees with health conditions and sickness absence. It provides free advice via its Website and via its telephone advice line  0800 032 6235 ....

Changes in Assured Shorthold Tenancies

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Changes to Assured Shorthold Tenancies came into force today, 1st October 2015. These have important implications for Landlords. The effect of new provisions in s 21A & 21B Housing Act 1988 is that a Landlord cannot serve a notice requiring...

New National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2015

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The National Minimum Wage rates are updated each October. New rates come into effect today (1st October 2015) as follows. £6.70 for workers 21 and over £5.30 18-20 yrs £3.87 for 16-17 yrs, who are above school leaving age but...

Owners Abroad Relief from Forced Heirship

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From August 17th, there are changes in European succession rules – after a very long gestation period.  The new regulation has implications for those ‘habitually resident’ in the UK  who are now able to elect that the rules of...

Disinheriting Family...A Cautionary Tale

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The Court of Appeal made a landmark ruling* on 27 July 2015 which has significant implications for the preparation of Wills. The Will of Melita Jackson left her entire estate valued at over £485,000 to be divided equally between three charities; it...

Thinking of Downsizing?

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It is not usual for our clients to downsize in their later years. This may be for practical and health reasons. It may be for financial reasons. (If the latter, it may be worth considering Equity Release as an alternative to a move.) Downsizing is likely to...

Extracting profit from your company

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You are running a successful business. Typically, you are drawing a modest salary and topping up your income by taking dividends. You may well be restricting your income in order to avoid higher rate liability. Additional funds are likely to be extracted...

Facing a CGT Bill on Selling a Property or Other Investment?

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We do from time to time meet clients who feel constrained by the unrealised gains on portfolios of property or share investments. In some  cases, these are more elderly clients who are also concerned about the Inheritance Tax bill that could be facing...

Saving Tax Following Sale of our Business

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Perhaps you have sold a business within the last three years. Or maybe you are going through that process now? The obvious tax consequence is the exposure to Capital Gains Tax liability on the sale. A less obvious consequence is that your potential...

Inheritance Tax (IHT) - Some of the Options

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Most of our clients prefer to avoid, or reduce, the IHT bill on their estates. Quite understandably, they would rather see their family benefit than the Chancellor. There are a number of ways to deal with the IHT liability. They tend to be variations on the...

Tax Implications of Selling Business Property

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If you own a business (or business property), you (or, at least, your beneficiaries) will benefit from a reduction in the Inheritance Tax (IHT) payable on your estate on your death. The sale of such assets leads to a loss of Business Property Relief (BPR)...

Facing a Tax Bill.. Could a VCT Help You?

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Investment into a Venture Capital Trust offers a number of tax incentives which could help you  reduce your income tax bill. Perhaps you recognise one of these scenarios: “I would like to draw more profit out of my company but I don’t want...

Inheritance Tax Changes July 2015 Summer Budget

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Have you prepared your estate to take advantage of the upcoming changes to Inheritance Tax? The Chancellor presented the second Budget of 2015 on the 8th of July in a speech that set out new inheritance tax changes.  Under the proposals, an additional...

Pension Freedom - What is it all About?

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New options for taking benefits from a defined contribution (money purchase) pension scheme came into effect from 6th April. The freedom applies to everyone from age 55.  What should you consider? The first step is to think about your personal...

Inheritable ISAs - A New Option

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An important tax change should not be overlooked by the executors and beneficiaries of an estate as well as by those advising them. This provision applies to the estate of any ISA investor who died on or after 3rd December 2014. With effect from 6th April...

Could Mediation Help Your Business?

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A Strategic Approach to Dispute Resolution in Business Companies and businesses involved in any kind of commercial dispute will benefit from a clear-headed and strategic approach to dispute resolution. Commercial mediation is often the right choice, and...

Meeting The Costs of Care

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Affording the cost of care in later years is currently a concern for many of our aging UK population. To address these concerns, Chancellor George Osborne, announced that the cost of care for anyone of 65 will be capped at a lifetime contribution of...

Do I Really Need a Financial Order on Divorce?

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Do I really need to get a Financial Order on divorce? A very recent Judgment would strongly suggest that the answer to that is ‘ YES ’ … if you do not want to be looking over your shoulder indefinitely. The Supreme Court has ruled that...

FROM AUSTERITY TO PROSPERITY?

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Budget 2015, March 20th With the General Election a matter of weeks away, the coalition government’s 2015 Budget managed to hail economic recovery, gloss over spending cuts and serve up a raft of measures designed, among other things, to support...

Chancel Repair Liability...

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… still  a concern for property owners ! There has been a good deal of press coverage about ‘chancel repair liability’. It has a long and complicated history and is now regarded by many as something of an anachronism.  It can...

Loss of Capacity: Think Ahead

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Mental capacity and planning for the future If a person loses mental capacity, and they have not properly prepared Power of Attorney forms, their affairs cannot be managed without an application to the  court to appoint a...

Pensioners Bonds - Rates Announced

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Pensioners Bonds were announced by the Chancellor in his Spring Budget. They will be available in January 2015, via National Savings & Investment (NS&I). It appears that the full Terms and Conditions (T&C) will not be released until January....

Entrepreneurs Relief on Value of Goodwill...

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The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included the announcement that Entrepreneurs’ Relief will no longer be available on a disposal of ‘the reputation and customer relationships associated with a business’  –  ie the...

SDLT Changes

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A major reform of Stamp Duty Land Tax was announced in the Autumn statement. As a result 98% of residential property buyers will see a welcome saving whilst only those paying over £937,000 will see an increase in SDLT. Each rate will be paid only on...

Pension Changes April 2015

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The proposed changes to pensions from April 2015 – Defined Benefit (DB) pensions The Chancellor has expressed his intentions to allow members of DB pension schemes more freedom of choice in their retirement benefit options, via transfer to defined...

Overtime and Holiday Pay

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The UK Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently ruled that employees’ holiday pay should reflect non-guaranteed overtime. For employers who regularly ask staff to work extra hours, the bill in future could be significant. But the critical words...

Dartmoor Commons (again)

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Ancient rights over the Dartmoor commons include : Turbary – the right to take turf for fuel Pannage – the right to allow pigs to eat acorns and beech mast Estovers – the right to take underwood or branches for fuel and repairs For hill...

A Budget for the Makers, the Doers, and the Savers...

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… as the Chancellor of the Exchequer put it in commending his budget to the House yesterday. The full text of George Osborne’s speech is here.  The supporting documents are available on the Gov.UK website. There is an important...

Looking to Save Inheritance Tax...?

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...but not wanting to give up income or capital ? More and more people are being dragged into the Inheritance tax net. Property prices and investment values are rising but the Nil rate band is held at £325,000 (£650,000 for a couple). Regular...

Profits Tied up in Your Company?

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Are you one of the many business owners who restricts salary and dividend to limit exposure to higher rates of  tax. Taking more profit out of the company would lead to further tax liability of at least 25%. You have probably exhausted the scope for...

Could You Claim a Tax Refund?

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Did you pay a heavy tax bill this year?   Would you like to get some of it back? Changes in taxation have seen increasing numbers into the higher rate tax brackets. The effective rate  of tax is increased further as other allowances are...

New Year Resolutions...

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Whether or not you resolved to put your financial affairs in order in 2014,  it is likely that you should review your financial plan.  Here are some of the questions to ask: -Is my retirement planning on track to enable me to enjoy the sort...

Flooding - Are You at Risk?

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The Environment Agency has recently published new maps allowing members of the public to discover more information about the risk of flooding to their property – a useful tool to anyone who currently owns or is thinking of buying a property. The maps...

Land Registry Fees Reduced by 50%

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From 17 th March 2014 the Land Registry fees will be reduced by 50% for certain applications delivered by electronic means, these include:  the fee payable by the purchaser on registering a transfer of the whole of a registered title; the fee on...

Did the Lady Bite the Right Dog ?

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Identification evidence is the weakest form of evidence that exists. As a result of R. v. Turnbull [1977] QB 224 a judge has a duty to warn a jury of the dangers of relying on identification. The dangers apply equally to civil and criminal cases....

SOMERSET COASTAL ACCESS REPORT

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MARINE AND COASTAL ACCESS ACT 2009 SOMERSET COASTAL ACCESS REPORT PUBLISHED ACTION REQUIRED BY MIDNIGHT 12 TH DECEMBER 2013 This Report... -Concerns a 90 kilometre stretch of coast path between Brean Down and Minehead; and -Sets out proposals for...

Keeping the Farm in the Family

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Most farmers hope to keep the farm in the family for the next generation. However, this raises a host of complex issues and it is perhaps natural, and therefore unsurprising, that they fail to grasp the nettle.  It is always easier to put off the...

Need Help to Buy a New Build...?

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Help To Buy – Phase 1 – New Build Phase 1 of the government’s Help to Buy scheme is the “Equity Loan” which is available for new build properties only.    In effect it is a shared ownership mortgage.  The...