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Calls for reform to the UK's divorce system

Natalie Carolan
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The end of Brangelina was one of a string of events from last year that left everyone in Hollywood feeling off kilter. And now Bennifer have officially filed for divorce too. Bennifer can rest easy. Since 1970, all divorces in California have been no-fault...

Trigger of Article 50 - What does this mean for family law?

Orissa Llewelyn
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Article 50 was triggered on 29 March 2017. But what does this actually mean? Fundamentally nothing will change any time soon; the triggering of this article has merely started the formal two year time limit for the UK to leave the European Union. This means...

Restoring the balance in favour of testamentary freedom

Natalie Carolan
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On 15 March 2017, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the landmark case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and others [2017] UKSC 17 . The facts were: Mrs Jackson had one daughter Mrs Ilott. In 1978, when Mrs Ilott was 17, she left home to live with her...

Is reform on the horizon for cohabitating couples?

Natalie Carolan
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More people cohabit than ever before. In fact, over the last ten years cohabitating couples were the fastest-growing family type, more than doubling from 1.5 million families to 3.3 million families. Despite the surge in numbers, as the law currently stands,...

Budget 2016 Update: Key changes to SDLT Regime

Mamuna Farooq
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  BUDGET 2016 UPDATE KEY CHANGES TO THE STAMP DUTY LAND TAX (‘SDLT’) REGIME   Since the Budget Announcement on 16 March 2016, new SDLT measures are in place:   The treatment of non-residential SDLT rates and bands,...

Sharland and Gohil: Nowhere to hide

Nina Lake
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Yesterday a judgment, long awaited by many family law practitioners, was heard in the Supreme Court. This was in relation to appeals by two women that the financial agreements they had each reached when getting divorced should be set aside due to the fact...

Legislative changes from 1October 2015- A Landlords guide

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Legislative changes from 1 October 2015 – A Landlord’s practical guide As of the 1 st October 2015, Landlords will face a number of changes due to the effect of the snappily entitled “Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and...

A word of warning to the separated spouse

Nina Lake
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If you are separated from your spouse, but not officially divorced, or are divorced, but did not do anything with regards to your finances at the time, it is really important to know what your rights will be in the future.  The recent case of JB v MB...

London: The Divorce Capital of the World?

Nina Lake
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London has often been described by the media as being the ‘divorce capital of the world’. Why is this? Surely it is not that easy for anyone to just pop along to the big city, nab a favourable divorce settlement and return to their country of...

Enter within 30 days - Time is on the essence

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Biometric Residence Permits have been in use for some time now for applicant’s making applications for leave to remain in the UK. Applicant’s applying for entry clearance, have usually been issued a visa for the duration of their stay in the UK...

Changes to UK Visitor Visas

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In a positive move, UKVI are simplifying the 15 routes currently available for entry as a visitor down to 4 new routes. These will now be as follows and take effect in late April of this year: Standard visitor; Visitor for marriage or civil partnership; ...

China - Tier 1 Investor Visa

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Playing the numbers' game alone, China remains the market to be in for immigration lawyers, wealth managers, tax advisors. The number of Chinese nationals who were granted Tier Investor Visas doubled last year and was almost twice the number of Russians...

Tier 1 Entrepreneur case law update

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Iqbal & Dependants v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 169 I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of ensuring that Tier 1 Entrepreneur applications are made correctly. These applications are not straightforward which may be the reason why they have a...

Tier 1 Investors - Increase in Demand

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There are various reasons for Tier 1 Investors looking to move to the UK. It may be because of the geopolitical situation in their home country, for the economic stability or for the general quality of life. The Wealth Report 2015 prepared by Knight and...

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

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The Immigration Act 2014 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional and Saving Provisions and Amendment) Order 2015 (SI 2015/371 (C.18)) has been published and comes into effect variously on 2 March 2015 and 6 April 2015.  It is the fourth commencement order...

Charity looses re executors interpretation of the nil rate band

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In October 2014 the Court of Appeal ruled against The Woodland Trust in their appeal challenging  the decision of the executors of the late Mrs Valerie Smith to interpret the expression 'nil-rate band' (‘NRB’) in her will to include...

January blues - Choosing the right solicitor

Nina Lake
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Monday 5 January 2015 was officially labelled ‘Divorce Day’ by the British media this year. Whilst some people smugly trotted off to the gym, swore to never eat chocolate again and vowed to spend less and save more, others started off the New...

Public granted online access to wills database

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Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service has launched a searchable online database allowing the public to obtain copies of wills at £10 a time, within 10 working days and without having to visit the probate registry. The database contains 41...

Clarification on who can bring a probate claim

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In the recent case of Randall v Randall [2014), the former husband of the daughter and main beneficiary of her deceased’s mother’s estate, sought to dispute the validity of his deceased former mother-in-law's will. In their divorce...

A Trip to the House of Lords

Nina Lake
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A day in the life of a family lawyer usually consists of sitting behind a computer swamped in files and papers with the constant ringing of the office phone, buzzing of the blackberry and bleeping of emails going off in the background, a trip to Court being...

Your home but whose house

Nina Lake
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It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to get on the property ladder. With mortgage companies now asking for deposits of around 20%, it is no surprise that young married couples are increasingly being helped by family members to fund the purchase...

Carer caught up in legal battle commenced by a professional Genealogist

Katie de Swarte
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An interesting case took place early this year where a carer was successful in securing part of her inheritance from the estate of the elderly lady she cared for. The estate was represented by a professional Genealogist who has appeared on the BBC series of...

Divorce and the cheating spouse: How should you proceed?

Nina Lake
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The five facts which you may rely upon as the reason for your divorce are: – adultery – unreasonable behaviour of your spouse – 2 years separation with the consent of your spouse – 5 years separation – desertion If...

Proposed Law Change

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Proposed law change   The Law Commission has recently announced that it will be reviewing the law relating to wills with the aim of encouraging more people to make a will and reduce the number of wills being challenged. The Law Commission...

Cohabitation agreements essential for unmarried couples

Nina Lake
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This summer, the Office for National Statistics announced that the number of cohabiting couples increased by 3% in the 10 years leading up to 2011 whilst the number of households which are made up of married couples fell by 5% over the same period. With...

Will Rectification: The Marley v Rawlings way...

Katie de Swarte
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Will Rectification: The Marley v Rawlings way… In my previous blogs I have reviewed the case of Marley v Rawlings , the first ‘will’ case to go before the UK Supreme Court. Briefly, this case involved a couple who made identical...

Pensions - Is 50/50 always equal?

Nina Lake
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I am not even going to try and discuss the entire topic of pensions on divorce in one blog article, but instead just touch on one particular issue which I have come across recently. This is what should be considered when all the parties really want is for...

Son forges mother's signature on deathbed will

Katie de Swarte
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Son forges mother’s signature on a deathbed will One of the types of claims we deal with is when a will may be invalid, which can be for a number of reasons. One reason why a will may be invalid is where the signature of the person making the will...

Will dispute

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Will Dispute   Alison Walker 31 and Jennifer Rowan 32 are fighting to have their mother’s will overturned after she left her fortune to her partner, Mr Badmin. Alison and Jennifer claim Elizabeth Walker was suffering from a brain tumour...

The validay of religious marriages in English law

Nina Lake
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Congratulations! You are engaged! It is now time to make your plans for the big celebrations. There is obviously a lot to think about – outfits, decorations, food. But what about the venue for the actual ceremony? Have you always envisaged your wedding...

Councils allegedly spy on parents who sign over house to children as a crackdown on families who 'avoid' care home fees

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Councils allegedly spy on parents who sign over house to children as a crackdown on families who 'avoid' care home fees   Local authority inspectors are allegedly rifling through residents’ financial records to see if they deliberately...

The Court of Protection revokes Power of Attorney

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The Court of Protection revokes Power of Attorney P made in favour of her daughter and grandson after misuse of P’s online bank account   On 3 March 2010 P executed two Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for property and financial affairs and the...

Introduction of compulsory mediation in the Family Courts

Nina Lake
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From 22 April 2014 anyone who wants to issue family proceedings will have to attend a compulsory Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). For those of you who are less familiar with legal jargon, this is effectively a meeting with a qualified...

Litigant in Person v Represented Party

Nina Lake
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Legal costs, in all areas of law, have been under scrutiny time and time again and tend to be one of the biggest fears which clients have when they initially agree to instruct a solicitor. In her speech to Resolution’s National Conference in...

Knowledge & Approval: The case of Brennan v Prior

Katie de Swarte
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A testator must have the requisite knowledge and approval when signing their will. The recently reported case of Brennan v Prior is a useful illustration of how the Courts assess claims where a testator lacked knowledge and approval of the contents of...

Apple refused grieving sons' request to unlock iPad that belonged to cancer victim mother because 'they need dead woman's written consent'

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“Anthea Grant passed away from breast cancer, aged 59, earlier this year. Her sons Josh and Patrick were named co-executors of her will and estate. They were shocked when Apple refused to unlock her iPad and asked for written consent from their mother...

Donation under a will to the BNP fails

Katie de Swarte
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The deceased, Mr. Joseph Robson, had lived in Spain for nearly 20 years had placed most of his £389,000 estate in offshore funds so as to avoid Spanish succession law. However, in 1996 he had made a will leaving his estate to the British National Party...

Fraudulent will writer

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Keith Webber, 67, of Chard, Somerset, a will writer has been found guilty of fraud. Mr Webber stole more than £280,000 from four elderly clients over nearly three years. His first victims were his own sister-in-law and her husband.  The other...

A costly mistake continued...

Katie de Swarte
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In my last blog I introduced you to the case of Marley v Rawling, which involved an elderly couple, namely Mrs & Mrs Rawlings, who had two biological sons and one adopted son. In 1999 they instructed their solicitor to prepare a pair of identical...

Joint tenants or tenants-in-common?

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When buying property jointly with another person in England and Wales an important decision is whether to hold as joint tenants or tenants-in-common.  Careful consideration should be given to such a decision and will often depend upon the particular...

Dispute by sons over father's will which leaves his entire UK estate to BNP

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Jeremy and Simon Robson are locked in a legal battle after their father, Joseph Robson left his entire £389,000 UK estate to the British National Party. His sons argue that their father was barred from giving money to a British political party because...

A costly mistake...

Katie de Swarte
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In early December the Supreme Court heard a bitter contentious probate dispute between three “brothers” over the inheritance left by their parents who had mistakenly signed each other’s wills some 14 years earlier.   Alfred and...

Daughter jailed for 18 months for stealing £63,000 from elderly mother, Mabel Shaw

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Jennifer Bailey was appointed as Mrs Shaw’s attorney and abused that power by spending £63,000 of the sale proceeds from Mrs Shaw’s home. Over four years Mrs Bailey spent the money on clothes, alcoholic drinks and holidays. At the time Mrs...

The Jackson Reforms bite

Katie de Swarte
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The recent Court of Appeal decision in Mitchell v News Group International marks the first significant appellate decision that has enforced the Jackson Reforms and has carved the way for the future conduct of litigation Quite simply, if you fail to comply...

Latest legal case - Illegitimate daughter fails in undue influence will dispute challenge

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On 26 September 2013 Chloe Brennan, 40 lost her High Court challenge to her father’s will in which he left most of his £630,000 estate to his brother and three sisters. Mrs Brennan claimed that two of her father’s sisters drafted the will...

Typical pre-action steps for a will dispute

Katie de Swarte
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Typical pre-action steps for a will dispute: This is a brief outline of the likely pre-action steps your solicitor will take before issuing proceedings in respect of a claim against the validity of a will: An initial consultation is arranged and...

Should a child inherit twice?

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The Presumption against Double Portions– Kloosman v Aylen & Others (2013) EWHC 435 What is a Portion? The term ‘portion’ was defined in the case of Re Cameron (1999) CH386, as, “something which is given to the parent to...

Death before completion...

Katie de Swarte
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I recently came across a situation I thought would have happened on a regular basis, but I was wrong, it is actually a very rare occurrence. Exchange had taken place in respect of the sale of a leasehold property and a jointly owned business (father &...

Who can contest a will?

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You cannot simply contest a will because you are not happy with it, you must have a valid legal argument to contest a will. There are 2 ways to contest a will: The will is invalid due to one or more of the following: the formalities for a valid will were...

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