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Legal updates

20 November 2020 Wills and estates

Will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to an increase in the elderly population, a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, changes in family structures and the increasing value of estates.  Michael Thomas a Litigation Solicitor specialising in Contentious Probate gives an overview of the various ways to contest a Will or make claims against an Estate. What are the grounds for contesting a Will or estate? Claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 If you have been left out of a family member or a friend's Will, or if you do not think you have been left enough under a Will, then you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the above Act. There are a number of criteria which any potential claimant will need to satisfy…
13 November 2020 Employment advice

According to the Health & Safety Executive stress is ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’ by their job.  As an employer, you owe your employees a duty of care. That is, a duty to provide a work environment where employees are not caused psychological harm and should they suffer work-related psychological harm, you must do everything that is reasonable to prevent continuing harm. ‘In determining whether an employer is responsible for stress in the workplace and therefore liable to pay compensation, the court will determine whether an employee’s work-related stress was 'reasonably foreseeable' by the employer,’ explains Gillian Reid, employment law specialist at Pearsons & Ward in Malton.  ‘In other words, could you have predicted the work-related psychological harm and should you have prevented it from…
11 November 2020 Litigation

Building a granny annex can seem a perfect solution to many families; not only is it a way of consolidating family assets and passing on wealth but it also provides an immediate solution to childcare and a longer-term plan for caring for elderly parents. However, before embarking on this project it is important that you consider and avoid the potential pitfalls! Disputes about ownership further down the line are unfortunately common and so it is essential that the arrangements are properly documented and legal advice is obtained. If you are combining finances with other family members then it is important that this is properly documented. If, for example, it is intended that the property will be owned jointly, as tenants in common, consideration needs to be given to what happens after your parent dies and to…
11 November 2020 Farming & Agriculture

Agricultural landowners will almost invariably have utility company-owned apparatus running somewhere across their property – whether this is electricity lines, water pipes or gas pipes. Utility companies will, at times, need to access such infrastructure to carry out repairs, replacements or upgrades, but as Jacqueline Barr agricultural expert at Pearsons & Ward in Malton explains, “Farmers should ensure their rights are protected before they enter into any access agreement”. Utility companies usually have statutory powers of entry onto land under legislation such as the Water Industries Act 1991, Electricity Act 1989 or Gas Act 1986, but exercising these powers can be expensive and time-consuming, and most companies generally prefer to reach a negotiated agreement with the landowner instead. The two main access agreements for this type of situation are through the use of a wayleave…
05 November 2020 Commercial property

David Hyams is director of commercial property at Ware & Kay Solicitors, based in the York office. What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber? In the mid to long term I am positive about the prospects for the property sector as the region has so much to offer.  We are obviously facing challenging times at the moment, particularly in the hospitality sector, but once we have got through to the other side, I am confident that there will be a release of pent-up demand and we shall soon be back on our feet again. What is the best project you have been involved in? In recent times it was acting for a landlord on the grant of a lease of 15,000 sq ft office unit to a large regional accountancy practice. …
04 November 2020 COVID-19

Following the latest Government announcement of a second national lockdown for England, we wish to reassure all of our clients and contacts that it is business as usual. We have robust plans in place to minimise any disruption and will continue to operate as normal whilst also protecting our clients, our staff and the wider community. We are committed to supporting our clients and contacts throughout this period whilst monitoring updates and following Government advice.  We have plans in place that enable us to continue serving our clients and contacts including equipping our staff for home-working. All our clients will be able to maintain contact with our staff via telephone and email however, we have decided for everyone’s protection that we are unable to make client appointments at any of our offices from Thursday 5th November. …
04 November 2020 Employment advice

The viability of many businesses is on a knife edge and flexibility in scaling the workforce up or down at short notice has become increasingly important. For many employers, keeping their workforce as flexible as possible will be essential for their future. However, the law around zero hours contracts, self-employment, personal service companies and agency workers is complex, and now is the time to take stock of your current arrangements. Gillian Reid, Head of Employment with Pearsons & Ward outlines how to manage the risks and obligations of the different options for a flexible workforce. Self-employed contractors: watch out for employment rights Contracting with a self-employed individual may seem like a low-risk option, without adding to the overheads. However, even if you and the individual initially agree that they are self-employed, an employment tribunal may see…
04 November 2020 Residential property

The easing of lockdown restrictions, a buoyant property market, and the temporary savings on stamp duty mean now could be the ideal time to sell up and buy your next home. Getting the timing right could be more important than ever and, once you have accepted an offer, you will want your sale to progress smoothly and quickly. Making sure the title to your property is in order will help keep your transaction on track, letting you and your buyer proceed with confidence. Ideally, you should do this before putting your home on the market but, whatever stage you are at, you should talk to your solicitor. She can identify potential title issues that could delay or jeopardise your sale and suggest ways to fix them. In this article, Philip Taylor, Head of Residential Conveyancing with…
29 October 2020 Commercial property

Pubs are closing all too often nowadays and while this is a sad sight, it means there may be opportunities to find a new use for one as a commercial development project.  If an empty pub is well-located, it could make an ideal setting for a new business, such as a care home, convenience store, or flexible workspace.  As well as negotiating, buying and redeveloping the building itself, you will need to get to grips with planning permission and other regulatory requirements for your proposed new business.  You will need contracts with professional advisers, including surveyors and architects, and with building contractors.  Once the building is operational you will need a lease with an operator.  ‘As your commercial property solicitor we will be key in bringing this complex project to fruition, and the sooner we are…
28 October 2020 Farming & Agriculture

In the current climate, many farmers are diversifying to future proof their farm business. In more recent years this has meant new non – farming business ventures. However, as an owner or tenant of agricultural land, you may be subject to restrictions as to how that land is used and now is probably a good time to check whether this applies to you and consider if this affects your diversification plans. The recent claim brought against the estate of Mr Philip Partridge (deceased) and his wife Mrs Lynette Partridge (Mills v Estate of Partridge and another [2020]) is a perfect example of why a requirement that land to be used for agricultural purposes only, certainly does matter. Pamela Mills (claimant) was the owner of land at Iverley House Farm in Staffordshire including a track which…
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