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A friend of mine tells me she has given her property to her children in order to protect it from nursing home fees. Will this work and how can I do it

If you need to go into a nursing home and if you do not have any capital assets then the local authority are duty bound to house you. They will however, means test you. If you own a property or have significant assets then you will have to pay the fees yourself. You are currently allowed to hold £23,000. It may be possible to transfer capital and assets (in particular your house) to the next generation. This is done by transferring the property across and usually making a Trust Deed to guarantee your right to remain living at the property. There are no guarantees however, because if the local authority can prove that an asset was given away with the intention of depriving them of it they can take it back into account. The longer the length of time between the gift of the property and the requirement for the nursing home fees the better. The issue is somewhat complex and would benefit an initial consultation if you are interested in this.

Are Pre Nuptial Agreements binding

No. But increasingly the agreement is taken into account during divorce proceedings, especially in shorter or second marriages where there are no children. However to strengthen any pre-nuptial agreement it is recommended that full financial disclosure takes place between you and your partner and that you both have the benefit of independent legal advice before signing the agreement. The agreement should be finalised at least 21 days prior to the wedding.

Are legal costs recoverable at an Employment Tribunal

Legal costs are irrecoverable by an employee at an Employment Tribunal even if the claim is successful unless the other party has acted unreasonably.

Can I appoint more than one person to be my Attorney

Yes. You can appoint more than one person and if you do, you can specify that they must all sign each document or that they can act individually. You can direct that they must act together in some decisions, such as selling your house or dealing with sums of money or assets above a specified value, but can act individually in others. You can also appoint someone to act as a replacement if your Attorney dies or is unable to act.

Can I buy a care home

The simple answer is that you can, and indeed anyone can, but there are very strict guidelines for such things which are set down by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Without satisfying all of the appropriate checks such as CRB and obtaining appropriate registration with the CQC you will not be a fit and proper person to run a care home. It is essential professional advice is sought before you commit yourself

Can I deal with the extension of my lease myself

There is nothing to stop you carrying out your own legal work; the restrictions are where you charge for that work. Having said that the area of the extension of leases and the purchase of freeholds under various statutory regimes is peculiarly complicated. Particular forms of notice must be served. Certain time limits must be adhered to. Different types of valuation are applied. It is an area that is very complex and often a lot is at stake and so the help of a lawyer would be advisable in our opinion.

Can I object to my neighbours planning application on the grounds that it blocks my light

Typically this is not a consideration for planners, however, it can be in certain circumstances. There may be further information to assist in the deeds to your property. Please contact our planning expert Robert Walton to discuss this further

Cohabitation. My girlfriend and I are splitting up. We have lived together for many years in a home which she owns. What are my rights

Cohabitees do not have the same ‘automatic’ protection in law as to their property rights as those who have either entered into marriage or become registered civil partners. A party is not automatically entitled to anything that is owned or registered in their partner’s name. This is a complex area of law where the outcome is very much dependant on Trust Law as applied to the facts of the particular case.

It is always open to cohabitees to enter into a contract known as a Cohabitation Agreement which will regulate way the parties manage their finances both during the period of cohabitation and on separation. It is an important requirement of any agreement that both parties receive separate and independent legal advice prior to entering into the agreement.

Do I need a Personal Licence

A Personal Licence is required to supervise the sale of alcohol in any premises as a designated premises supervisor. Therefore at least one person concerned with the business will be required to be a personal licence holder.

Do I need a Power of Attorney and who will look after my affairs if I become unwell or mentally incompetent

If you are unable to look after your own affairs then a Lasting Power of Attorney is essential. This is a document which gives power to a third party (usually children, for instance) and enables them to deal with your property and affairs even welfare issues. Such documents need to be put into place before you become unwell. There are two types:-

(a) A Property and Affairs Power which enables someone to deal with your finances, payment of bills, collection of funds and sale of assets.
(b) A Welfare Power which is designed to give someone power to make decisions about where you live, medical treatment you receive and other related issues.
The documents are reasonably straight forward to put in place but a little bureaucratic and technical and can take up to three months before finalisation. If you are interested we would be pleased to offer an initial free consultation.

Do I need to make a Will

The short answer is “yes”. If you wish to have complete control and certainty over:-
(a) Who your executors are – who will be responsible for sorting out your affairs,
(b) Who your beneficiaries are – who actually receives your assets,
Then a Will is essential. You may also wish to determine who will be guardians for your children; whether certain personal belongings or minor cash gifts should go to friends and family; at what age your children might benefit from your assets.
Furthermore, if there is no Will then the Intestacy Rules are very arbitrary. Let me give you some examples:-
(a) If a husband dies leaving his wife and children, his wife will not necessarily inherit the entirety of his estate. She will inherit the first £250,000 plus joint assets and chattels and all the rest will be shared, as to half to her in a life interest trust and as to half to the children. In certain circumstances the wife might not even inherit the house.
(b) If a young married couple tragically die together without children and neither the husband’s family or the wife’s family with inherit everything depending on who has died first. The law generally assumes that the elder dies first and the younger second unless medical evidence can be brought to prove otherwise. Therefore one or other of the families will lose out.
(c) If somebody dies without many living relatives then there can be complex family tree issues to sort out which can only increase costs and see assets being split between a myriad of distant relatives.

Do I really need to do a Fire Risk Assessment on my shop premises

Most definitely. This is a legal requirement for commercial premises, and certain other premises under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and indeed any regulations made under it. It is, of course, for the safety of the occupants of the building so that consideration has to be given to fire exits, fire extinguishers, and so on. There is also an argument that any buildings insurance may be invalidated by the lack of a fire risk assessment in the case of a fire at a property. The bottom line is that anyone owning a property is committing a criminal offence if there is not a fire risk assessment in place.

Do I require planning permission for a shed or outbuilding

This is dependant on the size of the shed/outbuilding related directly to the squared metreage of that construction.Typically with a small shed or greenhouse planning is not required depending on the square metreage. If in any doubt please contact Robert Walton, our planning expert who can assist you in this.
I have been approached by a company offering to put solar panels on my house. I will even make money out of it. Is this a good idea?

Whether it is a good idea or not is difficult but they are quite dangerous because the company putting the solar panels up can obtain what is called security of tenure. This means it can be quite difficult to remove them. There is also consideration to be given if there is a mortgage on the property as their consent will be required and there may be building regulations requirements. Before any paperwork is signed it is essential that legal advice is taken.

Do Premises Licences simply apply to buildings

No it can now include areas in the open air and vehicles and vessels and movable structures.

Does your firm offer a no win no fee service for personal injury

Yes, this firm does offer “no win no fee” in personal injury matters. Please contact one of our personal injury team for further details.

How do I apply for a Premises Licence

A Premises Licence is applied for through the local Council serving the property in question. All documentation is available direct from the Council and if you require any assistance at all one of our Licensing experts can assist.

How do I pay for a solar farm to be removed from my land when a Lease has ended

This is often a difficulty in that it is quite possible that this will be an expensive exercise. Often it will be the liability of the power company, but this is little comfort in that in this turbulent market the power company could easily go into liquidation. Sometimes the Lease will provide that a certain amount of money is put back every year to go towards this cost. An alternative is that a bond is purchased from a bank or perhaps an insurance company that will pay for its costs. It is very difficult to predict what the cost will be and a good Lease would say that this valuation issue will be revisited every two or three years.

How fast can you purchase a house

This is very much an “it depends” question. Our record here is one hour from instructions to completion. However this is highly unusual and a more typical time is perhaps four weeks to exchange and two weeks after that for completion. You are likely to be able to move faster if the chain of buyers and sellers is short and the communications between solicitors is good.

How is a Probate obtained

Probate is obtained by in effect, a form filling exercise. There is a need to ascertain all of the assets and liabilities of a deceased at the date of his or her death. The person appointed as executor in the Will applies for Probate by completing forms and an Oath and sending the Oath and the forms and the Will to the Probate Registry with a fee.

How is an employees statutory notice calculated

The Employment Rights Act 1996 states that an employee shall receive one weeks’ notice if he/she has been employed by the employer for more than one month and up to two years. Two weeks’ notice if the employee is continuously employed for more than two years and one additional week’s notice for each year of continuous employment up to a maximum of 12 years.

How long do I have to make a claim for unfair dismissal

An employee has three months from the date of dismissal in which to commence proceedings at a Tribunal.

How long does it take for the divorce to be final

To be able to start divorce proceedings your marriage must have been married for a year. If both you and your partner consent to the divorce and there are no complications it typically takes between five and six months for the divorce to be finalised once the initial application has been made.

I am building some houses in order to sell them. Do I have to provide the buyers with NHBC cover

If you are building new houses or converting a building into a house that was previously something else, then you have two choices. One is to provide NHBC, Premier Guarantee or a similar guarantee recognised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The other is to obtain a certificate from a professional such as an architect, in a particular form which is approved by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Even if your buyer is not having a mortgage, most of us solicitors will work at least to the standard that the Council of Mortgage Lenders requires and so it is almost invariably necessary to do this

I am interested in taking over a lease of a pub. The local area manager has given me the paperwork to sign and told me I can have the keys as soon as I have signed it. Is it as simple as that

Not really. The entering into any kind of document of this nature creates a landlord and tenant relationship and in this case a commercial lease. It is also very important to know what the main terms are of that lease. With a lot of pub leases breweries tend to restrict what tenants can do in terms of the acquisition of drinks. Tied pubs as they are called, have to buy drinks and sometimes other goods directly from suppliers that our preferred by the pub company. There is no guarantee on prices and it can adversely affect profitability of the business being run.

I am thinking of buying a mobile home park. Can I just buy a field and apply for planning

You can but you may not be terribly successful. The development of a mobile home park is something that is quite strictly regulated and there is quite clear law on the matter. It is not just a matter of obtaining planning as you need to obtain a Site Licence under the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960. Very strict guidelines are imposed. If you are interested in the acquisition or development of a mobile home park it is essential that you seek professional advice.

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