Making it fair and square for all your families

Inheritance claims are on the rise, as family structures get more complicated with the increasing number of remarriages.

Currently 40% of marriages are second time round these days, and spouses and children of both first and second marriages are increasingly making claims where they feel they have been unfairly treated in the will of a former partner or parent.

And around 1000 new cases have been formally commenced in a three-year period according to recent figures by the Law Commission, which has highlighted the need for a change in the law to respond to the increasingly complex structure of families and increasing numbers of unmarried couples.

The problem was spelled out following the death of businessman Roy Lilleyman who bequeathed model cars, worth around £17,000, to his second wife Barbara, as well as some coins and 'limited rights of occupation' in the couple's two properties.

The majority of the estate was left to Mr Lilleyman's two sons from his previous marriage, Nigel and Christopher.

But Mrs Lilleyman, who had put the sale proceeds of her former house into property that was jointly owned with her husband, and had given up her job at her husband’s request to care for him, challenged the will on the basis that 'reasonable provision' entitled her to a 'substantial share' in the matrimonial property.

The claim was brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 which allows the provisions of a will or an intestacy to be challenged if "reasonable provision" has not been made for a spouse or civil partner, a cohabitee, a child of the deceased or anyone else who was being maintained financially by the deceased when they were alive.

When the court considers whether or not reasonable financial provision has been made, factors include the needs and resources of the claimant and any other beneficiaries, the length and nature of the relationship with the deceased and the size of the estate. Spouses and civil partners are entitled to more generous provision under the Act than other classes of beneficiaries, which helped Mrs Lilleyman in her claim.

To make a claim under the Act, a disappointed beneficiary needs to bring any claim within six months from grant of probate, which is when the estate has been finalised and the assets distributed. For cohabitees, they need to show they were living with their partner throughout the two year period before they died, in the manner of a spouse or civil partner.

Said wills and trusts expert Hardeep Nijher, Solicitor at Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP : “People often put off writing their will, but when they do, it’s very important they understand the implications of their decision making, particularly when it comes to second marriages, where there are two different families to be satisfied in many cases.

“The person making the will won’t be around to see the problems, but it’s very unlikely they will secure the outcome they intended if they don’t take advice about what will and won’t cause problems later. Making a properly informed decision and sharing it with all the family is the best way.”

He added: “In the example of the Lilleymans, had Mr Lilleyman realised that his wife was entitled to a certain level of financial provision, it would have made more sense for him to leave her a larger inheritance, which would have avoided the costs to his estate and the damage to family relationships caused by the litigation.”

ENDS

Web site content note:

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Lilleyman v Lilleyman & Anor [2012] EWHC 1056 (Ch)

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2012/1056.html

The Law Commission : INTESTACY AND FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS ON DEATH

http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/docs/lc331_intestacy_report.pdf


Land End to John O'Groats for Home Start Uttlesford

From the 6th to the 15th of September 2013 we will be cycling the 800 miles or so from Land's End to John O'Groats in support of Home Start Uttlesford. In order to donate please visit the firms Donation page on Vigin Money Giving at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bandwstortford

Home Start is a UK based charity that:

"helps families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them. They support parents as they learn to cope, improve their confidence and build better lives for their children. The benefits of the support include improved health and well being and better family relationships."

Please give generously to enable Home Start to continue to provide support in these financially difficult times.

Now to my team without whom I would not be able to take on such a task.

Peter Fitch – Training Pace Maker and joint cyclist

Murray Fraser – Training Companion and joint cyclist

Chris Belton – Support Manager and Mechanic

Chris Smith – Support Manager and Mechanic

Brendan

PS from this week you can follow both the Training Regime and from 6th of September regular updates including photos from the cycle ride at http://blog.breezeandwyles.co.uk/

Route details

Day Route                                            Mileage                                                    Total Accumulated

1. Land’s End to Tiverton                     122.34                                                     122.34

2. Tiverton to Leominster                      121.78                                                     244.12

3. Leominster to Bamber Bridge            114.92                                                    359.04

4. Bamber Bridge to Lockerbie             112.67                                                    471.71

5. Lockerbie to Perth                            104.83                                                    576.54

6. Perth to Inverness                             112.51                                                    689.05

7. Inverness to John O’Groats               115.45                                                    804.5


Roger Thompson

Roger Thompson

The second time we have used your solicitors and wouldn't hesitate to use again if we had the need or recommend to friends as very good service.

Nice friendly professional people to deal with.

We have worked with Mr Thompson on several occasions over the past 15 years. He has always been attentive, considerate and of highest professional standard in representing our interests.

I have and will continue to recommend you to my friends, family and colleagues.  Thank you.

Not more I can say, other than to say a big thank you to Roger for guiding me so well through my equity release. He also dealt with my house move 5 years ago, and also in that case was very good too. Doing all this after my wife died 6 years ago, was quite stressful, but Roger was so helpful all the time, as were the other members of staff who dealt with me on both occasions.

Have already recommended one friend to you and will use you again for sure.

A very quick and easy transaction - Stress Free.  The professionalism, duty of care and attention to detail were brilliant.  We could not have asked for more.  Many thanks.

The entire process was extremely professional and efficient. I have no hesitation in using your services again or recommending to others.

Very efficient, helpful and friendly.  Would definitely use your company's services again.  Thank you for a speedy and worry-free transaction.

A pleasure to deal with - particularly as I was in Afghanistan for most of the process !!

Very grateful for the effort from Andrew (including 'out of hours' work) which meant I could move in to my new property on schedule despite the funds not being available for completion.

I reside outside the UK and did not need to go to the office. Our communication via e-mail was excellent.

We were very impressed with Andrew Moore. He always made himself available and was good at listening and explaining matters throughout the process. He exhibited strong all round behaviours.

We have used your services for many years and have always found you to be efficient, courteous and professional at all times.


Commercial Property Testimonial

Commercial Property Testimonial

Great Service. Hannah is a credit to your company.

Very impressed. I have already recommended my father who is using your services and I am about to appoint Hannah Collins on a property development deal.

Hannah is always efficient and communicates well.


Moving Home Testimonial

Moving Home Testimonial

I have used Breeze & Wyles on a number of occasions over the last 30 years in the buying and selling of property. The service you provided on this occasion was as good as ever and I will continue to use your services in the future.

I was so happy with your service. I would recommend you highly to any family or friends in need of a solicitor. Thank you very much for helping get my first house.


Debt Recovery Testimonial

Debt Recovery Testimonial

Rita Wright was excellent, she explained everything clearly and concisely in a caring manner.
Good Job !

Maria was very accommodating and responsive to our requests, given that I was not in the UK. I was kept fully updated on the matter and Maria was very efficient in dealing with our matter.

I have been most impressed with the debt collection procedure offered by your staff. Very prompt and helpful in keeping me up to date with the debtor positions.

So far we have not needed to progress to further legal action as your 7 day letter before action is enough to generate payment from our customers. However, I am sure if we did the level of service from Breeze & Wyles would be excellent.


Wills and Probate Testimonial

Wills and Probate Testimonial

Sympathetic, compassionate service at what was a very traumatic time for our family. I would highly recommend  Breeze and Wyles.

You also prepared new wills for my wife and myself and the service was equally excellent

My experience with Breeze and Wyles was, as I have stated, excellent.
I live in Canada and your firm dealt with the sale of my sister's house, following her death. I was her executor and dealing with some other agencies at long distance, over other probate matters, was to put it mildly, very frustrating.
However, your services were a delight. B&W dealt with this sale with efficiency and very professionalism

We have dealt with Roger over many years for a variety of matters and have always been extremely pleased with the service he has given us. Not only is he extremely efficient, but has an extremely pleasant manner and is very approachable.


Family Testimonial

Family Testimonial

I was extremely happy with the service and assistance that was provided through every step of my divorce. I would more than happily highly recommend them for use by others

I would like to say that I had complete confidence in Olive McCarthy, I felt 100% better every time I spoke to her. I felt that she took my feelings into consideration and acted as counselor as well as a completely professional solicitor.

Miss Mcarthy has helped me every step of the way through the most difficult time and dealt with my case understanding and compassion, thank you

Your staff are always helpful and very friendly and would not dream of using another firm to deal with my legal requirements for my family.


Legal Services Testimonial

Legal Services Testimonial

My brother in law has ceased practicing as our solicitor since becoming a judge. In light of the excellent service I received in resolving the above matter, I intend to use your company for any future legal matters.

I was very pleased with the service provided and have already recommended Breeze & Wyles to three friends. My case was not straight forward, and took longer than expected, but I was kept informed of developments and received excellent service from my solicitor and her assistant. Thank you


Landmark ruling opens way to change in workplace pay policies

Landmark ruling opens way to change in workplace pay policies

As the Supreme Court rules on long-running council worker equal pay struggle, widescale reviews of small business pay policies are predicted

Small businesses are feeling the shockwaves of an equal pay ruling following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The landmark judgment in the case of North and others v Dumfries and Galloway Council has opened the way to women employees raising a case for equal pay by comparing themselves to male workers at different sites.

The case involved 251 classroom and nursery assistants who set out to compare their terms of employment with those of male manual workers, such as refuse collectors and groundsmen based at various sites in the local authority’s area. The men were paid substantial bonuses on top of their basic pay and the women claimed that paying such bonuses to men who did jobs of ‘equal value’ was discriminatory.

This would have been simple if the classroom assistants and the groundsmen had been employed under the same collective agreement, but the women were employed under one set of conditions and the men under another.

When first heard by an employment tribunal, the tribunal approached the issue by posing the question whether, if the men had had been employed in the schools and nurseries, they would have been subject to the same conditions as the women, and it concluded that they would not. The Council objected to this approach saying that there was no real possibility of the groundsmen and refuse collectors being employed in the schools and nurseries, it simply wasn’t feasible.

But when the case reached the Supreme Court, the judges ruled that the tribunal’s approach was exactly right and that whether or not it was feasible for the men to work in the same workplace as the women was irrelevant.

Having won the right to compare themselves with their male counterparts at other sites, the way is open for the women to establish that their work was of ‘equal value’ to that of the men they chose to compare themselves with.

Now, the ruling on these public sector workers is expected to have an impact on smaller businesses who often negotiate pay settlements with employees on an individual basis.

Said Brendan O’Brien: “This decision is a warning light for all businesses to take a long hard look at their attitude to pay. It’s a dangerous approach to favour one employee over another, thinking such things are private – the reality is that they rarely are.”

He added: “Having a pay policy that withstands transparency is going to be the safest route for the future.”

North and others (Appellants) v Dumfries and Galloway Council (Respondent) (Scotland)

ENDS

Web site content note:

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2011_0046_Judgment.pdf