News

Your pet and your Will

It’s not a surprise that the number of households which now own a pet has increased dramatically in the last 12 months. Over £2 million families welcomed an animal into their home during lockdown with over one third of adults under 35 now owning at least one pet.

Our pets are a big part of our lives and many of us see them as family, it is estimated that we spend over £4.6million on them every year in the UK.

It is therefore surprising how often we forget to make arrangements for them if anything was to happen to us. Just like our children and partners, we need to make sure our pets will be cared for if we are no longer around to do so ourselves.

Legally speaking a pet is not a person, in the eyes of the law our pets are seen as ‘chattels’ or possessions. It’s therefore not possible to name your pet as a beneficiary in your Will…they can’t be the heir to your fortune as much as you might want them to be. You can however (and should) make arrangements for them under your Will.

As with any other possession it is possible to leave your pet as a gift to a relative or friend who you know would be willing to care for them. Someone people are happy to just take on the pet but, as we know pets can be expensive, so if you do not want to place a financial burden on that person you can also leave them a sum of money to be used towards the upkeep and maintenance of your pet.

If appropriate the money can be left subject to the terms of trust so you can have a peace of mind that it will be used for your much-loved pet. You would need to name the beneficiaries, who would ultimately benefit from any remaining money after your pet had died, and your trustees who would look after the money and make decisions about its use. To be valid these types of trusts must be carefully drafted so it’s important that you seek appropriate legal advice if you want to incorporate this into your Will.

Alternatively, you can nominate a charity in your Will to take on the responsibility of re-homing your pet. You can’t of course legally compel them to take on your animal, but you can express a wish as guidance to your executors. Many charities have programmes in place to register your pet while you are alive, and your Will is a good place to make your friends and family aware of any arrangements you might have made.

You may also want to include a letter of wishes in addition to your Will, giving the person who will be caring for your pet all the information they need to know. The letter can cover important information such as vet details, microchip IDs, dietary requirements, and medical issues. It can also cover more personal details about the care you expect them to receive.

When speaking to any of our clients about Wills we make sure we ask the right questions so issues such as pets don’t get missed.

If you want to make a Will or review one you have already made, we have several people that can assist you here at McHale & Co to get started please call and ask for Philippa Wright on 0161 928 3848 or email at mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

Mud on the Road

As the weather starts to improve and the daylight hours lengthen, we will all be getting back on our bikes and heading out to the countryside for some fresh air and open roads.

 

One hazard peculiar to cyclists is debris on the road.  On country lanes, this is usually in the form of mud (or manure!) that has been deposited on to the road by the flotsam of farm machinery, or the jetsam of animals moving from one field to another.

 

Coming across these unexpected lumps can cause cyclists to skid, be dismounted and suffer from nasty injuries and cycle damage.  This is even more so when riding at speed on open lanes.

 

In these circumstances, it is possible to bring a claim for personal injury.   They can be difficult claims to bring, but the basics of all road traffic accidents remains the same as you would need to establish:

 

  • that, as road user, you were owed a duty of care;
  • that by failing to clean up the mess, that duty had been breached;
  • that the breach caused you loss (e.g. injury, and/or damage to your vehicle); and
  • that the loss caused was not too remote.

 

There is no legal requirement for animal owners to clean up their animals’ mess, other than dog owners.  However section 161 of the Highways Act 1980, makes it an offence to deposit anything whatsoever on a highway which may injure or endanger other road users.

 

If you know who has put material on the highway which is likely to cause a danger to other road users, then they are liable and you potentially have a claim against them.

 

These are not easy claims to win, but they certainly aren’t impossible with an experienced legal team!

New Work Permits for English Football

The English transfer window opens on Saturday 2nd January however the eligibility of European players being able to play in the English football leagues has dramatically changed.

This is the first transfer window for many years that an EU national does not get an automatic pass, in light of Brexit. In the past if you had an EU passport or were entitled to one, you were in even if you did not live in Europe. This paved the way for South Americans who had European passports from the likes of Italy , Portugal or Spain to be able to sign for English clubs with ease however South Americans without EU passports would struggle to meet the criteria to be eligible.

Previously a non EU national would only get an automatic pass into English football if they were a regular national team player in the previous 2 years for a top FIFA ranked team. The FA, recognising that it is more difficult for younger players to break into their senior national teams, reduce the calculation period to one year for players under the age of twenty-one.

The required percentages of competitive senior international matches are determined by that country’s FIFA World Ranking over the relevant one or two-year period as follows:

FIFA Ranking 1-10: you must have played in 30% and above of games for the previous 2 years

FIFA Ranking 11-20: 45% and above

FIFA Ranking 21-30: 60% and above

FIFA Ranking 31-50: 75% and above

Using an example of Brazil who are currently ranked 3rd in the world , a Brazilian national would have had to have played in 4 games of the last 12 competitive matches (i.e friendlies not included).

Turning to a Paraguay international who are ranked 34th currently a player would have had to have played in 75% of competitive games in the past 2 years to be automatically eligible.

If a person was a non EU passport holder and didn’t qualify automatically then there was an appeals panel based on a number of criteria for accumulation of points. Generally if a player got 6 or points they would be in, although 4 was the unofficial number for real consideration.

 

Criteria Points

The transfer fee paid for the player is above the 75th percentile of qualifying transfers.   3

The transfer fee paid for the player is between the 50th and 75th percentile of qualifying transfers 2

The player’s wages are above the 75th percentile of qualifying wages.     3

The player’s wages are between the 50th and 75th percentile of qualifying wages.            2

The player’s current club is in a top league and the player has played in at least 30% of available minutes.               1

The player’s current club has played in the group stages or onwards of a continental competition within the last 12 months and the player has played in at least 30% of the available minutes.            1

 

Therefore a player such as Bernardo of Brighton who we brought to the Premier League club got 6 points and qualified for the Governing Body Endorsement from the FA. He had played in the Bundesliga for Leipzig, he had played in the Champions league and the transfer and wages got further points.

There is now a new criteria which is not the same points based system. European citizens will need a visa to work in the country. The criteria determining who qualifies have been the subject of lengthy negotiations between the Football Association, Premier League and EFL which were only agreed a month ago not giving clubs much time to adapt any many clubs that I have spoken to have said the new rules are a shock and their plans for signing players this winter have gone out of the window due to potential targets no longer qualifying.

There are now league bands , categorising different leagues into how the FA see them stack up against each other in terms of ability it seems.

Band 1 leagues which carry the highest ppints are the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, Span’s La Liga, Italy Serie A and France’s Ligue 1.

Band 2 means the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Holland’s Eredivisie, Belgian First Division A, the Turkish Super Lig and the English Championship.

Band 3 means the Russian Premier League, Brazil Série A, Primera División of Argentina, Mexico’s Liga MX and the Scottish Premiership.

Band 4 means the Czech First League, Croatian First Football League, the Swiss Super League, La Liga 2, Bundesliga 2, Ukrainian Premier League, the Greek Superleague, the Colombian Categoría Primera A, the USA’s Major League Soccer, the Austrian Football Bundesliga and Ligue 2.

Band 5 means the Serbian SuperLiga, the Danish Superliga, the Polish Ekstraklasa, the Slovenian PrvaLiga, the Chilean Primera División, the Uruguayan Primera División and the Chinese Super League.

Band 6 means all leagues not in Band 1, Band 2, Band 3, Band 4 or Band 5.

A player needs 15 points to be eligible now if they are not playing regularly for their national team.

A player over the age of 21 from a country ranked within Fifa’s top 50, who has played 70% of their international matches over the previous 24 months will automatically get a GBE.

If they do not then bands of leagues is the easiest way to get a GBE.

Taking an example of another player of McHale Sports Pipa who moved from Espanyol to Huddersfield in summer. Last year Espanyol were in La Liga, the highest league in Spain and for this alone as he appeared in a match day squad he gets 12 points. He played in over 40% of games so he gets another 7 points, he is in with 19 points.

However Espanyol were relegated last season so if Pipa had not moved in the summer and looked to move this summer if he had still been at Espanyol the band of La Liga 2 is band 4 meaning only 6 points to the tally. He would only get 1 point for the minutes played in a band 4 league meaning he would only have got 7 points total and he would not qualify to play in England.

The rules are relaxed slightly for under 21 players who are not 21 at the date of the application and if they have played in first team game in a band 1 league they get 6 points, 5 in an band 2 league, 4 in  band 3 league and so on down to 1 point for band 6 league. This makes players under 21 more attractive as it is easier to get them in.

There are additional points to be had for playing in European competitions such as the champions league and Europa league and the equivalent in South America, Copa Libertadores for example.

 

The new rules go some way to meet the original objectives of the FA and the Premier League of letting fewer non uk players in to allow room for neglected English talent to develop. The Premier League will still be able to bring in big names as they will likely be playing for either their national teams or in band 1 leagues.

2020 – The year named twice

2020 the year named twice ….twice as bad as any other year or an opportunity to think about the year with two perspectives?

This year has been a hugely challenging year for most of us in some way. We have perhaps seen friends or loved ones fall ill or even leave us. We have perhaps struggled with working or owning a business in desperately challenging times. Our relationships could have been strained with family and friends. We have felt restricted and isolated. Times have been tough.

On the face of it 2020 has been an absolute nightmare however I have taken the time to look at 2020 with a different perspective to look at some positives from the year.

For me personally it has been the greatest year of my life, my beautiful baby daughter was born in September which trumps all other things that have ever happened to me. She brings me so much joy and happiness each day. The pregnancy for my wife during lockdown and labour itself was challenging due to the restrictions around masks and distancing. I did miss scans myself due to national restrictions but I understood the reasons and all at Wythenshawe Hospital were absolutely outstanding. My wife was in hospital for 4 days and the nurses and doctors were truly inspiring in terms of their attitudes and regard for others. I took something away from their attitudes which I will never forget and seek to live by now.

The appreciation of the NHS has now got to a point it should always have been at. I have many family and friends who work in the NHS who are such hard workers and are very caring. Each day working long shifts without complaint, just getting on with their jobs. The claps went a little way to help us remind us of their superhero powers but I hope and think that people will respect and thank the people serving in the NHS that little bit more now for the rest of all of our lives.

Captain Tom inspired the nation with fundraising motivated by raising money for NHS charities. We all thought if a 100 year old man can do something then we all can. I took something from Captain Tom’s motivation and many other people who I saw step up and do their own personal challenges and local lad Rashford has inspired us all to think of others and help where we can.

At McHale and Co we continue to support numerous charities but my personal highlight of our fundraising was when we completed 5 days of challenges with 12 of us taking part in 5 days of challenges set by ourselves to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Manchester. We raised £1247 for a great charity but also the 12 of us really enjoyed supporting each other and offering motivation and praise for our colleagues and friends. I have also set myself tasks to help others and charities more in my personal life which I will strive to improve on year on year.

This year we started our Cycle of Life Project where we collected unwanted bikes, clean and repair them if required, all at our cost and then deliver them to worthy nominees. We have so far donated over 40 bikes to people. We donated 12 bikes to a childrens’ shelter before Christmas for children in temporary accommodation who may not have received a present on Christmas day otherwise. We have donated to families where mums have reached out to us to say they were struggling to afford a Christmas present for their children this year, we have donated to a carer at a nursing home who had had her bike stolen, we have so many more great stories. We have been overwhelmed by the support from local people donating their unwanted bikes, we thank you! We will be continuing this in 2021.

Supporting each other has come to the forefront of my mind and I can see this with many other people and businesses. The shop local message is a powerful one. I personally try to support local businesses and friends’ businesses wherever possible which I get joy from.  We have had a great website designed by David Bellin at the Design Studio, we have used Holts regularly and Agency Creative as well as buying presents for colleagues from the Bottle Shop, Bier Cell and Reserve Wines and takeaways for team meetings from Wow Yau Chow, Pix Pizzas, Herb and Spice, Phantong, Yara and Con Club amongst others and regular coffees from Gran T’s and California Wine. We have had social media training from Altrincham HQ from Alex who I know is also passionate about supporting local.

I have also tried supporting friends personally wherever I can as I myself have been overwhelmed personally by friends and family who have used McHale and Co to support me which I am truly thankful for. Dozens if not hundreds of my friends have used us and or recommended us for buying and selling homes or leasing, making wills and lasting powers of attorney, if they have been in an accident, setting up a business or requiring family law help. Thank you to all of our clients in 2020 for supporting us and for all clients previously who have supported us.

The year of Zoom and other video outlets has allowed us to keep in touch somewhat although it can not replace physical meet ups, it can help go a little to keeping in touch with family and friends and they are also helpful for business meetings. So, keep scheduling those catch ups and checking in on each other.

My message from 2020 is keep supporting each other personally as we enter Tier 4, keep supporting each other locally, keep supporting friends’ businesses and equally as important, support yourself. Find time each day for some self-improvement and reflection. Whether that be Yoga, meditation, Pilates, other exercise, reading or other nourishment of the mind and body make the time and thank yourself for keeping going and reward yourself with things to enhance your own life. Make 2021 a year to remember.

Coronavirus Impact on Games

Coronavirus – is there a chance the Premier League will not be played out or is there a further threat to the Euros?

As we move into 2021 we are still not in to the second half of the season in terms of games played with nearly half the teams in the league having played less than 16 of the 38 scheduled fixtures and  Aston Villa and Manchester City having only played only 14 games.

With tighter national restrictions and measures and cases rising is there a risk of the league not finishing especially if a circuit break does go ahead. The Premier League have ruled out a circuit break although managers have differing opinions. West Brom’s new gaffer Sam Allardyce has voiced support for a break as the number of positive coronavirus tests continued to rise however Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted that his club are successfully following the required protocols and therefore games need not be postponed.

The Premier League season is due to finish by 23rd May and the FA cup final a week later.

The European Championships are set to start on 11th June, which have already been pushed back from 2020 which is just 13 days after the Champions League final.

As agents of players in the Premier League and Championship and the lower leagues we are interested to see how things will develop.

There is a real risk of postponing or even cancelling the Euros again or delaying the start of domestic leagues or instead perhaps considering forfeiting games or a points per game calculation as was seen in League one and Two last season.

We have recently seen Spurs v Fulham postponed, Villa v Newcastle postponed and Everton v Man City postponed despite City then reopening their training centre just two days after. Everton have called for a full enquiry into why the game was postponed despite Man City being easily able to field 11 players and 3 subs being the minimum requirement.

There have been positive results returned in every round of testing in the Premier League this season, including a new high of 18 in the latest batch between December 21 and 27 from 1470 tests done. The tests do include coaching and support staff as well as players.

Players and managers are missing games. Southampton boss Ralph Hassenhuttl had to miss their game with West Ham after a member of his household tested positive. On Christmas Day Manchester City announced Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker along with two members of club staff had tested positive which led to the game with Everton being called off.

Tottenham’s match with Fulham became the third Premier League game this season to be postponed after Fulham had a number of positive results.

The English Football Leagues has confirmed 43 games in the Championship, League One, and League Two had been affected by coronavirus.

Clubs can have 25 players registered in a season and that doesn’t include under 21-year-old players.

The Premier League handbook states that permission will not be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant club has 14 or more players listed on its squad list available.

Manchester City had initially 20 fit players for the game v Everton with 5 injuries but then 4 positive coronavirus test results came back taking the total to 16. Despite being above the minimum 14 requirement (and not taking into account U21 players) the game was postponed.

The Premier League Board have said they took medical advice into consideration when deciding to call postpone.

Should Man City have forfeited the game? Tottenham were given a bye past Leyton Orient in the third round of the cup earlier this season after the League Two side had positive tests. The difference here was that this was a cup game and there was a need to set a precedent for cup games to be forfeited before the 4th round in order to prevent the final date being impacted which as already been moved to April. Carabao Cup rules make it clear that that forfeits only apply in the first four rounds of the competition and that from the quarter-finals onwards a rearranged date would be preferable.

As above there is a tight schedule if clubs are to complete their remaining 24 games by 23rd May or will be see some forfeits or will we face the Euro’s being postponed again? Only time will tell.

McHale Sports are an award winning law firm and sports management agency with professional athletes around the world. We act as agents and also advise players and clubs separately.

Couples and Lasting Powers of Attorney

The recent news articles about presenter Kate Garraway reminded me how important it is to get Lasting Powers of Attorney in place for couples.  You may be aware that Kate’s husband is suffering long term affects from Covid and has been in hospital since March. It is often the simplest of things that cause problems and in Kate’s case it is dealing with the car insurance as this is in her husband’s name.

Lots of people may think about getting LPAs in place for elderly parents but not necessarily the importance of doing this for yourself.

Couples

Although many couples have jointly owned assets in a lot of cases couples will still maintain separate bank accounts often for tax reasons such as to take advantage of ISAs .  However, we don’t often have utility bills, house and car insurance or TV and broadband providers in joint names.

The most important thing to note about an LPA is that you must have mental capacity in order to obtain one.  The person giving their power away is the Donor and they give their power to the Attorneys.  You can have as many attorneys as you want and you can specify if they should act jointly at all or times or if you are happy for them to act independently.  The “lasting” bit specifically refers to the fact that the power lasts beyond incapacity.  So if the Donor either permanently or temporarily loses capacity then the LPA can be used.

How do I get an LPA?

Although you can obtain an LPA by doing it yourself, we had a client recently who had been notified about his LPA and he didn’t know anything about it.  He remembered signing something but did not fully grasp what it was for.  It is frightening to think how easily the system can be abused.

Don’t put you or your family at risk get a fixed price quote from a Solicitor for the work so we can explain the risks and how to protect yourself, so that you fully understand what the process involves.

We have several people that can assist you here at McHale & Co but to get started please call and ask for Philippa Wright on 0161 928 3848 or email at mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

 

Landlord & Tenant Update

The Covid pandemic continues to cause problems across the country and the residential rental sector is no exception, whether you are a landlord or tenant.

Should you need to take action to evict a tenant or are a tenant facing eviction, the current notice periods for the various grounds of eviction for assured shorthold tenancies since the lockdown measures are set out below:

Notice Periods

Date of service of Notice

Ground relied upon Before 26 March 2020 26 March – 28 Aug 2020 29 Aug 2020 onwards
1, 2, 5, 9, 16 2 months 3 months 6 months
3, 4, 6, 12, 13, 15 2 weeks 3 months 6 months
7 2 months 3 months 3 months
7A 4 weeks 3 months 4 weeks
7B 2 weeks 3 months 3 months
8, 10, 11 2 weeks 3 months 4 weeks if at least 6 months arrears, otherwise 6 months if less
14 2 weeks 3 months 2 weeks or none if very serious
14A, 14ZA, 17 2 weeks 3 months 2 weeks

 

*Please note that using a combination of grounds may result in the longer notice period prevailing.

Contact us now on 0161 928 3848 to arrange an initial consultation.

Surely Public Liability Insurance should be compulsory

It is compulsory for a car user to have motor insurance and in the event they cause an accident, their insurance pays for the damage and compensates any injury and it is also compulsory for an employer to have liability insurance for an accident at the workplace, however companies do not have to in law insure against someone getting injured on their premises even if it is proven it was the companies fault.

There are sanctions and penalties for not having insurance in these instances. You may get banned from driving in the future if you drive without insurance and a company can be prosecuted and face big fines for not having valid employers liability insurance. The employer’s liability insurance certificate must also be displayed where your employees can access it. A company can be fined up to £1,000 for not displaying the certificate or failing to make it available to an HSE inspector.

In public places maintained by the Council, the Council usually self insures an area, such as pavements, parks and other public places. We have pursued numerous successful claims against the Council and have won in Court numerous times despite denials of liability by a Council who used a defence to say they had inspected the area previously and found no defects, we have been able to prove in instances those inspections either didn’t actually happen or were not adequate.

However if you go into a pub, restaurant, shop or other public or retail place there is no guarantee that premises is insured for an accident which may occur. In the event of an accident, a company will not only be prosecuted for having no public liability insurance, it will remain liable to the injured party and have to pay all the compensation, its own legal costs and the claimant’s costs out of its own funds however in many cases this would result in the company ceasing to trade and no money being paid to the injured person.

Bizarrely it is not mandatory for an unregulated cosmetic surgery to have any insurance. Treatments can be done by unqualified people and it is common for these people to use harmful chemicals, yet still it is not compulsory to have insurance. If someone sustains harm from negligent treatment then a beauty clinic can simply cease trading avoiding the need to pay the injured person. It is our view that it should be mandatory for salons and therapists to have appropriate public liability insurance because of the potential for damage that can be caused treatment and by the techniques they use. We have acted successfully for clients who have suffered injuries as a result of negligent cosmetic procedures against both insured and uninsured clinics.

We call for the government to make it compulsory for all companies , especially cosmetic surgeries to have adequate insurance in order to compensate any victims of negligence.

McHale and Co are an APIL accredited Practice (Association of Personal Injury Solicitors) which means we are recognised for excellence.  It’s really important that the lawyer you choose is the right lawyer for you – so look out for the APIL quality mark logo. We are highly experienced with dealing with all types of claims.

APIL members are accredited individually and by firm. To be accredited, they must satisfy specific and extensive criteria providing evidence of their competency and experience in handling personal injury claims.

We have offices in various locations – Altrincham and Heywood ensuring we are accessible to most. We are not a factory firm, and your claim will be handled by or with the supervision of a highly qualified solicitor. If you have been involved in an accident within the last three years and it wasn’t your fault, simply call us on 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk

Probate – Can I do it myself?

It has recently been well publicised that applications for a grant of probate can now be submitted by individuals online. We have found that this, along with the constant threat of an increase in probate fees and a raft of online ‘how to’ guides, has lead to more and more people questioning – why do I need a solicitor, can’t I just save money and do it myself?

Before you proceed to start dealing with an estate yourself it is worth considering what the extent of your responsibility and liability is in your role as executor and what are the risks you’re undertaking.

Firstly, do you understand what the Will says? Are you able to contact all the beneficiaries? Does the Will create a trust? Is the Will even valid? How would you know if it wasn’t? For anyone who isn’t used to reading and writing Wills understanding the terminology used can be difficult, a misunderstanding could lead to you being liable to a disappointed beneficiary.

If there isn’t a Will how do you work out who is entitled to what under the rules of intestacy? How do you contact distant family members or protect yourself against missing beneficiaries?

While an application for a grant of probate can, in certain circumstances, be submitted online this doesn’t mean that the process is any simpler than it was before. You are still required to give a full account to the HMRC about all assets and debts. Are you aware of all tax allowances available? Do you fully understand the implications of gifts the deceased may have made in the past 7 years? What about annual premiums on life policies or pension annuities, are you able to account to the HMRC about these in full detail?

Once you have obtained the grant it is important that all debts are settled before the estate is distributed. Executors are responsible for ensuring the estate pays any income or capital gains tax that might be due along with all other debts. If any debts are missed and become apparent once the estate has been distributed, as an executor you remain personally liable for those debts regardless of whether you are able to access estate funds or not. How can you be sure all assets and debts have been dealt with? How can you protect yourself against any unknown debts of the deceased?

As an executor you can be held liable for any mistakes you make or for acts you fail to complete. How can you be sure you have done everything you need to? How do you deal with a beneficiary who is pushing you for funds before you feel ready to distribute? What about if a beneficiary wants to take ownership of an asset in lieu of their share, are you able to deal with this request properly and account to the other beneficiaries?

While some estates can be ‘easy’ most are not and in an increasingly litigious society it is important to protect yourself. There is no defence to a lay executor for not understanding their role or responsibilities fully. If you have been appointed as an executor it is important you seek legal advice from a professional, it could be much more costly in the long run if you don’t.

We are always here to help so please call on 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk. We have face to face, video or telephone calls available respecting safe social distancing requirements.

How has Coronavirus impacted upon Landlord and Tenant disputes and what can you do during these unprecedented times?

The housing market has recently been re-opened by the Government, which means it is prime time for new tenants and purchasers to begin the hunt for their forever homes. You may find yourself in a position where you need to evict a tenant in order to sell your property or need to evict a difficult tenant to reclaim ownership of your property, but what do you do when you are facing those issues during a global pandemic?

In respect of landlord and tenant matters the Government passed The Coronavirus Act 2020. The Coronavirus Act 2020 stays all claims that have been issued under the Housing Act 1988  at Court for a 90 day period from 27th March 2020 and also stays all matters that were in the process of being issued; for example if your Claim Form and Particulars were sent to Court or your tenant was sent an Eviction Notice.

Therefore, procedurally, you cannot do anything in respect of evicting your tenant until 25th June 2020 other than discussing matters with them and determining whether your tenant may wish to leave the premises without you having to instigate Court proceedings. During these times do not underestimate the power of a friendly conversation with your tenant as they may be willing to co-operate. However, if your tenant will not co-operate you need practical advice regarding the next steps you should take.

Any section 8 or section 21 notices served on tenants before 27th March 2020 (i.e. posted before 24th March 2020 and emailed or hand delivered before 4pm on 27th March 2020) are still valid. Upon the expiration date of the notice they should vacate the premises. Special consideration should be given by landlords where the tenants could not vacate; for example, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when viewings were not taking place and the Government advice was to remain at home indefinitely.

Upon expiration of a valid section 8 or section 21 notice, and your tenant refuses to vacate the premises, you are still required to obtain a possession Order from the Court to lawfully evict your tenant. Failure to do so could enable your tenant to file an unlawful eviction claim against you.

It is anticipated that further guidance will be provided by the Government just before 25th June 2020 to enable practitioners to provide practical and accurate advice in the run up to the stay on proceedings expiring.

If you find yourself in need of advice regarding a landlord and tenant matter, do not hesitate to contact our experienced litigation team on 0161 928 3848. The team would be happy to have a no obligation and free telephone consultation with you to determine if they can assist you.

Successfully claimed for mis-sold PPI? You could you be owed thousands in further redress

In the run up to 29th August 2019, you will no doubt have heard of the looming deadline to make a claim regarding your mis-sold PPI and the threat of losing the opportunity to do so if you did not make a claim. The Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that after this date you could no longer make a claim.

You will no doubt have heard of the case of Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance Ltd [2014], which opened the flood gates for claims similar to Plevin enabling you to receive the redress rightly owed to you for the mis-selling of PPI policies, which was rife during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. However, you may not have heard of Harrison & Anor v Santander UK PLC [2014] EWCA Civ 361, which was at the Court of Appeal stage when the Plevin ruling was made, and was a case that our litigation team here at McHale & Co Solicitors progressed to Court of Appeal level and had intended to take to the Supreme Court had Plevin failed. Due to our connection to this case and our years’ worth of experience, we consider ourselves to be experts in the field of mis-sold PPI claims.

The Plevin refund enabled you to make a complaint regarding the commission received by the bank if you were unaware that this commission was over 50% of the PPI premiums you were paying. The Financial Conduct Authority set this 50% as the Plevin tipping point, which meant the banks only refunded any premiums paid over the 50%.

What you are probably unaware of is that if you have already had a successful claim under Plevin, you may be entitled to further redress.

It has transpired in recent months that the banks have not provided full refunds of all of the PPI premiums, associated contractual interest and any fees incurred in respect of the PPI Policy. As most commission payments were around 70%-80% of the PPI Premiums paid by you and the tipping point for unfairness is 50%, the banks have actually only refunded around 30%– 40% of the PPI premiums paid by you. You may be owed some considerable sums by the bank.

Our litigation team would be more than happy to investigate this further for you and if you wish to have a free no obligation conversation with a member of our team, please send an email to mch@mchaleandco.co.uk and we will be in touch with a questionnaire for you to fill out.

Discretionary Will Trusts – Please don’t ignore them!

In 2007 the HMRC introduced the ‘transferable nil rate band’ for married couples. This meant that when the first spouse passed away and left everything to their husband or wife not only was this free from inheritance tax (regardless of value) due to the existing spouse exemption but they would also be passing on their nil rate band allowance. This means that when the second spouse passes away not only do they have their own allowances to offset against any tax due on their estate but also the unused allowances of their spouse.

 

This change had huge implications for Will drafting at the time. Previously when a married couple had a combined estate which exceed one nil rate band it was important that a Will was drafted so that on the death of the first spouse their nil rate band was ‘banked’. This often meant leaving a tax free gift into a discretionary trust.

 

While many couples updated their Wills after this change to make simpler Wills and remove these trusts, not everyone did. Some never got around to it while others saw the additional benefits of discretionary trusts and decided to keep them. It is therefore common to still come across what we call ‘pre-2007 Wills’ with these arrangements in place.

 

Whenever a Will creates a discretionary trust it is so important that the trust is dealt with properly at the time. One of biggest advantages of a discretionary trust is the flexibility they offer, they can be administered in a tax efficient way depending on the families circumstances at the time. Often when a trust exists there are several options including;

 

  1. Implementing the trust fully and investing the funds
  2. Distributing the trust in full to the surviving spouse and closing it down
  3. Distributing the trust in full to other beneficiaries (children, grandchildren etc) and closing it down
  4. Creating a loan back arrangement with the surviving spouse or other beneficiary
  5. A combination of the above

 

All of the above options have different implications for inheritance not only on the first death when the Trust is created but also on the death of the surviving spouse. The different options will affect not only what is in the survivor’s estate but also what allowances they can claim from their spouse’s estate.

 

What we also come across all too often, are families whose parents had these arrangements in place but who didn’t deal with the trust at all on the first death. Often, they come to us with the misunderstanding that ‘Dads Will left everything to Mum’ so nothing has been done and the property remains in the name of both parents. We then try and work out what nil rate band can be claimed based on little bits of information that can be recalled from years before. When we break it down, we can often work out what the most tax efficient option is but we then face an uphill battle of proving this to the HMRC.

 

If a trust is dealt with properly on the first death the appropriate paperwork can be stored with the surviving spouse’s Will so on their death it is clear what happened and all the necessary evidence is there to demonstrate this to the HMRC. This can save enormous amounts of time, money and tax!

 

If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to get in touch with our private client team – it’s never too late, or too early, to put things in place.

 

We are always here to help so please call on 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk. We have face to face, video or telephone calls available respecting safe social distancing requirements.

Contact Us