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The Legal Bit with BP Collins

The law can be daunting but it affects people everyday of their lives. 

Whether it's writing a Will, questions about what is legally required when moving house or your rights at work when having a child there are so many questions that need an explanation.

So Mix96 and BP Collins Solicitors are trying to give you some guidance with some of the more commonly asked questions.

Below is a list of those everyday worries and quandaries about legal issues people often ask and most important the answer to the questions.

For more details or to start asking the legal questions you need answering click here: enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk.

Questions answered on this page:

 

Pregnancy

What are my rights as a working mother?

Firstly, you have the right to request flexible working

There are certain specific requirements that your request must comply with, like stating the variation you are seeking and how any impact on your employer’s business can be mitigated.

In addition, you also have the right to emergency dependent care leave.

You are allowed a reasonable amount of time off – but there is no set amount as it is situation-dependent.

Your employer may pay you during your time off, but they don’t have to so it’s advisable to check the company policy or your contract.

You also are entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child up to their 18th birthday.

For more information on working mothers’ rights, get in touch with the B P Collins team via the website.

 

Will - Contract

What happens if someone dies without making a Will?

A person who passes away without a will or a valid will are said to be ‘intestate’, which means that their estate must be shared out according to the rules of intestacy.

Generally, where the deceased has a spouse and children, the spouse receives all personal items and a statutory legacy of £250,000. Any remaining is split equally between the spouse and the children.

If there are no children, the spouse gets everything.

Where the deceased has no spouse, the estate passes to family members, that starts with children and works through the family and blood relations. Where the deceased leaves no blood relations, the estate passes to the Crown.

So it’s important to create a Will in order to retain control over the future of your estate.

 

handshake

What should you know if you’re starting a business with friends or family?

Going into business with someone you know is in many ways similar to entering into marriage – you both need to ask yourself serious questions about your relationship, aims and objectives before launching into working together.

Some key questions are:

  • Do you trust each other and respect each other’s decisions?
  • Is your relationship strong enough to handle the low points as well as the highs?
  • Have you sought professional advice on legal and business issues?

It is also advisable to decide on who will be the key decision-maker, where the finance will come from and what will happen if the investment isn’t successful from the outset.

 

Estate Agent

 

What should I be thinking about when buying and selling a property?

When selling a property, choose an estate agent you feel comfortable with and arrange a valuation. You also need to organise a solicitor.

If you have carried out work on the property, such as an extension, new electrics, or a new boiler, make sure you have all of the correct documentation reflecting the changes. 

You need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to your buyer; if you don’t have one  dated within the last 10 years, you’ll need to arrange one via an energy assessor. 

When buying, make sure you have your finances in order and, if you need a mortgage, have mortgage principle provided by your lender. Don’t forget to you’ll need to pay various fees including Stamp Duty and Land Tax

If you are selling at the same time as buying a property, it is better to use the same solicitor for both the sale and purchase for ease.  

 

Father and Child

What is parental alienation and how do you deal with it?

Parental alienation is sadly a common occurrence in the UK with so many families dealing with divorce and separation.

Parental alienation is when one parent actively attempts to distance their child from the other parent, by doing things like badmouthing or belittling them or at its most serious, persuading the child to permanently exclude them from their life.

The alienation can be extremely damaging not only at the time it starts to occur but as the child continues into adulthood. In some cases, one parent may not see their child for years because the child believes everything the parent who they live has said.

This is a highly complex issue and if a parent considers that their relationship with their child is deteriorating or their child starts to want to spend an increasingly reduced amount of time with them, then advice should be sought from a specialist family lawyer. The earlier this issue is detected and addressed the better.

 

HS2 Rendering

Am I eligible for HS2 compensation through the Home Ownership Scheme?

You can find the map via the gov.uk website to check if your property is within the zone of buildings that are eligible for compensation. However, note that the map currently only shows the properties within Phase 1 of the development. Phase 2’s map will be released in due course.

There are things to be aware of.

  • Firstly, a minimum of 25% of the total area of your property must be within the homeowner payment zone
  • You must be a freeholder or leaseholder with at least 3 years left on the lease;
  • If you are living in or running a business from the property and have done so for at least 6 of the last 18 months
  • Have bought the property before 9 April 2014 for Phase 1 or before 30 November 2015 for Phase 2

If you meet this criteria, depending on your property’s distance from the proposed route, you can claim between £7,500 and £22,500.

 

Elderly man

What happens if I can no longer make decisions for myself?

If this happens it is vital to have a Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA in place.

Having no one in place can cause distress and uncertainty with delays accessing your own funds.

If a friend or family member begins dealing with your affairs on an informal basis, that person could be at risk of being accused of fraud or other impropriety. 

In the absence of an LPA a court could decide who will look after your affairs and this may not be your first choice.

There are two types of LPA’s, Property and Finances and Health and Welfare.

Here are some key points to think about, any adult can be appointed so long as they are not an undischarged bankrupt.  More than one attorney can be appointed at once and replacement attorneys can also be appointed.

 

Estate Agent

If I purchase a property that contains an annexe, do I have to pay the additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has seen lots of changes over the past few years and has meant the clarity on whether or not a building with an annex should pay extra stamp has been unclear.  

So, a new test was introduced which applies to situations where two or more dwellings are being purchased in one transaction. The new test consists of two parts meaning that, as long as two thirds of the total cost is for the main property and the additional dwelling is in the same grounds or forms part of the main property (as is the case with most annexes), the 3% surcharge will not apply.

As a side issue, ‘Multiple Dwellings Relief’ may apply to properties purchased with an annexe. However, the guidance on this is not clear and we would advise that proper tax advice is taken where there is a possibility that such relief may apply.