Over the last decade there has been a steady increase in the number of conditions imposed on planning permissions by local planning authorities. In particular, the number of pre-commencement conditions has also increased. These conditions require details to be submitted for approval or certain works to be undertaken before development authorised by the planning permission can commence. Alex McKerron and James Clark from our specialist Planning team look at this issue and new regulations that have come into force.
Katherine Willmott, associate and private wealth specialist, looks at how a recent case has provided some guidance as to when furnished holiday lets will apply for Business Property Relief ("BPR") from inheritance tax (IHT).
If you hear the words "trust" and "trustees" your first thought might be of charity management, perhaps the estate of someone that has died or the investment of funds in an offshore jurisdiction. However trusts, and therefore trustees' responsibilities, can arise in many situations. Emma Facey and Alex Rogers provide further insight.
When the registers of common land were compiled some land that could have been registered was not. Similarly, some land was mistakenly recorded as common land even though it wasn’t common land.
Owners of common land are increasingly applying to de-register it as common land, either because it was mistakenly registered, or possibly because they want to carry out works on it without having to obtain permission. Marina Leigh, Solicitor and Property Litigation specialist, looks the options available to landowners.
Our legal system has been in existence for centuries. The Magna Carta dates back to 1215 and established the principle that everyone, including the King, was subject to the law.
New laws are constantly being passed through Parliament. One subject that has a relatively new practice is mental capacity. Asha Beswetherick, senior associate and specialist in this area looks at the legal options available to protect you, your property and your business.
The name of the act conjures images of people physically restrained and forced into activities against their will. The reality however is that modern slavery offences can be committed in more subtle ways. Nathan Peacey, partner and specialist in regulatory work, considers how it can affect agriculture businesses. In particular, if you are a farmer that engages migrant workers in low paid or piece rate work then care is required to avoid inadvertent offending.
Danielle Spalding, associate and property litigation specialist looks at he increase in claims involving farming families over the last few years where the son or daughter brings a claim alleging that their parents have failed to honour promises made to them about passing down the farm. These claims are based on the legal principle of proprietary estoppel.
We have all seen the headlines in recent months about inheritance and family feuds. These disputes can be incredibly distressing, time consuming and expensive for those involved. By making a will and taking advice from a lawyer or professional will drafter you can seek to avoid your loved ones being embroiled in a fight over your estate on your death. This is particularly important where complicated family dynamics or long term financial dependency relationships are at play. However, making a will is not always the end of the story. Alex Rogers, senior associate, looks at how The Court can play its part.
The number of people co-habiting is increasing. As many people have children from earlier marriages, they will be aware of the need to update their will and give consideration to estate planning to protect their children but few will have given consideration to pre-nuptial agreements or how to protect their assets in the event of cohabitation. Jill Bruce, associate and family law specialist looks at why this is particularly important in the farming community where the assets are owned by several family members and the ownership complicated.
January is a time when we all look ahead to what is likely to happen over the coming twelve months. In this article Edward Venmore, legal director in our agriculture and rural business team, highlights a couple of areas of potential legal developments. Unfortunately, as with most issues these days, it is impossible to do so without briefly mentioning the question of Brexit....
In this article Michelle Seddon, senior associate in our private wealth team looks at how gifting can assist with Inheritance Tax liabilities on estates.
At this festive time of year, it should be noted that there is generally no Inheritance Tax to pay on small gifts you make out of your normal income. This, of course, can include gifts you may wish to make for Christmas or birthday presents, and they are known as ‘exempted gifts’ for the purposes of Inheritance Tax.
In this article, Rachel Warren, senior associate and IP specialist, looks at the latest developments with intellectual property rights (IPR) and Brexit.
Protecting your brand and Intellectual Property (IP) is an important consideration for every type and size of business and is often overlooked and with impending Brexit, now is the time to consider your options.
As a family lawyer based in the South West of England a significant proportion of my client base comes from the farming and rural business sector. Working with colleagues from across the practice groups, we do all we can to help our clients preserve and grow their businesses (which is particularly important given the potentially seismic changes facing the industry in a post-Brexit environment).
Within the context of a relationship breakdown, the dynamic when a family all live and work together can bring unique challenges.
"I wish never to be parted from you from this day on" – Mr Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
Until 1935 a married woman did not have the freedom to leave her estate to beneficiaries of her choice in her will. Her husband had an interest in her property after her death, known as 'by the curtesy'. Thankfully for wives this is no longer the case; however there are significant differences in the treatment of estates for couples that are married or in a civil partnership, and couples that cohabit.
The great majority of property owners will have at least one tree in their ownership or, as many would see it, in their guardianship. Trees are a vital part of both our rural and urban landscapes but they bring with them certain responsibilities and potential liabilities, so it is important to have an awareness of the legal implications of having trees on your land.
For over 300 years, transfers of property in England and Wales are required to be in writing. Nevertheless, there are situations where the Courts will uphold claims for property interests on the basis of verbal or written assurances by one party to another. This type of claim is known as 'proprietary estoppel', because once all of the grounds for the claim are established, the property owner is 'estopped' from going back on the promises or assurances they have made.
In this article Emma Facey, senior associate and specialist in inheritance and trusts disputes, looks at a spate of such claims in the farming community over the last few years and they continue to rise.
If we are honest, none of us wants to contemplate our own mortality or to consider the possibility that a time may come when we are no longer capable of making decisions for ourselves.
Even if we give these matters some thought we very often do nothing about it. This can be because it falls into the "too hard box" or because we are too busy with our day to day lives. We may also take the view that we don't need to take action because, if anything happens, the family will sort it out. By doing nothing you could be storing up major problems for the future.
Emma Facey, associate and specialist in inheritance and trusts disputes looks at the recent decision by the Supreme Court in Ilott v The Blue Cross and others concerning an Inheritance Act claim by the deceased's estranged daughter.
Some countries have forced heirship rules which mean that individuals have to gift their estate in a particular way, for example to benefit their spouse and/or children. However in England and Wales, individuals have the freedom to leave their assets to whomever they wish, when they die.
Recently Patricia Wass, Consultant and Head of Foot Anstey's Mental Capacity team was elected as the next chair of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) Worldwide. In this article Patricia highlights the work of STEP as it supports professionals (over 20,000 members in 100 countries) in ensuring clients have addressed the vitality important issue of succession planning and family inheritance.
In this article Emma Facey, associate and specialist in legacy and trust litigation, highlights the importance in getting the right advice when succession planning and how to avoid unnecessary claims.
Claims against professionals, including accountants, financial advisers and solicitors arising out of negligent advice are becoming more common. In times of economic downturn, losses suffered are more apparent.
Farming businesses are unusual. Often run by families who live and work together every day of the year. Like many families the topic of planning for the future can be a very difficult conversation to have. Sadly the failure to have those conversations is often what leads to very costly disputes and the breakup of families.
Edward Venmore, legal director, looks at some high profile disputes and provides practical advice on how to avoid these situations.
With financial abuse on the rise, especially among the elderly, Emma Facey, associate and specialist in legacy and trust litigation, highlights the warning signs and options available should financial abuse have taken place.
Earlier this year Age UK reported that at least 130,000 people over the age of 65 have suffered from some form of financial abuse from someone known to them. This is a terrifying statistic. There will also be a large number of vulnerable people who are under the age of 65 that are subject to financial abuse and not represented in this statistic, which is even more terrifying. It is estimated that 400,000 people over 65 have difficulty managing their money. It is therefore no wonder financial abuse is on the increase.
It is rare for contentious estate disputes to hit the headlines once, let alone several times over the course of seven years, but this is what has happened in the claim brought by Heather Illott against the estate of her mother Melita. Heather had been estranged from Melita for 26 years. When Melita died she left her entire estate (worth around £500,000) to charity. Heather brought a claim against Melita's estate for financial provision under the Inheritance Act, and last year the Court of Appeal awarded her roughly one third of the estate.
Inheritance tax is a concern for many; one of the most common questions asked in relation to estate planning is: 'how can I preserve more of my estate for my family?'
In 2015 the government announced plans to reduce the inheritance tax burden on families in the UK through the creation of an additional nil-rate band for residential property. However, legislation surrounding the new scheme is complex and existing will arrangements can significantly impact the availability of the new allowance.
Protecting your brand and Intellectual Property (IP) is an important consideration for every type and size of business. Securing ownership of core IP can often be overlooked and failure to do so can result in lost opportunities, or in some cases, infringement by third parties.
In this article, partner Peter Singfield, looks at the potential changes a 'Brexit' could cause in relation to IP rights and protection.
The law states that transfers of property in England and Wales are required to be in writing. However more and more, the Courts will uphold claims for property interests on the basis of verbal or written assurances by one party to another. This type of claim is known as 'proprietary estoppel' because once all of the grounds for the claim are established, the property owner is 'estopped' from going back on the promises or assurances they have made.
Lucy Gill, senior associate in our legacy and trust disputes team, looks how two cases put this law into practice.
Intellectual Property (IP) plays an important role in business and is the way the law converts an innovative brand, design, invention or product into a unique and protectable asset.
More and more farmers and landowners are seeking to maximise the return from their land by diversifying away from traditional business structures. Landowners have built and let holiday cottages, let camping pitches, and now, an increasing number are installing solar panels and wind turbines.
The Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 ("AHA) covers agricultural tenancies where the tenancy started before 1 September 1995. The arbitration provisions of the AHA have long been seen as a costly and slow mechanism for resolving disputes which arise between a landlord and tenant. Recent changes bring with them the new possibility of a landlord and tenant seeking to resolve issues through third party determination.
Succession planning is important and relevant to all businesses.
The issues around succession are particularly important in agriculture. For tenants of agricultural holdings, ensuring the farm can be passed on to the next generation is likely to be hugely important, particularly when it is the family home. For landlords, Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies can tie up an asset and depress its value for many decades. There are also important tax issues to consider on both sides, particularly from a landlord's perspective with inheritance tax planning and the availability of Agricultural Property Relief.
For over 300 years, following the enactment of the Statute of Frauds in 1677, transfers of property in England and Wales are required to be in writing. Nevertheless, the Courts will uphold claims for property interests on the basis of verbal or written assurances by one party to another. This type of claim is known as 'proprietary estoppel' because once all of the grounds for the claim are established, the property owner is 'estopped' from going back on the promises or assurances they have made.