Common questions | Winston Solicitors Skip to main content
  • Your solicitor will pay any stamp duty payable on the purchase and attend to the registration of the title into your name, forwarding details to you and any lender, once registered. If the solicitor is dealing with your sale, arrangements will be made to discharge any existing mortgage, if there is one.

  • Once you have exchanged contracts and the completion date is agreed in the contract, you will be legally bound to complete on that date by paying the purchase price in exchange for the keys. Therefore, if for any reason the lender decides to decline the mortgage or delay the issue of the offer, you would be liable for damages. So, the solicitor will advise you not to exchange contracts until you have received a written offer and the lender’s conditions can be complied with.

  • Yes, you can buy a property without a solicitor however, you will need to instruct a regulated and qualified person to arrange the legal and administrative documentation that is required to legally transfer ownership of property.

  • A freehold purchase means that you own the building and the land it is built upon. It is yours until you decide to sell.

    Here is how a typical freehold purchase might proceed with us once you have instructed:

    • Reviewing the legal title to the property, raising enquiries and requesting searches.
    • Preparing a full initial report on the legal title and advising you of our initial findings. 
    • Reporting on the results of searches. 
    • Preparing a final property report advising you on our legal enquiries and replies provided. 
    • If you are purchasing with the aid of a Mortgage, making sure we comply with the terms and conditions set out in the offer. 
    • Requesting the full balance required to exchange contracts. 
    • Exchanging contracts. 
    • Finalising completion. 
    • Arranging any Stamp Duty Land Tax payment and the registration of the property into your name.

    Please note that, if the property is unregistered on completion, we will submit first registration at the Land Registry (approx. 14-month timescale).

  • A leasehold purchase means that you only own the building itself (rather than the land it is on). or a specific part of it, such as a flat. In addition, you are only the owner for a set period. We always recommend that our conveyancing clients should check this carefully before going ahead with any property purchase.

    With a leasehold purchase, you should be aware that:

    • You own the property, the freeholder/landlord owns the land and building. This is a common form of ownership for apartments.
    • Maintaining the building is the responsibility of the landlord.
    • You pay ground rent and service charge.
    • The Lease is for a specific time period and will detail the terms of ownership.

    Here is how a typical leasehold purchase might proceed with us once you have instructed:

    1. Reviewing the legal title to the property.
    2. Reviewing the lease and advising you as to the terms of the lease and ground rent, including any restrictions, regulations or covenants that may impact your intended use of the property.
    3. Reporting on the LPE1 and confirming the level of service charge and ground rent payable.
    4. Raising any legal enquiries and requesting searches.
    5. Preparing a full initial report on the legal title and advising you of our initial findings.
    6. Reporting on the results of searches.
    7. Preparing a final property report advising you on our legal enquiries and replies provided.
    8. If you are purchasing with the aid of a Mortgage, making sure we comply with the terms and conditions set out in the offer.
    9. Requesting the full balance required to exchange contracts.
    10. Exchanging contracts.
    11. Finalising completion.
    12. We arrange any Stamp Duty Land Tax payment and the registration of the property into your name.
    13. Serving the required notices on the Landlord and any Management company following completion.

    Please note that on completion you may be required to pay the landlord and any management companies costs for the following:

    • Notice of transfer
    • Notice of charge
    • Deed of covenant
    • Certificate of compliance
  • A freehold sale means that you pass ownership of the building and the land it is built upon to your buyer on completion.

    Here is how a typical freehold sale might proceed with us once you have instructed:

    • Preparing and issuing draft contracts plus all supporting documentation to your buyer’s solicitors.
    • Receiving and dealing with the buyer’s solicitor’s legal enquiries with your assistance.
    • Obtaining mortgage redemption figures, if required.
    • Carrying out the exchange of contracts.
    • Redeeming any mortgages in situ.
    • Sending any balance monies, in accordance with your instructions.
  • A leasehold sale means that your buyer only owns the building itself (rather than the land it is on) or a specific part of it and is only the owner for a set period. It is up to the buyer to familiarise themselves with this process. 

    Here is how a typical leasehold sale might proceed with us once you have instructed:

    1. Preparing draft contracts and issuing these, plus all supporting documentation to your buyer's solicitors.
    2. Receiving and dealing with the buyer’s solicitors legal enquiries with your assistance.
    3. Obtaining mortgage redemption figures if required.
    4. Liaising with you and the landlord/management company with regards to the apportionments of service charge and ground rent that may be owed.
    5. Carrying out the exchange of contracts.
    6. Redeeming any mortgages in situ.
    7. Sending any balance monies in accordance with your instructions.

    Please note, when selling a Leasehold property, you will be responsible for paying for the Management/Landlord pack.

    To obtain the completed LPE1 pack you will need to contact the Landlord/Management Company. The pack will include all the information related to the management of a building.

  • You may need us to apply for a grant of representation in the estate you have inherited from. You may also need our help to either sell the property or assent it into your name at the Land Registry.

  • Yes, the title deeds need to be updated to reflect your ownership properly. The deceased’s name should be removed and your name added to the Land Register.

  • No, you do not need to get a solicitor to write a gifted deposit letter. However, a solicitor can help you to ensure that the letter is written correctly and that it meets the requirements of your mortgage lender.

  • Yes - the deceased’s name should be removed and your name added to the Land Register.

  • We will always provide you with a fixed priced conveyancing quote, by email, online or telephone. The price will not alter unless the transaction is different to that which has been quoted. An example might be where the quote is for a property with registered title, but the property actually has unregistered title. We will provide a clear explanation of why there is any alteration to the price.

  • This can be done by a Deed of Gift which can prepared by us and then lodged at the Land Registry. The ownership should be updated on the Land Register. You and the recipient may also need tax advice about this (income tax, capital gains and stamp duty land tax).

  • The average time is six to eight weeks for a sale and eight to 12 weeks for a purchase, but this can vary, depending on the length of the chain involved. The shortest time could be only a few days, if a buyer was purchasing an empty property and had the purchase monies available without needing a mortgage. However, it could take longer than average if there is a long chain and the person at the end is waiting for a buyer to be able to proceed. Your solicitor will keep you fully informed of progress developments.

  • The solicitors' fees for buying a house can vary from around £400- £1500.

    The conveyancing fees are dependent on different factors such as whether you are a first-time buyer or not, whether additional legal work would be required, or whether the house is freehold or leasehold.

    Many solicitors offer a fixed fee for conveyancing so that you are aware of how much you will need to pay from the outset. This fee often doesn’t change unless unexpected costs come up.

  • The seller’s contract provides for 10% of the purchase price to be paid on exchange of contracts prior to the completion of the purchase a few weeks later, but this deposit amount is more often than not varied by agreement. This depends upon the amount of money being borrowed. If you are buying and selling, the deposit obtained on the sale can usually be used as a deposit on the purchase.

  • Finding a good conveyancing solicitor can be difficult as there are many around. The best way is to ask friends and family if they have any recommendations and by looking at reviews online.

    If other people have had a good experience, then it is likely that you will receive the same service. You can also look on a conveyancing solicitors’ website to see if they give any information about the conveyancing process and further detail on what they can offer you.

    You can often get a good idea of whether a conveyancing solicitor will suit your needs by contacting them and getting a feel of whether they are helpful and friendly.

  • You will need to provide us with the original deeds. These maybe held with another firm or solicitors/conveyancers or a previous mortgage lender.

  • Your interest as a trustee should be noted on the Land Register so you should seek legal advice. Examples of such trusts are life interest trusts in Wills, which become active when the person who made the Will dies. You should also register the trust at the HMRC Trust Registration Service.

  • If someone has died and left you a property, you may want to transfer the ownership of it from the deceased’s name into your name by an ‘assent’ at the Land Registry. Or you may want it sold – either way, we can help you.

  • Remortgaging solicitors handle the legal aspects of transferring your mortgage to a new lender or renegotiating terms with your current lender. They review property documents, liaise with lenders, and ensure that all legal requirements are met to successfully complete the remortgage process.

  • The Land Register should be updated if necessary and we can assist you with that.

  • If you do not use all of the gifted deposit to buy a house, you can keep the money. However, you will need to pay back any interest that has accrued on the money.

  • A conveyancing chain is when there is more than one buyer and seller involved. For example, your seller is buying a house off someone else who is buying another house and the chain goes on. 

    The chain breaks when the buyer or seller is not relying on buying or selling another house such as a first-time buyer or someone purchasing a buy-to-let property. 

    The reason why conveyancing chains can cause a delay is that a buyer cannot buy a property without selling their current property, so the transactions are dependent on what happens within the chain.

  • A conveyancing solicitor is a legal professional that handles the legal transfer of residential property ownership from the seller to the buyer. The conveyancing solicitor will deal with all the steps of the conveyancing process including doing searches on the house, drafting amended title deeds, taking payment, and transferring funds to the required parties.

  • Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property ownership from one person to another.

  • The cost varies, dependent upon the particular area where the property is being purchased. The total cost of the search pack we provide is £195.00 and the solicitor will request an initial payment to cover the cost of these at the outset, when they are submitted. A seller is no longer required to provide searches.

  • The current maximum amount that can be gifted without triggering a tax charge is £3,000 per year.

  • Your solicitor will fully protect your interests and that of any lender on a purchase, to ensure that no adverse entries arise which could affect the property generally. Such matters would be revealed on the searches and the transaction would not proceed until any issues are resolved.

  • When contracts are exchanged, the completion date goes in the contract and is a fixed date for completion. At that time, the removal arrangements can be confirmed to the company. A suggested date given before exchange of contracts may be altered and the removal company may charge a fee for changing the date.

  • If there is an estate agent involved, the seller’s solicitor will telephone to arrange for the keys to be released, once all the purchase monies have been received. Your solicitor will arrange for the transfer of monies as early as possible on the day of completion, but if there is a long chain and monies are awaited, this may delay the time the keys are released.

  • If you are obtaining a mortgage, the lender will normally insure the property or allow you to do so, provided your own insurance arrangements are satisfactory to the lender and the property is fully covered.

  • The conveyancing process can take time to go through especially if you are part of a chain. Conveyancing solicitors are dealing with different clients at one time, so naturally, there will be some time taken to handle your case.

    However, mostly, solicitors are waiting on information from third parties such as other solicitors, Land Registry, local authorities, estate agents, or mortgage companies which is why the process can seem slow.

    If you are in a chain, the whole process can be slowed down because solicitors cannot act when they are waiting for something to happen further along the chain that is out of their control.

    Part of the role of the conveyancing solicitor is to chase third parties for information so that they can do their job.

  • The general principle is that it is the buyer’s responsibility to be satisfied as to the general condition of a property purchased. Provided a buyer is not misled by the seller, he cannot complain after exchange of contracts and completion as to its condition. If a mortgage is being obtained, a valuer on behalf of the lender will inspect the property, but only usually to ensure that the value of the property is more than the amount borrowed. In practice, the same valuer, on payment of a fee, will carry out a more detailed report, which can be relied upon if you, as buyer, later discover a problem with the property.

  • Yes, it is possible to approach your employer on a “without prejudice” (off the record) basis to investigate whether they would be willing to negotiate the terms of your exit from the business. This may be an appropriate course of action if you:

    • are unhappy at work;
    • have received an unsatisfactory outcome to a grievance and feel unable to continue in the work environment;
    • face disciplinary action or performance management;
    • believe you may have grounds to bring a claim against your employer in the Employment Tribunal.
  • Yes.
  • Yes , in addition to compensation for loss of earnings , injury to feelings awards are available .
  • This will depend on the type of claim that you want to make and whether you are still “in time” to bring a claim.

    The majority of employment claims are brought in the Employment Tribunal, although certain claims can also be brought in the County Court. Examples of potential claims that can be brought within the Tribunal system include:

    • Unfair Dismissal
    • Constructive Dismissal
    • Sex Discrimination
    • Disability Discrimination
    • Sexual Orientation Discrimination
    • Gender Assignment Discrimination
    • Race Discrimination
    • Religion or Belief Discrimination
    • Age Discrimination
    • Unpaid Wages
    • Equal Pay
    • Unpaid Redundancy Pay Claims
    • Wrongful Dismissal

    This is not an exhaustive list and there are also a number of other employment claims that can be brought in the Employment Tribunal, for example, TUPE claims, part-time worker regulations etc.

  • You can also make employment claims in the County Court however these claims are limited to breach of contract only. If you issue a claim at the County Court you will have to pay a court fee, which is based on the value of your claim. Fees are now payable in the Employment Tribunal and the size of the fee depends upon the type of claim.

  • Although you do not have to accept a Settlement Agreement offered by your employer, once you have signed the document, it is seen as full and final settlement of any potential claims you may have against your employer.

    If all the required formalities are fulfilled, such agreements are legally binding agreement and cannot be revoked.

    For these reasons it is a legal requirement that you receive independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor who is adequately insured.

  • Employees who were made redundant since 28th February 2020 can qualify if they are re-engaged by their former employer. However , there is no obligation on an employer to do this.
  • Yes, this must be offered and dealt with by someone more senior.
  • In most Employment Tribunal cases, there are strict three month/less one day time limits within which you can issue proceedings. These time limits usually begin to run from the termination date of your employment (unfair dismissal), date of your resignation (constructive dismissal) or from the incident of discrimination.

    If you try and issue proceedings outside of this three month time limit, your claim will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.

    Exceptions to the three month time limit include cases regarding equal pay disputes and redundancy payment disputes when claims must be issued within six months.

  • Depends on age and length of service , see our calculator.

  • Unfortunately, there are no definite timeframes when bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal. As a guide, the tribunal states that simple cases should be concluded within nine months of issuing proceedings. However, the time frame is often dependant on which part of the country your case is being heard and the type of claim.

  • An employee can request this but the employer does not have to agree. It is the employer’s decision which employees to place on furlough leave. It is unclear whether refusing to place employees on furlough leave and making them redundant instead could amount to unfair dismissal.
  • You are not obliged to enter into a Settlement Agreement if you do not wish to do so. If you would like to negotiate the terms of the Settlement Agreement it is possible to make a counter offer. If negotiations are unsuccessful, depending upon the circumstances, the employee can decide whether they wish to issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal. The time limit for bringing such a claim is three months less one day from the date of termination/last act of discrimination. If the discussions regarding the Settlement Agreement are “off the record” they cannot usually be referred to in any legal proceedings.

  • It would seem at first sight that employees who transferred under TUPE to a new employer after that date cannot be placed on furlough leave. However given that TUPE operates to preserve the rights of employees and their contracts on transfer to the new employer it could be argued that these employees should be treated as if they were on the new employe’rs payroll on 28th February. This point requires further clarification from the government and at the moment, it is difficult to say with certainty which is the correct answer.
  • There is nothing in the current guidance which suggests that the employer will only be able to access the reimbursement if it makes it a condition of furlough leave that the employee does not work elsewhere. Therefore, in theory an employee could work for another employer. It is however clear that the employee cannot do work for the employer seeking the reimbursement during furlough leave.
  • The scheme states that employees must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks. What is not clear is how long the employee may return to work after a period of furlough leave before being placed on furlough leave again.
  • No. However withholding 20% of salary would amount to a breach of contract and unlawful deductions of wages unless the employee gives their consent. It is expected that the majority of employees will consent since furlough leave is a much better alternative than unpaid leave, lay off or redundancy.
  • Some employers will not be able to continue to pay 80% of salaries until the HMRC portal is up and running and reimbursement is received. They therefore have the option of:

    • Making the employees redundant although this will have its own associated costs
    • Putting the employees on unpaid leave until the scheme is up and running
    • Reaching an agreement with the affected employees that they will be furloughed now but that payment of their salaries will be deferred until reimbursement is received from HMRC
  • Yes 2 years.
  • We are able to discuss the terms of the Employment Settlement Agreement with you over the telephone or arrange a meeting if you prefer. The offer made will depend upon the circumstances leading up to the discussions and the relative strength of any claim you have. If you have not secured another job to go to, as a general rule of thumb, a payment equivalent to six months’ salary would be considered a good settlement. For a more accurate assessment please use our settlement agreement calculator.

  • Yes
  • Whilst there is no legal obligation for an employer to provide a job reference, a factual reference is often appended to the settlement agreement. The content of the reference is usually confined to the job title and length of service.

  • Usually a document consisting of several pages outlining issues such as:

    • The details of any severance payment you are to receive at the end of your employment.
    • Settlement of any claims the employee may have against the employer.
    • Assurance by the parties that no future legal action regarding your employment relationship will be pursued.
    • The details that will be provided to other employers after your departure.
    • The reference you will receive from your employer (we usually agree the wording of any references).
    • Whether certain matters are required to be kept confidential.
    • Whether there will be any restrictions placed on the employee after leaving the employer.
  • Unfortunately the time limit is very strict so we would be unable to help you

  • Put simply, a grievance is a complaint. If you are having a problem at work (for example, you are unhappy with something you have been asked to do as part of your job), you are concerned about an issue that has arisen at work (for example, the terms of your contract of employment have been changed) or you wish to make a complaint about a colleague or a manager (for example, you feel you are being bullied by a colleague or a manager) then you can raise a “grievance”.

    Raising a grievance is putting your problem, concern or complaint to your employer informally at first (by perhaps having a private word) or if that fails, more formally, perhaps in writing which will allow them to investigate and hopefully resolve your complaint.

  • One of the nine features , eg sex , race , disability , age , sexual orientation , religious belief, transgender reassignment , marital status and pregnancy.
  • The concept of a protected conversation was introduced in 2013 enabling an employer to enter into discussions (“out of the blue”) with an employee with a view to terminating their employment under a settlement agreement, without the parties being able to rely on the details of the conversation as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim. The purpose of the legislation is to enable employers to facilitate the exit of underperforming staff without the necessity of going through a lengthy formal performance management process which can be stressful for both parties.

  • Settlement agreements are legal contracts between an employer and an employee (or former employee to terminate the contract of employment. We often see settlement agreements in the following circumstances: 

    1. Performance review
    2. Disciplinary process
    3. Redundancy 

    The agreement usually contains provisions for the following:

    1. Payment in lieu of notice (unless the employer wants you to work your notice); 
    2. A sum equivalent to any accrued, unused holiday 

    Any payment in lieu of notice and holiday pay with be subject to your usual tax and national insurance deductions.

    Depending on the circumstances, sometimes there may be an ex-gratia (one-off) payment. This is often referred to as the termination payment and ideally should be an incentivised sum of money to sign the agreement. This sum is tax free up to £30,000.

  • Constructive Dismissal is where your employer has acted in such a way towards you that it breaches your contract and allows you to leave your job and treat yourself as dismissed. Whilst your employer has not actually fired you, they may have forced your employment to come to an end by their behaviour. If the contract has been brought to an end, you will not be required to work your notice. An example of this would be where your employer persistently bullies you and forces you to leave the job. A Constructive Dismissal Claim may either be brought about by one particular incident or it may be a series of incidents culminating in a ’last straw’.

    Remember, Constructive Dismissal is not always easy to prove and it is important you consider your position very carefully before leaving your job. To prove Constructive Dismissal you need to show that your employer’s actions were sufficiently serious to allow you to leave your job. It is not necessarily enough that you consider that your employer has acted unreasonably.

    A claim for Constructive Dismissal must be submitted to an Employment Tribunal within three months less a day of the date of your resignation.

    You should generally try and raise a grievance with your employer before resigning to give them the opportunity of trying to resolve the problem. A failure to do this could reduce any compensation that you recover by up to 25%.

    To have a Constructive Dismissal claim, you need to consider:

    • Have you been employed for 2 years?
    • Has your employer broken an express term of your contract?
    • Has your employer acted in a way calculated or likely to break down your relationship of mutual trust and confidence?
  • If your employer is concerned or unhappy about your work, they may look to take disciplinary action against you. Examples of possible concerns include: the standard of your work, your behaviour at work and your level of absence from work.

    Your employer is not obliged to discuss matters with you informally. Instead, they may decide to take disciplinary action formally, especially if the matter is serious.

    If your employer decides to take disciplinary action, they should set out in a letter the alleged misconduct or poor performance and the possible consequences you may face.

  • Discrimination can be either direct or indirect.

    The concept of direct discrimination, victimisation and harassment applies to discrimination related to gender, being married or having a civil partner, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age and disability.

    You are eligible to make a claim for discrimination if you are a job applicant, apprentice, employee, former employee, contract worker, or working on a contract personally to execute work.

    There is no minimum length of service required.

    To be successful in a claim for Direct Discrimination, you must be able to show that:

    • You received less favourable treatment because of a protected characteristic, for example, race or age, etc.
    • The treatment was different to others. It is not enough to be simply unfair treatment, you have to show that the treatment was a result of one of the factors noted above.
    • You have a comparator. It is useful (but not essential) to find a real-life comparator.

    Indirect discrimination is where your employer has applied a provision/criteria or practice which disadvantages you and which would tend to disadvantage others of your race, sex, age, etc. It is not unlawful if your employer can justify the provision or practice by showing that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

  • In the vast majority of cases, before you can proceed to lodge a claim with the Employment Tribunal, you must notify ACAS of your intention to do so. ACAS will then offer the opportunity to use Early Conciliation. This is a process designed to enable the parties to settle their workplace dispute without going to tribunal. Reaching a settlement through conciliation is quicker, cheaper and less stressful for all concerned than a tribunal hearing.

    The process involves submitting a form (Early Conciliation Notification Form) which is a very simple process by which you confirm the brief details of the dispute and the name of the employer. ACAS will then contact you to go through the information provided and explain the process. They will then contact your employer to see if they wish to engage in conciliation. If the matter is resolved, ACAS will deal with the necessary forms for you to sign. If the matter is not resolved, ACAS will then issue a certificate which then allows you to lodge a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

  • Serious misconduct eg theft , fighting , fraud, refusing to carry out an instruction.
  • Unfair Dismissal occurs when your employer dismisses you for an unfair reason and/or they do not follow the correct procedure for the dismissal.

    A Claim for Unfair Dismissal must be submitted to an Employment Tribunal within three months less one day from the effective date of termination of the employment (usually the date of leaving the job).

    Your dismissal may be deemed as “fair” if it was for one of the following reasons:

    • Conduct
    • Capability or qualifications for the job
    • Redundancy
    • Illegality
    • Some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies your dismissal

    If your Employer is going to dismiss you they should:

    • Advise you that they are commencing a procedure that may culminate in your dismissal
    • Invite you to a meeting and inform you of their decision
    • Allow you the right to appeal your dismissal

    To have an Unfair Dismissal claim, you need to consider:

    • Have you been employed for 2 years? If not, you cannot make a claim for Unfair Dismissal unless one of the statutory exceptions applies.
    • Was there a fair reason for your dismissal?
    • Was it reasonable for your employer to dismiss you?
    • Was a fair procedure followed?
  • Wrongful Dismissal occurs when your employer breaches the terms of your employment contract by dismissing you. For example, by not giving you the required notice period. Your employer may be entitled to dismiss you without notice if they can show that the reason for your dismissal was gross misconduct.

    You can issue such proceedings in an Employment Tribunal. However there is a cap on the amount of compensation that can be recovered; currently this is £25,000. Therefore it may be better to bring a civil claim in the County Courts for breach of contract, depending on the size of your claim. Please note that if you are bringing proceedings in the County Court, there will be a court fee to pay and this will be dependent on the size of your claim.

  • This depends upon a number of factors including salary, age and length of employment.

    We also consider whether there is any underlying dispute such as any discrimination towards the employee and whether the employer is afraid of any reputational damage which may result if proceedings were issued as normally these will become public.

    The employee’s notice period will also be a significant factor and is usually the starting point for the settlement figure. 
    An average termination payment would be around 2 to 4 months gross pay which is in additional to the other components including notice pay and holiday pay (where applicable). 

    Our settlement agreement calculator can give you and idea of what an average settlement agreement amount could be paid.

  • The money is usually transferred to you between 14 and 28 days from signing the agreement or the termination of your employment. It is often expressed in the agreement when you will receive your money. We also see reference to the money being paid to the employee on the next payroll.

  • The government has now passed emergency legislation relaxing the restriction on carrying over the 4 weeks statutory leave with effect from 26th March 2020. This will allow employees to carry over untaken leave up to 2 years.
  • Although it may appear that Settlement Agreements only benefit employers, with expert advice from our Settlement Agreement solicitors here in Leeds, you can ensure that all issues between you and your employer are resolved and you receive a fair and appropriate settlement.

  • All employees and workers are covered provided that they were on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 28th February 2020.
  • Employers tend to favour settlement agreements because they can resolve disputes amicably and quickly but also, the terms of the agreement ensure no claim can be brought in the future by the employee.

    Settlement agreements can also be highly cost effective for both the employer and the employee. If a claim is brought in the employment tribunal, legal costs are not recoverable therefore, terminating employment under the terms of a settlement agreement can save time, money and stress. 

  • The law stipulates that it is a legal requirement for a solicitor (or other accredited advisor, for example a trade union official) to review the terms of a settlement agreement.

    A solicitor will review the terms of the agreement and give legal advice on whether the terms are favourable. We do not only consider the financial elements but also whether there are any restrictions which may stop you finding a new job. Also, a solicitor will consider your employment rights including whether there is any discrimination or potential flaws which may give rise to a potential claim.

    These agreements are designed to draw an employment contract to a close or to make amendments to a contract in a fair and reasonable way. You should not be prejudiced as a result of the process.

    It is normal for the employer to contribute towards the employees legal costs and this is typically between £250 and £500 plus Vat.

    Our employment solicitors are acknowledged in Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as being highly experienced in settlement agreements. Where appropriate we will negotiate the terms of an Agreement on your behalf and ensure that your best interests are fully protected.

  • Unfortunately, the interaction between annual leave and furlough leave is not currently clear and there are several potential issues with allowing or requiring workers to take annual leave during furlough. Employers may be concerned with the effect of employees taking annual leave on their ability to obtain reimbursement from HMRC. Furlough leave needs to be taken in blocks of 3 weeks so arguably cannot be interrupted by annual leave. However , under the Working Time Regulations , an employer can require an employee to take annual leave by giving notice of twice the length of leave to be taken . So an employer could in theory require that every third week of furlough leave is to be taken as annual leave !
  • Strictly speaking, the answer is yes. However an employer could attempt to negotiate a change in terms such that any annual leave above statutory leave does not accrue during furlough leave. This has been a particular problem but the government has now passed emergency legislation relaxing the restriction on carrying over the 4 weeks statutory leave with effect from 26th March 2020. This will allow employees to carry over untaken leave up to 2 years.
  • Yes, provided that the volunteering in question is not for the same employer.
  • In order for a Settlement Agreement to be binding it is a requirement that you receive independent legal advice. It is common practice for the employer to contribute to your legal fees and the amount of the contribution should be set out in the Settlement Agreement. If the contribution offered is unlikely to cover the cost, we shall try to obtain an increase from your employer in the first instance.

  • As part of avoiding the costs and stress of a court contest, our team are expert in advising on forms of alternative dispute resolution, including private dispute resolution appointments (an out of court form of a court process which can be done privately and to your timescale), arbitration and mediation. We will work with you to find the best form of resolution for you to achieve the best outcome.

  • Depending on the country where you live, there might be specific tax provisions or considerations for those who've recently undergone a divorce. Our solicitors working alongside a tax expert can provide advice tailored to your situation.

  • Yes, a Pre-Nuptial Agreement can be updated or modified after marriage through a Post-Nuptial Agreement. It is often advisable to include provisions for future reviews in the original Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

  • Child maintenance is usually governed by the Child Maintenance Service and there are only certain times when the court will make orders regarding child maintenance (child periodical payments). Spousal maintenance (spousal periodical payments) can be made in financial proceedings and will depend on the circumstances of the case.

  • Non-Molestation Orders automatically have a power of arrest attached as a breach of this order is an arrestable offence.

    If you obtain an occupation order, you may need a power of arrest.

  • Each divorce follows the same process and there is still no “quickie divorce” despite no-fault divorce being introduced on the 6 April 2022.

  • If your marriage was legally recognised in the country your marriage took place, you can commence a divorce in England if you are habitually resident or domiciled in England or Wales.

  • Yes. A no-fault divorce does not require you to provide any reason for a divorce. You only need to confirm the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. You do not need to lay any blame on your partner before applying, and your spouse has little room to contest it.

  • Yes. A no-fault divorce is a legal process that does not require you to cite specific reasons for the divorce. Instead, you simply confirm that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. There is no obligation to assign blame to your partner when initiating the divorce proceedings, and your spouse typically has very limited grounds to contest it.

  • If you have reached an agreement on your financial settlement, our experienced family lawyers can review the deal to assess its fairness. They can also draft the necessary legal documents to facilitate the creation of a binding court order, providing legal security and enforceability to the agreement.

    While you have the flexibility to agree to various financial settlements, our team can guide you in evaluating whether the agreement aligns with your best interests.

    It is important to note that you can only obtain a court order if the court considers that the agreement is fair, highlighting the importance of striking a balance that is agreeable to both parties involved. Our expertise ensures that your decisions are well-informed and legally sound throughout the divorce process.

    When it comes to determining your financial settlement during a divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Each case is unique and is considered based on its specific circumstances.

    Whether your assets are modest, or you have a high net worth, our team of the best divorce lawyers in Leeds possess the expertise and experience to provide tailored advice and help you navigate through the complexities of reaching a settlement that is fair and appropriate for your specific situation.

    For an insight into your potential divorce settlement, please use our divorce calculator.

  • Indeed, emotions can cloud judgment. When anger, betrayal, or grief drives decisions, one might make hasty choices that may not be financially beneficial in the long run. It is crucial to separate feelings from financial decisions, and this is where our team can be of immense support.

  • It is rare to have to attend court for a divorce particularly now it is now no longer possible to defend an application for divorce save in very exceptional situations.

  • Research tells us that arrangements agreed between the parties are much more likely to succeed if they are made by agreement between the parents. However, where one parent does not agree to those arrangements we can suggest alternative ways of reaching a resolution for your children for example, you may need to try mediation, arbitration or ultimately court proceedings to help you sort these arrangements.

  • Non Molestation Orders automatically have a power of arrest attached as a breach of this order is an arrestable offence. If you obtain an occupation order you may need a power of arrest.

  • You only require either a good colour scan or photograph of the original that is clear and shows all four corners of the document. If the certificate is not in English, you also require an official translation of the certificate.

  • If you decide not to divorce, you will remain legally married to your spouse and your financial claims against each other will remain open indefinitely. The financial claims can only be ended by court order.
  • Yes, you will need to make an application to the court to get a Non-Molestation Order and/or Occupation Order. However, if you are at immediate risk of harm we recommend that you always contact the police.

  • We extend our services to clients located across the country, ensuring that distance is never an obstacle in securing professional legal support. As long as your divorce falls under the jurisdiction of the courts in England and Wales, we can be of service to you.

    Our best family law solicitor in Leeds acts for a diverse client base. Regardless of your location, we offer various modes of communication and consultation to accommodate your preferences.

  • Yes, family law includes divorce along with other things like child arrangements, division of financial assets and other family-related issues.

  • Businesses aren’t merely about current valuation. Their inception, evolution, future potential, and whether the provide any liquid capital can become central in divorce considerations. Comprehensive understanding is vital for fair division and expert evidence is often required.

  • Cryptocurrencies, though relatively novel, are still considered assets. Their valuation and division can be complex due to their volatile nature and the challenges in tracing them. It is essential to approach this with expert guidance to ensure fair division.

  • Investments, whether in equities, shares, or other financial instruments, have specific legal considerations during a divorce. Knowledge and timely measures can be instrumental in preserving these assets.

  • Start by obtaining a copy of your credit report. Ensure all joint accounts are closed or transferred, and focus on building your credit through timely payments, reducing debts, and avoiding new debts that strain your finances.

  • Maintain a clear record of all your digital holdings, investments, and intellectual properties. Collaborate with solicitors familiar with the digital asset landscape to ensure that they are adequately considered and equitably divided.

  • Finding the balance between emotional well-being and pragmatism during divorce/dissolution proceedings can be arduous. It is essential to lean on trusted friends, family, and professional counsellors and coaches to offer support. Having a strong, clear and empathetic solicitor by your side can significantly ease the asset division process. At Winston Solicitors we can connect you with the support you need.

  • Looking beyond the immediate implications of divorce/dissolution means ensuring sustainable income sources, maintaining good credit, budgeting effectively, and perhaps even revisiting your investments. Rebuilding might take time, but with the right strategies, you can fortify your financial foundation.

  • Establishing a clear and transparent plan regarding children's funds, assets, or trusts is vital. Collaborative discussions that prioritise the children's welfare over individual interests can make this transition smoother for the young ones.

  • While marital assets comprise wealth acquired during marriage, non-marital assets, which usually include inherited ones, represent those amassed without reference to joint matrimonial endeavour during the relationship. Knowing this distinction and getting good legal advice can be decisive in asset division.

  • Foreign assets add complexity to the divorce/dissolution equation. It is pivotal to be transparent and maintain meticulous records, especially regarding overseas properties or assets in foreign currencies.

    While the concept of a divorce to protect assets can be misunderstood, our family law firm is here to offer clarity and ensure that your rights and assets are preserved without advocating for unnecessary separations.

  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements primarily focus on financial aspects so they generally do not dictate terms for child arrangements (sometimes referred to as custody) but they can cover the issue of child maintenance or support and other child related financial issues such as payment of one-off expenses or longer-term outgoings such as school fees. The child arrangements are usually agreed or determined by the court based on the best interests of the child.

  • An excellent family divorce lawyer prioritises their clients, offering tailored advice and seeking practical solutions that suit their needs. To find a reliable divorce lawyer, explore client reviews to get an idea of the quality of service others have received.

    Choosing a highly recommended divorce lawyer with a wealth of experience in handling various cases typically ensures that they can provide the most effective guidance and support for your situation.

  • Asset transfers, maintenance (sometimes known as periodical payments), child support, and the division of retirement accounts can all come with tax implications. Being aware of these potential tax implications will help ensure you aren't caught off guard during tax season.

  • Child support and child (sometimes referred to as live with or residence or custody) arrangements might have financial repercussions, influencing how assets are divided or allocated. Being well-informed ensures that decisions made are in the best interest of the child while also being fair to both parties.

  • We take immense pride in our unrivalled reputation among our family law clients, a testament to the trust they place in Winston Solicitors.

    At Winston Solicitors, our clients commend us for:

    • Our unwavering commitment to cost-effectively resolving matters.
    • Our extensive experience in handling complex family matters, ensuring they are in capable hands.
    • Our ability to alleviate the stress and anxiety that often accompanies family issues.
    • We prioritise our clients above all else.
    • Delivering a 5-star service which is the cornerstone of our decision-making process.

    Our family law service offers you:

    • Tailored legal solutions designed to suit the sensitivity of your unique case.
    • A cost-effective approach to legal matters.
    • Flexible, late evening appointment options to accommodate your schedule.
    • Convenient on-site parking for easy accessibility.
    • Wheelchair-accessible facilities to ensure inclusivity.
    • An office location outside the bustling city centre of Leeds.
    • Access to city centre meeting rooms if that is more convenient for you.
    • The flexibility of virtual online appointments for your convenience.

    At Winston Solicitors, we are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service and support throughout your family law journey.

  • The division of properties, particularly primary residences, is multifaceted. Factors like the needs of any children, the source of the property, contributions made, and its current valuation can play integral roles in some cases. Our expertise can assist to guide you through this complex process.

  • A divorce is likely to take a minimum of 30 weeks. This process can however be lengthier if there are financial matters to also resolve.

  • They can vary and it is up to court, but usually they are in place for 6-12 months.

  • It is recommended that a Pre-Nuptial Agreement be finalised at least four weeks (ideally longer) before the date of the marriage or civil partnership. This helps ensure that both parties have adequate time to review the agreement and seek legal advice.

  • There is no time bar if you wish to remarry in England or Wales but you will need to check the country in which you intend to marry but you must have your Final Order (previously known as Decree Absolute).

    You should also check with your solicitor about any effect your remarriage might have on your financial entitlement after your divorce if you have not yet finalised your finances following your divorce/dissolution.

  • To protect your pension in a divorce, several steps should be taken, some of which include:

    1. Understand the Laws: The law and regulation around the division of pension assets is complex. Get the appropriate advice from your solicitor and financial experts to understand your rights and options.
    2. Consult a Solicitor: Engage a solicitor who specialises in family law and asset division and who has experience of cases involving pensions. They can offer tailored advice that will help you navigate the complexities of pension division.
    3. Pension Valuation: Obtain an accurate valuation of your pension and consider whether you need advice from a qualified actuary. This ensures that you know exactly what is at stake and what a fair settlement looks like.
    4. Consider Pension Offsetting: Sometimes, it may be beneficial to offset the value of your pension against other assets you might receive. For example, you may keep your pension, while your spouse gets the house but care needs to be taken to ensure this is genuinely a fair outcome and expert evidence may be required.
    5. Update Beneficiary Information: In the event of a divorce, you may want to review and possibly update who your pension benefits will go to in case of your death.
    6. Draft a Financial Agreement: To conclusively protect your pension, ensure you have a comprehensive consent order, which results in a legally binding financial settlement.
    7. Post-Divorce Review: Both during and after the divorce is finalised, consult with a financial advisor to revise your retirement planning strategy.
  • The process for the dissolution of a civil partnership follows the same process as the divorce.

  • This is an injunction you can obtain from the family courts.

  • Only certain law firms offer legal aid and to provide this they have to have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency. Legal Aid can provide people with financial assistance to help pay for their legal fees but certain conditions need to be met to be eligible for this.

  • A mandatory 20-week "cooling-off" period is built into the process, allowing both parties to consider their decisions carefully. Early legal advice becomes crucial in assessing the right time to initiate the divorce application, taking into account the waiting period. This means it is not necessarily quicker to get a divorce, but it is certainly less stressful.

    One of the significant advantages of no-fault divorce is that it does not require both parties to agree. You have the option to file the divorce application independently, and your spouse has 14 days to respond to the petition. It's important to note that they cannot contest the divorce unless specific legal grounds exist. This can make the process somewhat quicker than before.

    For those who have reached an amicable agreement, a joint no-fault divorce application is also available, allowing couples to mutually navigate the process with shared consent. This flexibility has made the divorce process more accommodating.

  • The simple answer is that it all depends on who you instruct. If you use a reputable firm/panel then the process should be both clear and organised. At Winston Solicitors the average time scale for our client’s from when their Application is submitted to a decision being made is 2 months compared to other firms who have a usual average of 8 months. It is important to note that not all firms/panels have a structured process which means the decision to grant a “Khula” can take up to a lengthy 8 months.

  • Following the panel meeting, if an Islamic Divorce is to be granted, the panel will issue you with a formal divorce certificate similar to that of a Decree Absolute. At Winston Solicitors we always hold a duplicate copy on file for up to 6 years.

  • Yes, the Islamic Divorce panel have to satisfy themselves that your case is significant enough for an Islamic Divorce to be granted. Certain panels require face to face meetings, however this isn’t necessary. At Winston Solicitors we arrange panel meetings by way of video call, it allows our clients to feel at ease and relaxed in their own environment.

  • At Winston Solicitors we have helped many clients obtain an Islamic Divorce even in the circumstances where they could not produce their Nikaah certificate. So do not worry, you just need to be proactive. You must first try and contact the organisation that carried out your Nikaah Ceremony as they would usually hold a duplicate copy of your Nikaah certificate for their records. If this isn’t possible, then you will have to provide sufficient evidence to the Islamic Divorce panel so that they can be satisfied that the marriage actually took place. Winston Solicitors can help you with this.

  • It is actually rather common for the ex-husband to intentionally not respond or acknowledge the Islamic Divorce papers when sent to him. This is why “service” of papers is important. As long as your solicitor can prove that your ex-husband received the paperwork or is aware the procedure has started, then the panel will move on to the next stage regardless of whether or not he responds.

  • These are assets that both you and your spouse have acquired together during your relationship. They can include pensions, properties, investments, businesses, or savings. Essentially, these are the assets that have been built up during your time together as a couple.

  • Non-matrimonial assets are those you or your spouse brought into the relationship, such as an inheritance or assets acquired before your marriage or potentially assets acquired after separation. Despite their separate origin, these assets can still be considered and may be split, depending on the specific circumstances.

    The court's primary concern in asset division is ensuring that all financial needs are met, especially the needs of any dependent children. When deciding how to divide assets, the court takes into account a range of factors, including:

    • The needs of the parties: This involves considering your needs, your spouse's needs, and the needs of any dependent children.
    • Standard of living: The court looks at the standard of living you both enjoyed during the marriage.
    • Income and earning capacity: The current income of each party and their potential earning capacity are considered.
    • Duration of the marriage: The length of your marriage plays a role in asset allocation.
  • In a divorce, pensions do not have to be split equally. You can use a system called pension offsetting. This means one person keeps their pension, and the other gets assets of the same value, like property or investments. But remember, pensions are not equal to other assets because of taxes and restrictions and we can ensure you have the right expert advice to ensure any agreement reached is fair and appropriate for your financial situation.

  • Pension attachment orders allow for one person to get maintenance payments from their ex-spouse's pension. You receive these payments when your ex-spouse starts getting their pension which can be helpful if you depend on their income although they are not as common now that pensions can be shared by pension sharing orders.

  • If you cannot agree on pensions, the court can issue a pension-sharing order or this can be done as part of an overall agreement. This deals with how the pensions will be divided. If you are too young to receive your partner's pension, you can get it when you are older.

  • A post-nuptial agreement, often referred to as a postnup, allows you and your spouse to provide for financial arrangements even after marriage.

    You might find a post-nuptial agreement beneficial if:

    • Inheritance: You are about to inherit significant assets or wealth and wish to clarify the terms of how that will be dealt with within your marriage.
    • Business or property ventures: You are taking on ownership or a significant stake in a family farm, business, or other property. A postnup can help define how these assets will be treated in the event of a separation or divorce.
    • Marital changes: If you and your spouse are considering a separation or have encountered a substantial change in your marital circumstances, a postnup can help address the financial implications and ensure that both parties are protected.
       
  • If you are on the brink of marriage and wondering whether a pre-nuptial agreement is the right choice for you, the decision largely hinges on your financial circumstances and specific goals. Pre-nuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, are legal arrangements that outline how your assets and financial matters will be managed in the event of a divorce.

    Consider opting for a prenuptial agreement if:

    • Assets: You have significantly more assets than your future spouse. A prenup can provide clarity on how these assets will be divided in case of a divorce, ensuring your financial interests are safeguarded.
    • Second marriage with existing children: In the case of a second marriage, you may want to protect the rights and inheritance of your existing children from a previous marriage. A prenup can help ensure that your assets are allocated as per your wishes.
    • Business ownership: If you own a business and wish to shield it from potential divorce proceedings, a prenup can help establish how the business assets will be managed if your marriage ends.
  • What is a Specific Issue Order?

    An Order dealing with a specific issue such as where a child shall attend school or what medical treatment they should have.

  • These are the court proceedings that you can apply to the court for following a divorce/dissolution which will ultimately provide orders for a financial settlement.

  • These are historical terms the court used to describe where a child lives and spends time with a parent. These are now called Child Arrangement Orders.

  • Equip yourself with bank statements, investment details, property deeds, business agreements, and any other financial records. This thorough preparation not only speeds up the process but also ensures every asset is accounted for.

  • This is a specific type of court application that is available to request an order to provide financial assistance for children from an unmarried parent.

  • If a Pre-Nuptial Agreement is not updated, the original terms will usually stand. However, it may not account for changes in financial circumstances, assets, or family structure, which could lead to complications in the event of a divorce some years later as there could be an argument as to how relevant the Pre-Nuptial Agreement is. This will be less relevant if the divorce is within a relatively short time frame of the Agreement or the Pre-Nuptial Agreement is entered into by parties entering into a marriage later in life

  • Intellectual properties can represent significant value, and their division depends on when they were acquired, their potential future earnings, and their importance to the holder. Clear understanding and specialized expertise are crucial in handling these assets.

  • Joint savings can be a bone of contention. Taking precautions such as maintaining separate accounts and diligently recording individual contributions from non-marital sources can make a difference in asset protection, but any savings or assets held in accounts in joint names are likely to be considered as joint regardless of the origins of the fund.

  • We will need to use reasonable endeavours to find them and serve the divorce papers upon them.
  • A 'Clean Break' Consent Order is an order agreed within divorce/dissolution financial proceedings which severs all financial ties between the parties both now and in the future.
  • Joint Tenants is one way of how two people can own a property together and it means that they own all of the property between them.
  • This is a type of order in divorce/dissolution financial proceedings that means a party can live in a property until certain conditions are met.
  • Tenants in Common is another way of how two or more people can own a property together and it will define what proportion of the property that they own.
  • This is an order from the court setting out where children shall live and how they shall spend time with each parent.
  • In family law, a consent order is a legal document which formalises a couple's agreement on the division of their assets (including things like money, savings, property, investments, pensions, and other valuable possessions) and income during a divorce or separation. It can also cover specifics related to child maintenance.

    Sometimes, reaching an agreement might prove challenging, particularly in cases of an acrimonious separation or conflicting interests. However, in situations where couples can reach a mutual understanding about the distribution of their assets, a consent order can speedily solidify this agreement, making it legally binding and safeguarding it from future challenges.

    For a consent order to effectively reflect your intentions and be legally enforceable, it is advisable to engage a solicitor who can draft and validate the document.

  • A Consent Order is an order agreed within divorce/dissolution financial proceedings which sets out the terms of the agreement for the financial separation dealing with sale/transfer of property; bank accounts; maintenance payments and so on.
  • This is a document that is legally binding and usually sets out how legal owners of a property shall own the shares in that property.
  • This is the First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment in children proceedings and will usually be the first hearing you attend at court in a children application.
  • A MIAM is a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and is the first meeting you have in mediation. It is mandatory to attend a MIAM before you make a court application except in certain circumstances when you may be exempt.
  • This is a form of injunction that you obtain from the family courts to prevent a person associated with you from doing certain things for your protection.
  • A pension divorce calculator provides an estimate of how pension assets might be split during divorce. While not definitive, it offers valuable insight into potential outcomes, helping parties make informed decisions.

  • A Pension Sharing Order (PSO) is an order made upon the conclusion of divorce/dissolution financial proceedings which allows a pension to be shared in accordance with the order, and the receiving party will receive this share of the pension to put in their own pension fund.

  • A power of arrest attached to an order means that if the order is breached, the police have the power to arrest the perpetrator.
  • This is an order in children proceedings that prevents a person from doing something e.g. removing the child from school or taking them abroad.
  • This is an order in children proceedings that sets out a certain provision for a child i.e. Whether to change their name.
  • An Occupation Order is also a type of injunction and regulates who can stay in a property and financial provisions can be made.
  • An undertaking is a promise to the court regulating an action. It could be a promise to do something, ie close a bank account, or a promise not to do something. A breach of an undertaking is a very serious matter and is contempt of court.
  • Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution like mediation, but it takes place with a qualified arbitrator and they can make decisions that are binding.
  • Collaborative law is a process where both parties use trained professionals to resolve their legal dispute without going to court.
  • Family law in the UK is the law surrounding family issues such as divorce, children and financial settlements.

    Family law areas can include divorce, dissolution, separation, child arrangements (what was called child custody), dealing with financial family disputes, adoption, distribution of assets, domestic violence and contact with your children.

  • Mediation is an impartial independent service who can assist you and your ex-partner to make arrangements for your family upon separation.

  • This is the legal definition of the responsibilities that parents have over children for example to make decisions about a child's religion or health needs.
  • Pension sharing involves dividing the pension pot at the time of divorce and transferring a percentage to the other spouse. On the other hand, pension offsetting allows one spouse to keep the pension while the other receives assets of equivalent value.

  • TOLATA stands for Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and this is the law that governs property disputes, usually between cohabiting couples but can be used in a variety of different proceedings and set of circumstances.
  • Beyond asset division, our solicitors can offer guidance on financial resolutions and connect you with financial and other advisors who can advise on investment strategies to ensure your monetary future remains robust.

  • If you have decided that you want to end your marriage or civil partnership, it is a good idea to seek legal advice before doing so, so that you know where you stand and you understand the process. You can get a divorce or dissolution (for civil partnerships) after you have been married or in a civil partnership for 1 year.

    Before making your divorce application, you must choose whether to do it on your own or apply jointly with your spouse.

    You can apply alone in either of the following situations:

    • Your spouse disagrees that you should divorce
    • You think your spouse will not cooperate or respond to the court’s notifications

    At each stage, you must confirm your intention to continue with the process.

    To jointly apply for a divorce with your spouse, both of these conditions must apply:

    • Both of you agree that you need a divorce
    • You are not at risk of domestic violence

    You can apply by post or online. At every stage of the divorce process, both of you must separately confirm your willingness to proceed with the application. If your spouse stops responding, you can continue with the application as an individual applicant.

  • You can obtain a Non-Molestation Order or an Occupation Order.

  • A Pre-Nuptial Agreement can include provision for various types of assets, such as property/real estate, savings, investments, and even future inheritances. The agreement can be tailored to meet the specific financial circumstances of both parties.

  • Cafcass are the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service and they are professionals who help the courts in children proceedings.
  • Deciding what happens with the children in a divorce is called the child arrangements.

    These can either be decided between the parents perhaps individually or through solicitors of other dispute resolution such as mediation.

    If the parents cannot agree on the child arrangements, the court may have to intervene. If the court decides on the child arrangements including where the child will live, it will consider what is in their best interests, which could include the age of the children, their needs, and preferences where they are old enough.

    It will look at how their needs can be met educationally, financially, and emotionally, along with other factors. The court will make arrangements that are in the best interests of the children.

  • With international jurisdictions and laws at play, accurate and comprehensive documentation can prevent misunderstandings and legal complications. It is essential to provide detailed evidence of ownership, especially when dealing with foreign properties or investments.

  • Credit health can influence your ability to secure loans, buy property, or even establish utilities. If credit was shared during the marriage, so it is crucial to establish one’s own credit history post-divorce/dissolution.

  • Where a property is owned as Joint Tenants, by severing this this means the property will then be owned by the parties as Tenants in Common with specific shares.
  • Where liability is not in dispute, it is possible to arrange for an interim or early payment for certain losses e.g. loss of earnings. All interim payments are deducted from the final damages award.

  • You do not have to make a claim directly to the responsible party. We will take instructions from you as to the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries. We will then submit your claim to the insurers on your behalf setting out your claim.

  • A personal injury claim must either be resolved within three years of the date of injury, or proceedings must have been commenced at court within that time period. In certain claims, for example, clinical negligence and Industrial disease claims, the three year time limit runs from the date that you first became aware of the illness, disease or negligent act suffered.

  • This depends on the type of claim. A simple claim can conclude within a year if liability is established early on. Only a very small proportion will ever make it to court. In the UK, less than 2% of claims actually reach a trial.

  • The value of your claim will be based on the medical evidence. No claim is settled without your specific authority to do so. This ensures that you keep absolute control of your claim. Compensation is generally divided into two parts:

    General Damages

    These are damages for pain and suffering including the loss of the ability to do certain tasks, hobbies etc. This award compensates you for the suffering you have encountered usually in its physical form e.g. whiplash, broken leg, strained muscles etc. However, it is also possible to be compensated for psychological distress and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Special Damages

    You will also receive compensation for specific quantifiable losses attributable to the accident. These include loss of earnings, car hire expenses, care and services, extra expenses (e.g. travel costs incurred going to doctors, hospitals, etc,) damaged clothing, and prescription charges. All we ask is that you keep a note of any expenses, and preferably receipts so that when we eventually calculate your claim for special damages, we will be able to include all relevant items.

    If the injuries were the result of a criminal attack then you might be able to claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). We have devised a CICA calculator to give victims an idea as to how much compensation they could be entitled to.

  • We will cover the cost of all expenses incurred in pursuing your claim whether they are medical fees, court fees, barrister’s fees, or other related expenses.

  • If the insurer admits liability and agrees to deal with your claim, they will also meet part of your legal fees. A deduction will also be made from your damages award to cover the costs of running your claim.

  • If we do not win your case then we do not have any right to recover our fees from you. If we do win your case the insurers pay a fixed contribution towards the legal costs. You will also make a payment to us out of your compensation.

  • All claims in England and Wales are subject to certain rules which both solicitors and insurers must follow during the course of a claim. The protocol ensures that both sides act fairly and responsibly and it prevents delay in the progression of the claim.

  • Under the Personal Injury Protocol, an insurer is allowed a period of up to four months to investigate the claim and then either admit or deny liability for your accident. If liability is to be denied, the insurer must supply evidence in support of their arguments. They cannot simply refuse to deal with your claim.

  • You need professional legal advice to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation due to you. Insurers will attempt to settle your claim at an early stage and often before you have been able to instruct a solicitor. They do this to save legal costs which they otherwise would have to pay and to also secure the lowest settlement award possible.

  • Most people who make a personal injury claim do so reluctantly. Very little is generally known about the process and there have been many negative news stories in the press in recent years. Claims are progressed through the insurers and not directly with the responsible party.

  • In order to prove that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident, you will have to attend a medical examination by an independent doctor in your locality. Following the examination, a report will be prepared. The report is essential as it describes the injury suffered and confirms when or if your recovery is likely to take place. This forms the basis for the award of damages. There is no need to be concerned about the examination; the doctors that we instruct are friendly and sympathetic and most examinations take no more than 20 minutes.

  • Domestic violence claims can also be made through the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme, these would be awarded based on what physical injuries you have suffered. 

  • Yes. Each case will be assessed on its own merits so it will certainly depend on why a claim is being sought now; however, we have successfully represented thousands of clients who have claimed compensation as an adult. Please talk to our specialist Criminal Injury Lawyers on 0113 320 5000 and they will be able to advise you further.

  • It is possible to claim compensation for injuries sustained from a period of domestic abuse or a single domestic assault. You must have reported the offender to the police and supported the prosecution. An award may be paid for physical, sexual or psychological injury where this falls within the tariff of injuries set by the CICA. Awards however cannot be made for financial abuse, coercive control, stalking and harassment.

  • You may be able to claim compensation as a secondary victim; depending on your own injuries. If you have witnessed a criminal incident where another person sustained injuries; or you were involved in the immediate aftermath of a criminal incident; you may be entitled to compensation for psychological trauma as a result.

  • Yes. If you are acting on behalf of a person under the age of 18, or for an adult who lacks mental capacity; and you have legal or parental responsibility for that person, you can instruct us on their behalf to claim Criminal Injuries Compensation. Any payments made by the CICA to someone who is either a child, or lacks mental capacity will usually be paid in to a trust. We can also offer our services to assist you in the administration of a trust if required.

  • Yes. As long as the historical abuse has been reported to the police. We recognise that all acts of abuse affect individuals differently and therefore each person’s story is different. We are happy to speak with you to advise you personally on whether your claim will be successful. Please call our specialist Criminal Injury Lawyers on 0113 320 5000 and they will be able to advise you.

  • Yes. So long as you have required medical treatment for the same. The CICA would require you to have a diagnosis from a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist; if you don't have this yet but are receiving counselling or therapy, please call our specialist Criminal Injury Lawyers on 0113 320 5000 who will be able to advise you further. You can also use our Criminal Injuries Compensation Calculator to see how much your claim may be worth.

  • You can claim for PTSD if a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist have confirmed that it is disabling on a level where it affects you day to day, and that it is as a direct result of the crime. 

  • Yes, you can make claims for sexual offences on a police evidence only basis. This means you can be compensated for the fact that the crime has happened, without having to disclose sensitive medical information.

  • Yes, if you have a confirmed diagnosis of a disabling mental injury as a direct result of the crime, and that diagnosis comes from either a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. 

  • Yes, so long as there is sufficient evidence that it was non-consensual. This is often made as part of a domestic violence claim, if there has also been physical injury.

  • It may be possible. It will depend on your individual circumstances, however just because the assailant is deceased does not mean you will not be eligible for compensation. Call our specialist Criminal Injury Lawyers on 0113 320 5000 and they will be able to advise you.

  • No, you don't. The CICA expect an application to be made as soon as reasonably possible. The burden of proof for the CICA is lesser than what is needed in court; therefore, providing the police have agreed to investigate your allegations; this should be sufficient to proceed with an application. The CICA apply a limitation of 2 years* from the date of reporting to make a claim for compensation; therefore, waiting for the outcome of a court hearing could sometimes jeopardise your position.

  • When asked by the police if you wish to press charges against your assailant, you must agree to do so to be able to claim compensation for your injuries. The CICA expect all applicants to act as far as reasonably practicable in bringing their assailant to justice, and therefore any reluctance to assist the police in securing a prosecution, may see your claim rejected by the CICA.

  • No, most claims for sexual offences can be settled without medical reports. Claims for physical injuries can be settled using your medical records from your own doctors. 

  • Experience tells us that it is beneficial to the overall success of your claim, to instruct a solicitor at the very start. The CICA do not offer a solicitor to you and you are able to apply directly; however, without extensive knowledge of the scheme we see too often that applicants who have applied directly, face trouble and stumbling blocks along the way. By instructing Winston Solicitors you are receiving specialist advice from our Criminal Injury Lawyers, representation throughout your claim, including at Review and Appeal stage if required. We will ensure that you achieve the maximum award for your injuries, including loss of earnings and special expenses where applicable.

  • No, if the police investigation does not result in a conviction, or the alleged perpetrator is not convicted this does not necessarily mean you cannot claim compensation.

  • You can contact us through our contact form or call us on 0113 320 5000.

  • This will depend on the circumstances of your injury; however, as a general rule; you have 2 years from the date of the incident to submit an application*. If you are under the age of 18 (or were under the age of 18) when the matter was reported to the police, then you have 2 years from the date of your 18th Birthday. If the criminal injury occurred whilst you were under the age of 18, but the matter was reported to the police as an adult, you have two years from the date the matter was reported to the police.

    *There are exceptional circumstances where these time limits can be waived.

  • There is no time limit in relation to the criminal prosecution of sexual offences. Criminal charges may and often are brought many years after the event. We would always encourage anyone who has suffered a sexual assault, particularly in rape cases, where there may be DNA evidence, to report the matter to the police immediately or as soon as they are able to.

  • Each case is assessed on its own merits and the length of your claim will depend on a number of factors; including, but not limited to: whether the police are able to release your report immediately, whether there is ongoing medical treatment and your overall cooperation with the process. In some cases, the CICA can reach a decision within 12 weeks of an application being submitted although on average, the majority of cases take between 12 and 18 months.

  • The CICA offer awards between £1000 and £250,000 for injuries sustained as a result of a crime of violence. There is also an opportunity to claim up to an additional £250,000 in Loss of Earnings and Special Expenses, funeral expenses and Child Dependency payments. Use our Criminal Injuries Compensation Calculator to see how much your claim may be worth.

  • Rape awards are at the upper end of the tariff awards for sexual assaults. The actual award depends on whether it was a single incident and if several incidents over what period the assaults occurred. There can also be a higher award where the rape has caused a psychological injury and also an additional sum if you have had no or limited capacity for work because of the psychological injury.

  • We work for you on a no win no fee basis. The legal term for this agreement is known as a Contingency Fee Agreement. It essentially means that if for whatever reason your claim is not successful, providing the information you provide to us is true to the best of your knowledge and the failure is not your fault, you do not pay anything to us. In the event that your claim is successful we will deduct a fixed fee, usually equivalent to 25% + VAT of your overall compensation amount. If you are successful, the minimum award available under the CICA scheme is £1000.00, meaning £250.00 + VAT would be deducted in respect of legal costs.

  • The CICA will make awards for the three most serious injuries you have suffered, and in doing so, awards will be made on a staggered scale. Your most severe injury, or the one which would attract the highest award of compensation will be awarded to you at 100%, your second most severe injury will be awarded at 30% and your third injury will be awarded at 15%. Use our Criminal Injuries Compensation Calculator to see how much your claim may be worth.

  • Yes, groping amounts to sexual assault and is also considered to be a crime of violence under the CICA scheme. Any unwanted, non consensual touching can amount to an assault.

  • Absolutely not. We do not share your information with anyone else without your prior consent. As your compensation is paid by government funds, there is no reason why the assailant would be aware of your claim for compensation.

  • The CICA require evidence to show that on “balance of probability” you have been the innocent victim of a crime of violence; therefore so long as the police were satisfied that you were the innocent victim of a crime of violence, this should be sufficient for the CICA to consider your application.

  • If the police investigate the crime and there is not enough evidence for them to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision, then it is unlikely compensation would be awarded due to a lack of evidence. 

  • You may be able to. The burden of proof required by police and the Crown Prosecution Service is that they must show “beyond all reasonable doubt” that the assailant is guilty – sometimes this will lead the CPS being unable to charge if there are some discrepancies or a lack of evidence. The burden of proof the CICA require is much less and it is accepted “on balance of probability” that the crime took place, then you should be able to claim compensation.

  • There are cases where the perpetrator is deemed unfit to stand trial, or the court decides part way through the trial that they are too ill to be tried. You would still be able to claim compensation. 

  • The CICA offer awards for the most significant injuries including:

    • Facial fractures
    • Internal injuries
    • Fractured or dislocated limbs
    • Significant scarring
    • Psychological injuries
    • Sexual assaults

    Minor injuries that are not eligible for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Scheme include:

    • broken noses
    • fractured ribs
    • widespread bruising

    Use our Criminal Injuries Compensation Calculator to see how much your claim may be worth.

  • A physical attack or any other act or omission of a violent nature which causes physical injury to a person; or a threat against a person, causing fear of immediate violence; a sexual assault or arson.

  • Non recent abuse is another term for historic abuse, and it is usually used to mean abuse which took place in childhood, when the person involved in now over 18. 

  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) are a Government funded organisation set up to compensate innocent victims of violent crime. The intention of their payments is to act as a gesture of public sympathy for people suffering as a result of being an innocent victim of crime.

  • A person who sustains injury as a result of a crime of violence where their own conduct has not in any way contributed to the injury; sustained injury whilst taking an exceptional and justified risk for the purpose of preventing a crime.

  • If you need to go into a care home, the local authority will financially assess you to see if you need to pay for your own fees. An effective way to protect your home from being included in the financial assessment is via life interest trusts (LITs). You can do LITs in your Wills if you own a property in joint names with someone (e.g., your spouse) as tenants in common. The effect of the LIT is that when the first of you dies, the survivor can continue living in the property for life but if they go into a care home, only their half of the property is included in their financial assessment. This is because the deceased’s half of the property is left to the ultimate beneficiaries in the LIT (e.g., your children). Therefore, at least half of the property value is ringfenced for the ultimate beneficiaries.

  • Care fees:
    If you transfer your home into someone else’s name and the sole intention is to avoid the payment of care home fees, the council will deem the transfer to be a “deliberate deprivation of assets”. If the local authority believes a transfer has occurred for this reason, it can place a charge against the property so that care fees are repaid when the property is sold. There is no time limit on this after which it is OK to transfer a property – the local authority can go back as far as they like.

    Tax implications:
    A transfer of property, in which you are living, to your children can be regarded by HMRC as a “gift with reservation of benefit”. This means that even after seven years have elapsed, it can be treated as part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. Some people think that they can avoid this if they pay a nominal rent to their children. However, the rules are extremely strict and it is necessary to ensure that the rent paid it a full market rent and that there are regular rent reviews. This is not a comprehensive list of the rules which would apply.

    Other consequences:
    There can be other unforeseen consequences. For instance, should your child subsequently get into financial difficulty and be made bankrupt, this could result in the trustee in bankruptcy calling for your home to be sold. In addition, if your home is transferred into a child’s name and then that child divorces, their share of the home may form part of their divorce settlement.

  • A deed of variation (DOV) can be used to vary a Will or the intestacy rules after someone dies, within two years of the date of death. DOVs are often used to change the beneficiaries of an estate or the gifts themselves. A DOV cannot help someone to avoid paying care fees as such, and the effect on inheritance tax (IHT) must also be considered.

  • Yes. It is perfectly normal and perfectly legal to name the same person or people as both an executor and a beneficiary in your will.

  • Yes, if the first part of the couple has passed away, the surviving spouse can move to another property of their choice. If there are any access funds left over, there is then a choice as to what happens with these funds. These monies can either be paid out. These monies would be split as follows - half to the survivor out of the couple and the other half to the ultimate beneficiaries. The ultimate beneficiaries would be those named in the Will who are to receive the half of the property belonging to the part of the couple who has passed away first. A common example would be children. The other option is that the monies are invested into a Trust account. The latter is a better option for inheritance tax purposes.

  • Yes, you can appoint multiple attorneys. You can also specify if you want them to make decisions jointly or if they can act independently.

  • No, an LPA must be set up by the individual while they still have the mental capacity to understand the implications of their decision.

  • Where an adult needs to go into a care home, any property they own will be considered by the local authority in their financial assessment to see if they have to pay for their own care fees, unless it is deemed part of the mandatory disregards. Subject to certain conditions, from April 2015 a property must be disregarded from the financial assessment if the person’s child is living there and is: aged over 60; aged under 18; or incapacitated. Therefore, it is as if the person going into care does not own the property so it is not counted in their financial assessment and the child can continue to live there.

  • While doctors often consult with family members for insights into a patient's wishes, without an LPA, they are not legally bound to follow the family's decisions. An LPA ensures that the appointed attorney's decisions are legally recognised and followed.

  • You can apply for probate without a solicitor: however, it is a good idea to get legal advice if you do not understand the will, or where the estate is complicated.

    As part of the process of applying for probate, you will need to calculate the value of the deceased’s estate which includes everything they own. In addition, you will need to calculate the inheritance tax (IHT) due. This can become complicated when someone has left assets held in trusts or overseas, or where the deceased owned a business for instance.

    Executors are personally responsible for correctly administering an estate, including accurately valuing the assets and calculating the right taxes, settling any debts, and distributing to the beneficiaries. If this is done incorrectly, executors can be held personally and financially liable. Instructing a solicitor gives the executor peace of mind and protection if anything goes wrong.

  • Yes, if you are aged over 18 and have assets. This is because a will is the only way you can make sure that your wishes will be carried out after your death.

  • You only need to change your will if you change address if you have made a specific gift of that property in your will.

  • Yes. Entering into marriage or civil partnership after you made a will automatically revokes your will unless it was made specifically in contemplation of marriage or civil partnership and states that it is not to be revoked by the marriage or civil partnership.

  • Winston Solicitors do not charge for storing your will but some firms may.

  • If the couple are both still alive and one of them moves into a care home, the matrimonial home would not be included as part of the financial assessment as it would be part of the mandatory disregard. This means the part of the couple not in the care home could continue to live in the property as normal.

  • Yes, but only when the first part of the couple has passed away. A life interest trust is a Will trust (rather than a lifetime trust) meaning it only needs to be registered once the first part of the couple has passed away. The trust would be registered with the Trust Registration Service at HMRC. This is something we would be more than capable of assisting clients with.

  • Yes but there are consequences. We can advise you on the implications both good and bad.

  • It's crucial to discuss your wishes in detail with your attorney and solicitor. At Winston Solicitors, we ensure that every LPA we draft is tailored to the individual's specific needs and preferences.

  • In order to determine whether there is any inheritance tax due from the estate, you will need to calculate the net estate for inheritance tax purposes and where necessary, check if you are eligible for any inheritance tax reliefs.

  • A Health and Welfare LPA focuses on decisions related to your health and personal well-being, while a Property and Financial Affairs LPA pertains to decisions about your finances and property.

  • When someone dies having already made a will, they are likely to have explained in their will which assets they are leaving, such as property, money and possessions, and to who they would like to leave them (the beneficiaries). Everything that is owned by the deceased is called their “estate”. The will should name the executor, who is the person in charge of distributing the assets.

    The executor will then need to apply for probate to give them legal authority to collect the assets within the deceased’s estate and distribute them to the beneficiaries. Before the executor applies for probate, they will need to estimate the value of the estate and calculate whether any inheritance tax is due.

  • Where the solicitor is acting as the executor, they will often hold inheritance money for 6 months after the Grant of Probate is given. This is because if anyone wants to make an Inheritance Act claim against the estate because they reasonably expected to receive an inheritance but didn’t, they must do this within 6 months of probate being granted. Therefore, if someone does make a claim for money from the estate and they are successful, the amount can be deducted from the total held by the solicitor before it is allocated amongst the beneficiaries.

  • As of February 2023, it is taking 16 weeks from the day the Probate Registry confirm they are processing your application for them to issue you with a Grant. However, there can be exceptions.

  • Typically, the registration process takes around  20 weeks. This includes a 4-week waiting period to allow for any objections.

  • After you have been granted probate, the length of time it will take to administer the estate will depend upon the complexity of the assets.

  • In theory, you could have as many as you like but in practice, you would not normally have more than four. If you appoint more than one, you do have to say how they are to act: jointly – meaning that any decisions must be taken by all attorneys together; or jointly and severally – meaning that each attorney can make a decision independently of the other. If it is joint and several, the Lasting Powers of Attorney will not end if an attorney can no longer act but if joint, if an attorney can no longer act, the LPA ends.

  • In theory, you could have as many as you like but in practice, you would not normally have more than four. If you appoint more than one, you do have to say how they are to act: jointly – meaning that any decisions must be taken by all attorneys together; or jointly and severally – meaning that each attorney can make a decision independently of the other. If it is joint and several, the Lasting Powers of Attorney will not end if an attorney can no longer act but if joint, if an attorney can no longer act, the LPA ends.

  • Yes, this is possible. If the property is jointly owned by you and your spouse, it is essential that the property is held as tenants in common, rather than joint tenants. It is possible for you to leave your spouse a life interest in your half of the property and if your spouse goes into a care home after you die, only half the value of the house is taken into consideration by the local authority when carrying out a financial assessment to see if they had to pay for their own care. It is essential that the life interest trust is properly worded in the will and you should ensure that you consult a specialist solicitor.

  • No. If you would like to update us of a change by letter, please do so and we can keep this with your will.

  • Just because you are named in the will as an executor does not mean you have to act as an executor. If you do not want to take on the role of an executor, you can do one of the following: give up all your rights to act as an executor or reserve your right to act as an executor in case you want to be involved in the future.

  • No. As long as you have mental capacity, you retain control and you can always revoke the power of attorney. With a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), your attorney cannot make decisions for you unless you have lost mental capacity. With a property and financial affairs LPA, your attorney can make decisions for you as soon as it is registered if you choose.

  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership and you do not make a will then the answer is no. However, assets held in joint names and property held as joint tenants with your partner will pass automatically to them on your death.

  • If you want to choose someone to make decisions on your health and welfare when you cannot, then yes. That way, you can pick someone you trust and explain to them any preferences you have so that if the day comes when you cannot make those decisions yourself, they have the legal authority to do so on your behalf.

  • Yes, there's a registration fee charged by the Office of the Public Guardian of £82 per document. However, some individuals might qualify for a fee reduction or exemption based on their financial situation.

  • General
    You (the donor) make a GPA and nominate attorneys to act for you but it ends if you lose capacity or revoke it. This can only be for property and financial affairs.

    Enduring
    Pre-October 2007, you made an EPA to nominate attorneys to act for you if you lost capacity. This could only be for property and financial affairs. It must be registered at the OPG to be used but can only be registered once the donor loses capacity.

    Lasting
    Since then, you can make an LPA to nominate attorneys to act for you. This can be for property and financial affairs or for health and welfare. It must be registered at the OPG to be used. The financial LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, the health LPA can only be used if the door has lost capacity.

  • If the value of the estate is over £5,000 then the application fee for a Grant of Representation is £300. If the value of the estate is less than £5,000 then there is no fee to apply for probate.

  • If your personal assets are worth over £23,250, you must pay all your care fees (once you fall below that, the local authority will help. The government is looking to make this rise to £86,000 from October 2023). If you own a property jointly with someone else (e.g., your spouse) and they are still living in the property when you go into a care home, the jointly owned property must be disregarded for the purposes of assessing if you can pay for your own care fees. This is called a mandatory disregard. There are several reasons for mandatory disregards and there are also discretionary disregards that the local authority may or may not choose to consider in this process.

  • If you cannot find the deceased’s will amongst their possessions then you should try contacting:

    • The deceased’s solicitor. If you are unaware of who the deceased’s solicitor was then you may want to consider contacting solicitors local to the deceased in case they have it.
    • The deceased’s bank (some people store important documents with their banks).
    • A will search company.
    • London Principal Probate Registry If a will is not located then it is assumed that the deceased did not have a will when they died.
  • An application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration will need to be made by the next of kin of the deceased.

  • A Health and Welfare LPA is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions about your health and personal welfare if you're unable to do so yourself.

  • LPAs can be cancelled or changed as long as you have the mental capacity to make that decision. It's essential to inform the Office of the Public Guardian and all relevant parties about any changes.

  • No. Your family will have no access to your bank accounts and cannot sell your property unless they make an application to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order, which is a costly and lengthy process.

  • If you do not make a will then the intestacy rules apply on your death. These rules contain a pecking order of who can inherit based on your family situation. This can mean that those who you wish to benefit from your estate could lose out and it could cause considerable hardship to them.

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows a person (the donor) to appoint someone or more than one person they trust (attorneys) to make decisions for them when they no longer have the mental capacity to make the decisions themselves. An LPA has to be made while the donor still has the mental capacity to give their consent to it.

  • A will is an important legal document which governs the distribution of your estate (which is everything that you own) upon your death. If you die without making a will, you are ‘intestate’ and the law will determine who inherits your estate. It is important to seek professional legal advice when writing a will to ensure it complies with all legal requirements and can be executed with ease.

    Many people believe that everything they own will automatically go to their spouse but this is not always the case. A properly drafted will sets out your wishes clearly and unambiguously

    It can also deal with other matters, such as appointing guardians for any of your children under the age of 18. For clients with more valuable estates, having the correct will in place could save many thousands of pounds of inheritance tax.

  • If a person who died did not have a will then the person who is granted Letters of Administration is called the administrator. This is a similar role to an executor of a will.

  • An attorney is someone who acts on behalf of another person. You can choose your attorneys. The attorney may be a member of your family, a friend or a professional person, like a solicitor or accountant.

  • An executor is a person named in a will who sorts out the estate of the person who has died.

  • Probate is the word normally used to describe the process of dealing with the estate of a person who has died. In general, there are two different types of grants:

    • Probate - applied for if the person who died had a valid will
    • Letters of Administration - applied for if the person who died did not have a valid will
  • If the deceased did not have a will then the next of kin may have to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration before they can deal with the estate.

    If the deceased had a will then the executors may have to apply for a Grant of Probate before they can deal with the estate.

    Institutions have their own procedures and requirements before releasing their deceased customers’ assets and will inform you of these when you communicate with them. Some may require a grant, some may not. This often depends on the value of the asset.

  • It only becomes active when you're unable to make decisions for yourself. This contrasts with a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, which can be used as soon as it's registered, with your permission.

  • Both Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney can usually only be used by your attorneys once they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

  • It is wise to review your will if there is any change in your circumstances or those of the beneficiaries referred to in the will. In addition, if there are changes in inheritance tax legislation, it may be appropriate to review your will. As a rule of thumb, review your will every five years just in case.

  • A person can usually apply to be an administrator if they are the next of kin (a close relative) of the deceased or were married to or in a civil partnership with the deceased. The rules of intestacy will apply.

  • Probate may not be needed if the person who died only had low value assets in their sole name, only held joint accounts with someone, or owned land or property as joint tenants. Jointly owned assets are usually inherited automatically by the survivor.

    If the deceased has bank accounts with savings, probate may be necessary if the banks or financial institutions need to see a Grant before allowing access to the accounts. You will need to ask the bank or building society about their individual requirements as these vary.

    If probate is not required, the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries, unless it is found that the estate is insolvent, which means it does not have enough assets to pay off debts owed.

  • It is important to write a will if you would like to choose what happens to your assets after your death. If you do not write a will, you will have no control over your assets, which will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules. A person who dies without a will is called “intestate”.

  • When you instruct a solicitor for probate, it can take time to collect the details of the estate and understand the assets, debts and income involved. After this, the probate application will need to be completed. Once probate is granted, the time it takes to collect and distribute all the assets will be dependent on the complexity and size of the estate. As many large government and financial institutions are involved, the solicitor may face delays due to their response times.

  • It is unlikely. You should contact the liquidator who will give you the available information.

  • The answer is yes. The working restrictions on a bankrupt are not to be a company director, not to take part in the formation or management of a company without a court order, not to take credit of more than £500.

  • You are insolvent if you cannot pay your debts as they fall due and/or your liabilities are greater than your assets.

  • Some employers may have already placed employees temporarily onto reduced hours and pay due to the downturn in work as a result of the coronavirus. These employers will not be able to seek reimbursement in respect of wages costs for employees who are still working on reduced hours. The scheme only applies where employees are put on furlough leave. This point causes some difficulties for some employers. The scheme may financially disincentivise employers from keeping their business open. Keeping a business running with staff on reduced hours allows an employer to keep a revenue stream and retain customers. However, this is likely to be more expensive for the employer than putting all staff on furlough leave and have HMRC pay 80% of their wages.
  • The guidance suggests that employees who are on sick leave or self-isolating should receive statutory sick pay only but can be furloughed once they have recovered or are no longer self-isolating.
  • Yes, in cases of harassment and sexual harassment, claims can be made against the harasser directly.

  • When the portal is set up it is anticipated that the employer will need to submit the following:

    • The employers PAYE reference number
    • The number of employees being furloughed
    • The claim period (start and end date)
    • The amount claimed
    • The employer’s bank account number and sort code
    • A contact phone number

    Employers can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for.

  • It would seem at first sight that employees who transferred under TUPE to a new employer after that date cannot be placed on furlough leave. However given that TUPE operates to preserve the rights of employees and their contracts on transfer to the new employer it could be argued that these employees should be treated as if they were on the new employe’rs payroll on 28th February. This point requires further clarification from the government and at the moment, it is difficult to say with certainty which is the correct answer.
  • There is nothing in the current guidance which suggests that the employer will only be able to access the reimbursement if it makes it a condition of furlough leave that the employee does not work elsewhere. Therefore, in theory an employee could work for another employer. It is however clear that the employee cannot do work for the employer seeking the reimbursement during furlough leave.
  • No. However withholding 20% of salary would amount to a breach of contract and unlawful deductions of wages unless the employee gives their consent. It is expected that the majority of employees will consent since furlough leave is a much better alternative than unpaid leave, lay off or redundancy.
  • Some employers will not be able to continue to pay 80% of salaries until the HMRC portal is up and running and reimbursement is received. They therefore have the option of:

    • Making the employees redundant although this will have its own associated costs
    • Putting the employees on unpaid leave until the scheme is up and running
    • Reaching an agreement with the affected employees that they will be furloughed now but that payment of their salaries will be deferred until reimbursement is received from HMRC
  • Yes , this involves consultation and a fair selection using a number of criteria.
  • Yes 2 years.
  • The employer must confirm the employee’s new status in writing. This is an eligibility requirement for accessing the subsidy and a record must be kept of this correspondence. Ideally, the employer should write to the employees and provide a short agreement which they both sign. We can provide a furlough agreement on request.
  • Serious misconduct eg theft , fighting , fraud, refusing to carry out an instruction.
  • Once you have decided to make staff reductions.
  • The scheme is open to all UK organisations who had created and shared a PAYE payroll scheme on 28th February and have a UK bank account. This means that public sector and local authorities employers are covered although the government expects the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations as the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services and because they are mainly funded by the government .
  • Yes, there are several ways a winding up petition can be stopped:

    1. Paying the Debt: If the company settles the debt in full or reaches an agreement with the creditor before the court hearing, the petition can be withdrawn.
    2. Challenging the Petition: If there are valid grounds to dispute the debt or if there were procedural errors in the petition's issuance, the company can challenge it in court.
    3. Negotiating with Creditors: Sometimes, creditors might agree to a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or other repayment plans, leading to the petition's dismissal.

    Once a winding up order has been granted by the court, reversing it becomes more challenging. It's crucial to act swiftly upon receiving a petition to explore these options.

  • For directors of limited companies, there's generally a distinction between personal and company assets. However, if directors have provided personal guarantees for company loans or if they're found guilty liable for misfeasance, wrongful or fraudulent trading, their personal assets might be at risk. It's essential to seek legal advice to understand potential liabilities and explore protective measures.

  • The duration of the winding up process can vary based on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the number of creditors involved, and any challenges or disputes that arise. Typically, once a winding up petition is presented, a court hearing is scheduled within 8-10 weeks. If the court grants the winding up order, the liquidation process can take several months to a few years, depending on the size and nature of the company's affairs.

  • Upon the issuance of a winding up order:

    Company Assets: All assets, including properties, equipment, and receivables, are collected and sold by the appointed liquidator. The proceeds are used to repay creditors in a specific order set by insolvency laws.

    Employees: Unfortunately, employees are often made redundant. They can claim unpaid wages, redundancy pay, and other entitlements from the National Insurance Fund. If the company is sold as a going concern, employees might be transferred to the new owner under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

  • You are insolvent if you cannot pay your debts as they fall due and/or your liabilities are greater than your assets.

  • While both relate to insolvency, they target different entities. A winding up petition is typically issued against a company or partnership, leading to its liquidation if successful. Bankruptcy, on the other hand, applies to individuals and sole traders.