Secretary – Family Department – Exeter

We currently have a full-time vacancy for an experienced Family Secretary in our Exeter office. Our Family Department has a highly regarded childcare team and specialists dealing with a broad range of work including advice on divorce, separation, children, domestic abuse, and financial matters arising from relationship breakdown.

We are looking for an organised individual with previous family/childcare experience. You will be confident managing a busy workload in a fast-paced environment with the ability to use your own initiative and work well under pressure. The role also includes the need to support members of the Family Department on a remote basis by means of winscribe digital dictation.

You will also be required to assist with the provision of cover on our Reception desk and general office duties that might be assigned to you.

The successful candidate will need to be able to:

  • Demonstrate excellent secretarial and typing skills (both audio and copy typing) with good attention to detail
  • Manage a busy workload using own initiative
  • Demonstrate previous experience in the use of digital dictation and case management software
  • Manage fee earners’ diaries
  • Demonstrate good organisation skills
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills, both written and spoken
  • Cope well under pressure, with an ability to work flexibly and cope with changing priorities
  • Take a positive and proactive approach to work, anticipating and meeting the needs of the department
  • Be competent in using Word and other Microsoft Products (Outlook and Powerpoint)
  • Previous legal secretarial experience is essential
  • Previous family experience is preferable

This is an excellent opportunity to become an integral member of our Family Department and to thrive in a professional and friendly atmosphere. If you are a competent legal secretary looking for a new challenge, please send your CV to jo.garrod@everys.co.uk.

Pets and Divorce – Who keeps the family pet?

Pets and Divorce – Who keeps the family pet?

One of the most often asked questions in a divorce is who is going to keep the family pet, be it the family dog or other much loved family pet.   Sometimes it is obvious that one party wants to keep the pet and the other party does not, in that case it is very straight forward.  What happens however if both parties want to keep the pet themselves?

Ideally both parties should try and reach an agreement, perhaps even a shared care arrangement for the pet. Perhaps if the parties have children, then the pet stays with the children and whoever they are with?

But what happens if the parties simply cannot reach an agreement, what does the court do then? The court can only determine who owns the pet not what the arrangements should be.  The pet is considered a “chattel” of the marriage along with items of furniture etc. The court might simply look at who bought the pet, in whose name the pet is registered with at the vets or whose name is on the ID chip? That is unfortunately the sad reality of how the court views the much loved family pet.

Whilst the court can determine ownership and therefore who gets to keep the pet, the reality is that this is a very expensive way to resolve a dispute. However much you love your pet, and no price can be put on that, your solicitor will encourage you to reach an agreement and not incur costs arguing over chattels, which is unfortunately how your pet is seen by the court.  You would probably not spend money arguing about who keeps the sofa or the cooker and as can be seen the court would treat the pet in the same way.

It is always better to agree on all matters, such as the arrangements for the children, the financial settlement and the arrangements for your pet rather than fighting matters through the courts. The more money that is spent on fighting, the less money there may be at the end of the matter for you.

Once you have agreed the financial settlement and the arrangements for your pet, it is essential that a formal agreement is entered into to ensure that the arrangements are legally binding. It is a common misconception that a Decree Absolute ends everything, but it simply ends the marriage.  To dismiss the financial claims that have arisen as a result of the marriage a financial order is required otherwise those financial claims remain open.

For more information, or some preliminary confidential advice contact a member of our Family Team from your local office.

Appointment of Anne-Marie Hamer increases range of services offered by Family Law team

Appointment of Anne-Marie Hamer increases range of services offered by Family Law team

Family Law team to offer Surrogacy and Fertility Law services

Everys Solicitors is pleased to welcome Solicitor Anne-Marie Hamer to its Family Law team. A highly experienced lawyer, Anne-Marie is skilled in all aspects of matrimonial law, disputes, financial resolution and Private Children Act. In addition, Anne-Marie has particular expertise in Surrogacy and Fertility law.

Based in the Taunton office, Anne-Marie will provide her services throughout East Devon, Dorset and the local areas in and around Taunton.

With over 10 years’ post-qualified experience, Anne-Marie is an Advanced Family Law Panel member and is also an accredited Collaborative lawyer. Prior to joining Everys, Anne-Marie was head-hunted by Michelmores to help grow their team.

Commenting on the appointment, Gail Salway, Head of the Family Law team, said: “Anne-Marie is one of only a handful of lawyers, nationwide, specialising in this frequently complex but interesting area of law. Increasingly, we are seeing heartbreaking issues surrounding surrogacy and fertility which necessitated the need to offer a specialist service. Anne-Marie is a dedicated lawyer who is passionate about her practice. She brings with her enthusiasm as well as compassion, and the ability to empathise with her clients. We are fortunate to have Anne-Marie as a member of our team and we wish her a successful career at Everys.”

In recent years, the popularity of surrogacy has risen as couples and single people have become more aware of this option as an alternative to IVF and adoption. The legalisation of same-sex marriages has opened the market for surrogacy further, with same-sex couples wanting biological children of their own. The legalities involved in this area of law make it imperative that expert legal advice is sought.

Contact Anne-Marie

Photo: Bottom left to right – Anne-Marie Hamer and Emma Benyon-Tinker. Top left to right – Gail Salway and Kris Seed

Can the Court override your Will?

Can the Court override your Will?

This year, the High Court considered the case of Thompson v Thompson [2018] EWHC 1338 (Ch), a case involving a son who claimed he was promised all his life by his parents that he would inherit the family farm on their death.

The Claimant was one of five siblings but his parent’s only son. He claimed that he had dedicated his life to working and living on the farm on the back of promises from his parents that he would inherit it all when they died. As such, he claimed he had acted to his detriment, giving up the possibility of having any independence – something which his sisters had gained – accepting low wages, not pursuing qualifications or purchasing his own property.

The Claimant’s mother survived her husband, denied making such promises and wished to distribute the farm amongst all of the children. The son claimed he should receive the entire farm.

The Court found in favour of the son. It accepted that (1) the farm had been promised to him, (2) that he had reasonably relied on that promise, (3) that he had acted to his detriment because of it and (4) that it would be unconscionable to deny him the farm – a principle known as ‘Proprietary Estoppel’. To remedy this, the Court ordered that the son would receive the farm on his mother’s death.

The ruling overrides any Will made by his mother and also overrides the default intestacy rules (the rules applied if a person dies without a making a valid Will) that would have seen her estate divided equally between the five children.

This decision emphasises the importance of estate planning and the need to consider how you would like your assets divided on your death.

If you have any queries about estate planning or require advice, contact your local Everys office.

New Year Brings New Promotions

New Year Brings New Promotions

Everys Solicitors is pleased to announce three new associate promotions effective as of 1st January, 2019. Emma Gray, Emma Benyon-Tinker and Kris Seed have all received their promotions as recognition of their dedication to the firm and their hard work.

Emma Gray, a solicitor in the Private Client team based in Honiton, has been with Everys since 2017.  She is Regional Co-ordinator of the Devon & Cornwall Group of Solicitors for the Elderly and invests substantial time in ensuring that individuals are encouraged to seek professional advice from qualified solicitors who are happy to work with other experts, such as accountants and financial advisers for the better good of their clients. Emma is a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners, Solicitors for the Elderly and the Private Client section of the Law Society. Emma’s work encompasses the full spectrum of Private Client services with a particular emphasis on elderly and vulnerable adults, such as individuals with terminal illnesses and young adults with disabilities.

Emma Benyon-Tinker is an experienced Family Law solicitor who has practised family law exclusively for 20 years.  Emma, who has recently moved to the Honiton office, has been with Everys since 2016 and specialises in resolving all family disputes, including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, financial issues, cohabitation disputes, pre-nuptial agreements, domestic abuse and all children’s issues.  Emma is a trained collaborative lawyer, mediator and Resolution Accredited Specialist whose focus is always on minimising the damage caused by relationship breakdowns and on the protection of children.

Kris Seed has been with the firm since 2016 and is a member of our Family Law team working out of the Exeter office. She has over 25 years’ experience advising on all matters relating to divorce and the consequential financial separation (including advising family businesses and farm owners on the protection of assets from the impact of relationship breakdown), co-habitee disputes including pre and post nuptial agreements, and claims under the Trusts of land and Appointment of Trustees Act.

She also specialises in all matters relating to children. Kris is a founder member of the Exeter family Court Clinic which assists litigants who attend court without representation – an organisation approved and supported by members of the judiciary.

Commenting on the promotions, James Griffin, Managing Partner, said: “We have a culture of recognising and promoting talent within the ranks, and both Emmas and Kris have shown a level of professionalism and commitment, coupled with their commitment to go above and beyond what is expected of them, which makes their promotions fully deserved. We are delighted to have such dedicated lawyers as members of the Everys family and we congratulate them on their promotions.”

Keeping kids first helps minimise fallout from family breakdown

Keeping kids first helps minimise fallout from family breakdown

Everys is campaigning for a change in the law to reduce the fallout from divorce on children, after figures released today revealed the impact of conflict between separating parents.

In a new poll, 79% of the population agreed conflict from divorce or separation can affect negatively children’s mental health, a figure rising to 87% among those who experienced their parents’ divorce as children. 77% said conflict could affect children’s academic performance and a further two-thirds felt social interactions and the ability to form healthy romantic relationships were also jeopardised.

We made the calls as part of a national Good Divorce Week that is being led by Resolution, who campaign for a fairer family justice system and commissioned the new YouGov poll.

Good Divorce Week aims to provide practical help, highlighting ways for separating parents to put their children’s needs first, as well as calling on government to urgently remove blame from the divorce process.

As 200,000 people divorce each year in England and Wales, an overwhelming 79% of the public support measures that would remove blame from the divorce process, with 71% believing change is urgently needed to reduce the negative impact on children.

While most parents we work with want to keep a child’s best interest at the forefront, the current fault-based divorce system can make this a challenge.

Our Family Team said:

“Each day we work with separating parents to help them resolve their own issues in a way that provides a fair outcome to everyone in the family especially any children. But often, even with the most amicable break up, the requirement to apportion blame for the breakdown of the marriage can create unnecessarily conflict that can threaten the entire process.”

 Resolution has made resources available, both to the public but also local practitioners, to help them campaign to change the system and raise awareness of the long-term impact this conflict can have on children. These are available at www.resolution.org.uk/GoodDivorceWeek

Family Law Services

Home 9 Search query for: protecting-the-family-farm FAMILY LAW SERVICES FAMILY LAW DIVORCE & SEPARATION Request A Call Back Name* Telephone*Post Code* Email* MessageWhere Where did you hear about us?*Please SelectEstate AgentEvent / Club SponsorshipExisting...
Family Law

Family Law

Home 9 Search query for: co-habitation-...-what-are-your-rights FAMILY LAW YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Our team truly understands the extreme difficulties experienced when personal matters don’t work out as planned.  They understand the emotional and financial...
Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

It is not the most romantic topic to discuss when you have just become engaged but you may need to consider whether a Pre-Nuptial agreement is something that you might need to discuss with your fiancé.

It might be a second marriage, or it might be you have inherited, say, the family farm and in the event of a marriage break-down, you wish to retain the farm for your children. In these cases, you might want to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement to set out those assets that would remain yours in the event of a breakdown of the relationship.

A pre-nuptial agreement sets out how a couple’s assets will be divided should they separate or divorce.

Although pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK, they are increasingly being recognised and upheld in the courts provided certain conditions have been met.

These conditions include entering into the pre-nuptial agreement in plenty of time before the wedding. If you are forced to sign a pre-nuptial the night before your wedding, it is unlikely that a court would uphold the agreement!

There should also be full and frank financial disclosure so that both parties are aware of the assets which would be retained by either party.

It is important that both parties take independent and separate legal advice about the agreement. This is particularly important if you are being asked to sign a pre-nuptial agreement as a pre-nuptial agreement can limit a financial settlement that might otherwise have been ordered by a court on a divorce. You could therefore be agreeing to receive less than you might be entitled to.

The court, on a divorce, will consider all the circumstances surrounding the pre-nuptial agreement and the courts will even reduce the amount one spouse is to receive because of the existence of a pre-nuptial agreement even if the court thinks the pre-nuptial cannot be followed exactly.

It is therefore extremely important that legal advice is sought about a pre-nuptial agreement. However, entering into a pre-nuptial agreement makes it clear what your wishes are and the wishes of your fiancé. We would say it is better to have one than not.

For more information, or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact a member of our Family Team, or your local office.

 

Property

Property

Home 9 Search query for: co-habitation-...-what-are-your-rights PROPERTY YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Buying a house is probably the biggest financial investment of your life. Whether you stay there for a few years or forever, it is going to be your home. You do not want...
FAQ’s Family Breakdown

FAQ’s Family Breakdown

1. How long does it take?

Currently, the court is taking approximately 12 months to process a divorce from start to finish.  It is the same process whether you divorce on the grounds of adultery, or on the grounds of 2 years separation to which your spouse consents.  There is no such thing as a quickie divorce often referred to in the newspapers.  There is also no such thing as an automatic divorce after a period of separation.

2. How much will it cost?

Currently the court fee is £550 to issue a divorce petition.  Solicitor’s fees are usually in the region of £500 to £750 plus vat depending on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.  It is possible to ask that your spouse pays your costs if you are divorcing on the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  Or you can agree to share costs.

Usually when someone refers to their divorce being expensive, they mean the costs associated with the financial settlement.

3. I am divorced, so I don’t need a financial agreement?

A divorce simply ends a marriage it does not dismiss the financial claims which have arisen as a result of the marriage.  These need to be separately dealt with by way of a financial order being made.  This could be a clean break order, or a substantial order.  If you do not obtain a financial order, then your former spouse could make a financial claim against you at a later date!

4. Do I have to go to court or speak in court?

A divorce is usually a paper based process and there is no need for you to attend court.  If a financial order is also made by agreement, then no court hearing is usually required.  You would only have to attend court if there was a dispute between you and your spouse about either the financial order or the arrangements for the children.  You would only have to speak in court at a final hearing if you were required to give evidence.

5. Do the children have to go to court?

Children do not attend court. They are not involved in a divorce or associated financial proceedings.  If there are proceedings related to the children, they may be spoken to by a CAFCASS officer, but would not attend court, or speak in court.

6. Will I have to see my spouse in court?

Both you and your spouse are normally present in court.  However if you are both legally represented then you would not need to speak.  If there are any particular safety issues, the court can be arranged so that although you may be in the same room as your spouse you cannot see them.

7. I am a common law spouse, what rights do I have?

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a common law spouse.  You are either married or not.  If you are not married then there are currently no laws in place in England and Wales which set out what you might be entitled to.  It would depend on whether you could prove you had a legal interest in the house you lived in with your partner as to whether you could make a claim.  You are not entitled to any of your partner’s assets such as their pensions or savings.

For more information, or some preliminary confidential advice contact a member of our Family Team from your local office.

Moira Reynolds

Moira Reynolds

Moira Reynolds is a Partner and Head of the Family Department and is available to see clients at all our offices.

Moira is a pragmatic and tenacious lawyer who has been recognised in the Legal 500. She advises on all aspects of relationship breakdown; whether that relates to a marriage, civil partnership or cohabiting couples, and includes financial settlements, child contact and abuse within a relationship. She also advises those considering a future with their partner on cohabitation agreements and pre and post-nuptial agreements.

Moira is a technically excellent lawyer and has particular expertise in dealing with complex and/or high net worth financial matters which have a business or pension element. She advises clients who have built up considerable NHS/Forces/Police Service pensions, and those who have worked in industry for many years. She focuses on the strategic elements of the case with a determined emphasis on an effective resolution.

Moira prides herself on listening to her clients and fully understanding their position. Having worked in Family Law since 2000, and qualifying as a solicitor in 2005, Moira has developed a vast knowledge base and an ability to empathise with her clients. Knowing that trust is a vital ingredient in the client/lawyer relationship, Moira ensures that she develops a strong connection with her clients, helping them to feel in control and able to make informed decisions that are right for them.

Providing constructive support and expert advice, Moira strongly believes that, where possible, separating couples should try and resolve the issues between themselves as amicably as possible, particularly where there are children involved.

In her spare time, Moira enjoys all things music related: concerts, festivals and shows, and spending time with her family and dogs.

Moira is a member of Resolution, the national organisation for Family Lawyers.

Notable Assignments:

  • Moira represented a father in a parental alienation matter where all contact had been stopped. She restored overnight and holiday contact with a Contact Order.
  • Moira represented a wife in financial relief proceedings where the husband had failed to disclose full financial details. She secured 70% of the equity in the former matrimonial home, a share of the pension and Wasted Costs Order.
  • Moira represented a wife who had been subject to threats of harm. She secured a two-year Non-Molestation Order.
  • Moira represented a husband in financial relief proceedings where the wife had a significant income and pension provision. She secured property from a property portfolio, capitalised maintenance payments and a share of the pension.

Please call Moira on either:
Exeter 01392 848925  or  Taunton 01823 362892 

 

 

Farming & Rural Business

Farming & Rural Business

Home 9 Search query for: co-habitation-...-what-are-your-rights FARMING & RURAL BUSINESS YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Sometimes the only way rural businesses can stay in business is to constantly look for ways to develop and that often means expansion and...
Succession Planning

Succession Planning

Home 9 Search query for: protecting the family farm SUCCESSION PLANNING YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS There is more to succession than just handing over the reins to the next generation in a family business or farm. Succession requires planning and commitment and should...
Family Finance

Family Finance

Family LawFamily Finance One of the major concerns of divorce, or the ending of a civil partnership, is working out how best to divide the assets. The rules governing family finances are complex but from the outset both parties must fully disclose all assets, income...
Cohabitation Rights

Cohabitation Rights

Cohabitation Rights Posted on 7th April, 2021 By Moira Reynolds Cohabitation is a term used to describe two people who are in a relationship with each other and are living together but who are not married. There is no such thing as a ‘common law...
Can an estate be diverted to someone else?

Can an estate be diverted to someone else?

Can an estate be diverted to someone else? Posted on 6th July, 2020 By Read time: about 8 – 10 mins A wife (W) has died, leaving her entire estate of £700,000 to her husband (H), which includes the family home and a rental property from which she received an...
Family Finance

Family Law

PROPERTY YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Morbi egestas nibh sit amet libero vehicula, eu interdum dui vulputate. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Maecenas semper metus...
What is a parental order?

What is a parental order?

To begin with, it is important to point out that a parental order is not about access to surrogacy.  The granting of a parental order affects the transfer of parental responsibility and legal parenthood to the commissioning/intended parent of a child born out of a surrogacy arrangement.  The granting of the parental order extinguishes the status of the surrogate mother (and her husband or civil partner, where appropriate).  By the making of a parental order, the intended parents are treated as though the child was born to them in first instance.

The parental order is only sought after the child is born and the intended parents are expected to make an application within six months of the birth of the child.  Prior to the case of Re Z (A Child) (No.2) [2016] EWHC 1191 Fam, single adults faced some difficulty in obtaining a parental order under section 54(1) and (2) of the Human Fertilisations and Embryology Act 2008.  The importance of Re Z is significant for single adults wishing to use the surrogacy process to build a family.  The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, declared in this case that certain provisions of one of the two principal statutes governing the area were incompatible with a father and child’s rights pursuant to the European Convention of Human Rights.

This ruling has changed the landscape to the granting of parental order, because the courts are now prepared to consider the making of such orders for single adults.  Prior to this case, a single adult wishing to have a family was reliant on the process of adoption under the Adoption Act 1926.

As it stands, practitioners are eagerly awaiting the proposed amendments to statute and following the Law Commission’s consultation.

For single adults considering surrogacy as a way forward for them, it is vitally important to obtain legal advice from a family law specialist. For more information, or a preliminary, confidential discussion contact our Fertility expert Anne-Marie Hamer.

Crystal ball gazing when making a will

Crystal ball gazing when making a will

Crystal ball gazing when making a will Posted on 11th December, 2019 By Charlotte Thomas-Collins It is always difficult to decide how best to divide one’s estate between loved ones when making a will. There is no concrete way of knowing what your assets will be when...
Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca joined Everys as an Associate solicitor in August 2021 and has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She is a committed member of Resolution and has previously served on the Devon Resolution Committee.

Rebecca specialises in the financial aspects of separation and divorce as well as the issues arising out of relationship breakdown between non-married and same-sex partners. Rebecca also increasingly advises clients at the outset of relationships in the preparation of living together or pre-marital agreements. She is experienced in handling cases involving complex assets including businesses, trusts, and pensions. Clients include business owners, members of the Armed Forces, and other emergency services, as well as other professionals. Earlier in her career, Rebecca advised Armed Forces personnel on base and therefore has a detailed knowledge of Armed Forces pensions and the issues facing separating service families.

While Rebecca is committed to resolving cases by agreement, she is a confident and experienced litigator and is comfortable advising and assisting clients through the court process.

Rebecca believes in providing clients with full information and a range of options at the outset to enable them to make informed decisions. She is used to working closely with colleagues in other departments as well as other professionals, including accountants and pensions experts, to provide clients with composite advice.

Separation – Your Questions Answered

Separation – Your Questions Answered

Who should pay for what in the immediate aftermath of a break up?

There are no rules as to who should pay for what in the immediate aftermath of a break up. Initially it is usually best to continue as you were whilst you are sorting out the new arrangements.

If one party has moved into new accommodation, then the joint income which was paying for one household and all bills, now needs to pay for two households and all bills. It will be a financial calculation in each case as to who can afford to pay for what. If one party is the higher earner, and they have moved out of the family home, they may well be expected to continue to make a substantial contribution to the running of the former family home.

Any extras such as gym membership should be made by the party that it will benefit.

In the longer term an agreement will be reached as to whether one party needs to pay spousal or child maintenance to the other.

What is financial disclosure and what information am and I my partner expected to share?

Financial disclosure is information about all capital, liabilities, income, expenditure and pension provision that a spouse may have.

Both spouses are required to provide this information to each other and to provide documentary evidence in support.

The purpose of disclosure is so that both parties are aware of the true financial picture of the marriage and both parties can then negotiate a fair settlement based on what is available for division between them.

The situation is slightly different if you are cohabiting. Then you need to discuss the assets and liabilities which are in your joint names.

How can a solicitor help to decide what is a fair settlement?

Once full financial disclosure has been exchanged it is not as straightforward as working out what there is and dividing it equally between you as you may have different needs and resources and lots of factors need to be weighed in the balance.

The welfare of any children you have will take priority and the following factors are also considered by the court and guide our advice on parameters for settlement:

  • The length of the marriage: the longer the marriage the stronger the likelihood that the assets will be divided equally
  • Your ages: needs will correspond with the stage in life of each of you
  • The reasonable needs of each of you: this is loosely based on the standard of living you enjoyed during the marriage although it is important to remember that when the money is divided between two households it will not go as far
  • The resources of each of you: this includes not only the assets, pension and income you have now but also your earning capacity (which may not be maximised currently) as well as mortgage capacity
  • Contributions made by either of you: A significant contribution to the marital assets made by one of you (for example, property brought into the marriage or an inheritance/gift received at any time during the marriage) – this will be more likely to be ring-fenced if it has been kept completely separate or the marriage was short.
  • Any health issues
  • Any pre/post nuptial agreement you entered into
  • Benefits which either of you could lose as a result of the divorce (such as widow(er)’s pension benefits)

Taking into account all the factors, a solicitor can then advise on what might be a fair settlement in your particular circumstances. It should be a settlement that meets the needs of all parties, particularly the needs of the children.

Again the situation is different if you were cohabiting. In that case, none of the above factors would matter. It would be a case of who owns what and whether each of the parties have an interest in the assets.

Who decides what level of maintenance estranged partners must pay?

There is a calculation which sets out what level of child maintenance should be paid which is based on income of the party paying. There is a helpful calculator on the Gov.uk website which does the calculation for you. This would apply whether you were married or cohabiting.

Spousal maintenance will depend on the needs and resources of the parties. If one party has been a stay at home parent, then it is likely that spousal maintenance will be paid by the other party. Spousal maintenance can be for a limited term, or it can be for an unlimited term. There is no set calculation, unlike for child maintenance.

How are pensions divided on divorce?

Pensions are just part of the matrimonial pot which are to be divided on a divorce. There are various ways in which pensions can be included in a settlement:

  • Pension Offsetting – this is where one party elects to receive more capital rather than a share of the other’s party pension.
  • Pension Sharing Order – this is where the pension pot is divided between the parties in the agreed shares. The party who is receiving the pension sharing order will elect their own pension to have their share paid into, and then each party has their own pension. This therefore results in their being two separate pension schemes which are not related to the other.
  • Pension Attachment Order – this is not a very popular as it means that the party keeps their pension, and on their retirement, the pension company will pay an agreed percentage each month to the former spouse. The problem is that if the person with the pension should die, then the former spouse does not receive anything.

It should also be noted that if the value of the pension pots are “shared” equally it does not mean that each party will receive the same income. Income is calculated by a pension actuary, and generally the same pension pot will lead to a smaller income for a woman than it would for a man. If parties are trying to achieve an equal income in retirement, then an actuary will need to produce a calculation to state what percentage one party might need to receive.

Who keeps the house?

Who keeps the house is just one of the factors to be considered when determining what is a fair settlement in a divorce based on all the other factors that must be considered, as set out above. It cannot be considered in isolation without reference to the other assets, liabilities and pensions that the couple may have.  The key issue to determine whether the house is kept by one party, or sold is usually the needs of the children. However keeping the house must also be financially affordable. It is often common that the sale of the house is postponed until the children have finished school or until the spouse remaining in the home remarries or cohabits. At that point the house would be sold and the equity divided.

If you are cohabiting, then it would depend on who owns the house. If the house is in one of the party’s sole name, then they will retain the house. If the house is in joint names, an agreement would need to be reached as to who will buy the other’s interest in the house or whether the house is sold and the proceeds split.

For more information, or some preliminary confidential advice contact a member of our Family Team from your local office.

Making a Will as New Parent

Making a Will as New Parent

I made my first Will eight years ago, when times were simpler. My only concern was who would receive my David Campese-signed World Cup Final program and Fender Telecaster. Since then I have married, own a property with my wife and have two young children. There are now three people more important than anything else. More important than a Fender.

I want to ensure that if anything should happen that my wife and children are provided for and protected. However, if an individual dies without leaving a Will the Intestacy Rules apply. These are far from ideal in many cases.

Under the Intestacy Rules, if you die leaving a spouse and children, the surviving spouse will receive the first £250,000 from your estate outright, with an additional sum of half of the remainder. The other half is left upon trust for your children to inherit at the age of 18. Meanwhile, if you are unmarried at the time of death, the intestacy rules do not provide anything at all for the surviving partner, and the entire estate would pass to your children.

In the event that both spouses die, their estates would pass entirely to their children, but again to inherit at the age of 18. I, for one, would not have been in a position to handle a significant inheritance at this age, particularly following a potentially traumatic event. Furthermore, the intestacy rules do not automatically appoint guardians for children where both parents die. This can result in messy inter-family litigation, and the children may ultimately end up in the care of individuals you would not have chosen.

When parents of young children ask for my advice regarding their Wills, there are three things I ask them to consider. First, is the appointment of guardians. Many will wish to appoint siblings or parents, though you can appoint anyone to act in this position. It is also worth ensuring that the Executors and Trustees of your estate have the power to release funds to assist with the financial burden of acting as guardian.

The next will be the appointment of Executors and Trustees. These are the individuals who administer the estate and control the funds until such time as your children ultimately inherit. Though these can be the same people as the guardians, it is worth considering independent individuals, to ensure there is some neutrality in the management of the funds.

Finally, there is the age at which the children are to inherit. You can impose a specific age, such as 21 or 25. However, I often advise parents to consider the flexibility provided by a Discretionary Trust. Under a Discretionary Trust your trustees will have the discretion to decide as and when the beneficiary is to receive part of their inheritance. For example, part may be used at the age of 18 for University fees, part towards the purchase of a house at 23, and the entire amount at a time when they are more financially responsible. The trustees may also make a loan to the beneficiary for the purchase of a property, to help protect the inheritance from divorce or bankruptcy.

I am aware that becoming a parent is a life changing and financially demanding experience. However, a properly drafted Will is something else to add to the list of travel systems, stair gates, sleep suits, moses baskets and baby monitors.

If you are an expectant parent (or grandparent) and wish to discuss this further then please contact myself, Will Vine, or a member of our team from your local Everys office.

 

The Future of Farming & Rural Business

The Future of Farming & Rural Business

Rural economies throughout Europe, not just the UK, have been neglected politically for years, and the people living and working in them are angry and upset for having been ignored. From Brexit in the UK, the “Gilets Jaunes” movement in France and the Five Star government in Italy, to the growing tensions in Spain, Austria, Germany and Eastern Europe, the status quo has been rejected.

From the UK perspective, there will be change. That much is clear from the Agriculture Bill, Environment Bill and the Stacey Report, which sets out the direction of travel the government has in mind over the years to come.

It’s up to us, collectively, to fight these inequities (and many more besides) and force the government to listen and act. Everys created a series of podcasts with farmers, rural businesses, scientists and others, so that we can all learn more about each other’s businesses, share ideas and support what we all demand.

Making these podcasts has been both fun and informative. Everys is also supporting the Sustainable Food Trust where it can, particularly in its campaign to halt the decline of small, low throughput abattoirs. Its reports make the case for changes to farming that, by and large, we all support. The link to their website is set out below.

There are six podcasts for you to listen to:

  • Sally and Roger Maynard farm near Exeter. They describe how they diversified their farming operations over the years into, amongst other things, the outdoor toy business, and discuss the important business principles that they consider key to success.
  • John Coles describes how he diversified into the meat trade, establishing a low throughput abattoir on his farm. There were 200 when he started 40 years ago; only four remain. The rapid decline in the number of small abattoirs is putting the niche, high-quality livestock producer out of business.
  • Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay started a charcuterie business just over four years ago in Steve’s garage. They now have an industrial unit full of equipment required to cure, using “only salt and natural Exe and Clyst Valley air”.
  • Andrew Parr is the fifth generation to run the family’s oak bark tannery business in East Devon – the last oak bark tannery in the whole country. At the beginning of the last century, Devon had 160 such tanneries. Andrew supplies top quality leather to the Northampton shoe industry, saddlers and the French and Italian fashion houses.
  • Professor Michael Lee runs Rothamsted Research at North Wyke near Okehampton and he cogently sets out the scientific case for both keeping red meat as part of our diet – although less of it – and for drinking more milk. Indeed, he believes that the decline in milk consumption is already having profound effects on our health.
  • Catherine Broomfield writes for the farming and national press about countryside matters and argues that the Agriculture Bill will only work if every element of it is implemented.

Sustainable Food Trust – https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/

Co-habitation … What Are Your Rights?

Co-habitation … What Are Your Rights?

The biggest misconception most couples have is surrounding the rights that they may have against their partner if they are cohabiting and are not married.

A recent survey carried out by National Centre for Social Research, released in January 2019, confirmed that “almost half of people in England and Wales mistakenly believe that unmarried couples who live together have a common law marriage and enjoy the same rights as couples that are legally married.

“The first findings from this year’s British Social Attitudes Survey reveal that 46% of us are under the wrong impression that cohabiting couples form a common law marriage – a figure that remains largely unchanged over the last fourteen years (47% in 2005) despite a significant increase in the number of cohabiting couples. In contrast, only 41% of respondents rightly say cohabiting couples are not in a common law marriage.

“Responses to the question show that people are significantly more likely to believe in common law marriage when children come into the equation; 55% of households with children think that common law marriage exists; only 41% of households without any children do so.”

This is simply not true: if you are not married, then you are not in a common law marriage and you do not have the same rights as those couples who are married.

So what happens if you are not married?  Currently, in  England and Wales there are no laws in place setting out what rights/claims cohabitees have against their partner if they separate (this is different in Scotland).  It does not matter how long you have been together, or how many children you may have together, the basic point is that you have no automatic rights to make a claim against your partner.  This is often a surprise to people when they come and see us, expecting us to advise them that their partner has a duty to provide them with financial support following the breakdown of their relationship (which may be the case if you are married).

The reality is that there is no one law which sets out a cohabitee’s rights.  There are lots of different laws which deal with different issues.

If you are living with your partner in a house, you need to check how you own it.  Do you own it jointly, does your partner own the property outright, or do you own it?   General property laws apply to the ownership of the property.  If you own it jointly, the position is more straightforward.  But what if you live in your partner’s property, can you make a claim?  It depends on whether you have made a financial contribution to the property, which might be a contribution to the purchase price, a contribution to the mortgage payment, or a contribution to any works carried out on the property.  If you have, then you are likely to have an interest in the property.  If you have made no financial contribution to the property, it is unlikely that you would be able to claim a financial interest in the property.

Does it make a difference if you have children together? In short, the answer is no.  As there are no laws in place protecting cohabitees, and strict property law applies, it usually is not a relevant factor that you have children together.  That does not give you a claim against your partner’s property.  It will give you a claim for child maintenance, and you might have a claim under the Children Act to claim some financial support.  This might be in the form of school fees payments, or a lump sum to cover a specific requirement that the child may have.  It can cover a property for a child, but it is important to note that the property does not belong to the child, it remains the property of your former partner, and they only have to provide a property for you and the child to live in until the child reaches their majority.  Therefore it is not the same as a divorce when, for example, a property is transferred to the wife outright.

Is there anything you can do to avoid these issues?  Yes.  At the beginning of the relationship it is advisable to enter into a cohabitation agreement which sets out the expectations of the parties at that stage should the relationship breakdown in the future.  This can be what might happen to the house, whether one party can stay in the house with the children until a specific date or what each party will receive from the net proceeds of sale.  Whilst it can be depressing to think about the end of the relationship at the beginning, it is better to have the discussion then, and not when you are in the middle of the breakdown of the relationship.

For more information, or preliminary, confidential discussion please contact our Family Team.

Article written by Emma Benyon-Tinker, Associate in our Family Team.

Andrew Green

Andrew Green

Andrew Green leads our Company/Commercial team. Having honed his business law skills over many years in London advising public and private companies, he went on to set up his own legal practice in the country.

Andrew has a wealth of experience advising owner-managed businesses and understands the hurdles – not least from running his own business. He is particularly interested in supporting family businesses to survive, grow and hand on to the next generation.

Andrew is also a member of our Farming and Rural Business team. He has many years’ legal experience advising farmers in buying, selling and leasing land, and diversifying into processing, retail and leisure businesses.

Recent Experience

Business:

  • Acquiring the assets of a specialist engineering company in the Home Counties.
  • Selling the shares in an estate and lettings agency company to a FTSE quoted company.
  • Advising on and drafting the documentation for a management buy-out in the construction sector.
  • Assisting the shareholders in various family run companies plan for succession .

Farming and Rural:

  • Advising a client on farming partnership issues, the transfer of the farm and succession planning matters.
  • Acting for a farming client in the grant of an option for residential development on part of the farmland.
  • Assisting with the financing and development of a country house hotel and dealing with related easement and restrictive covenant issues.
  • Acting for a client in a management buyout of a business in the brewing and drinks sector.
Everys Taunton Office Continues Strategic Growth

Everys Taunton Office Continues Strategic Growth

Everys Solicitors has seen demand for services at its Taunton office rise substantially in recent months, resulting in the hiring of four new staff members.

Anne-Marie Hamer has joined as a Solicitor in the Family Law department.  She is one of the few lawyers in the UK with expert knowledge of Surrogacy and Fertility Law, and is recognised in the Legal 500 as “one to watch”.  In addition to Surrogacy and Fertility Law, Anne-Marie offers services relating to all aspects of Family Law.  Anne-Marie joined Everys in October, having previously worked at Michelmores.

Julie Hemming has 18 years’ experience as a Residential Conveyancer and has been a fee earner since 2014.  She has extensive knowledge of the local and surrounding areas, having worked in Wellington for over 20 years.  Julie also joined in October from Broomhead & Saul, and works in our Property department.

Duncan McKenzie is an experienced Corporate Commercial Paralegal, having worked both in private practice and in-house.  Duncan has advised a wide range of multi-jurisdictional public and private corporations on post-merger requirements, drafting and negotiating joint venture agreements and acting in a lead due-diligence role in high value acquisitions.  Duncan is also experienced in drafting and negotiating an extensive range of commercial agreements, as well as managing and updating legal precedents.  Duncan joined Everys in November.

Anastasia Allistone is a Paralegal in the Commercial department.  She studied and qualified as a lawyer in Russia and worked for a Commercial and Intellectual Property law firm prior to coming to the UK. She previously dealt with cases concerning legal protection of trade marks, patents, designs and copyright in Russia and abroad.  Anastasia’s work at Everys includes all matters relating to Commercial and Business law transactions, specialising in Intellectual Property law.  Anastasia joined in October.

Will Vine, Partner and Head of the Taunton office said: “Since opening our office in 2014, we have seen a year-on-year increase in the need for our services and this continues to gather pace.  The appointments of Anne-Marie, Julie, Duncan and Anastasia reflect our strategy for organic growth, and our ongoing investment in the recruitment of quality lawyers ensures that we have the necessary capacity to manage this increase whilst providing an excellent service which is both professional and personal.”

Everys’ Taunton office is located at Hankridge Way and offers services in Private Client matters, Residential and Commercial property, Company Law, Family Law, Litigation, Business Enterprise, and farming and agriculture.

For further details, contact:

Will Vine, Partner  |  Tel: 01823 337636  |  Email: will.vine@everys.co.uk

Photo (from left to right): Julie Hemming, Anastasia Allistone, Will Vine, Anne-Marie Hamer and Duncan McKenzie.

Honiton and Sidmouth Offices Expand their Service Offering

Honiton and Sidmouth Offices Expand their Service Offering

Everys Solicitors has announced that Emma Benyon-Tinker, Associate Solicitor, has relocated office to Honiton, with one day a week – Wednesdays – spent at the Sidmouth office. Originally based in Exeter, Emma’s services could only be accessed via an appointment system, whereby she would travel from Exeter to either Honiton or Sidmouth specifically for an appointment. Now, people can pop in at any time to get the advice they need.

Emma said: “It had become increasingly obvious that both offices needed to have somebody from the Family team to be based there. The demand for Family services keeps growing and we felt that to deliver the client care that we have become known for meant that we have to be visible and available to the local community. I am delighted to help grow the offices and I’m looking forward to getting to know my new surroundings.”

Emma is a trained collaborative lawyer, a trained mediator and a Resolution Accredited Specialist. She specialises in family disputes, including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, financial issues, cohabitation disputes, pre-nuptial agreements, domestic abuse and all children’s issues.

Emma is available at Honiton from 9am until 5pm, except Wednesdays, and can be reached on 01404 43431; on Wednesdays, she can be reached in Sidmouth on 01395 577983 or emma.benyon-tinker@everys.co.uk.

Family Law

Marina Larner

Marina Larner is a Legal PA/Paralegal in our Family department. She is based in the Exeter office and works for Partner and Head of Department, Moira Reynolds.

Throughout her career, Marina has worked in various departments, including Private Client, Employment, Family, Criminal and Residential Conveyancing, and is a member of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.  Marina has over 15 years’ experience and has a broad knowledge base.

Family law is Marina’s favourite area of law and she thoroughly enjoys working within that department.  Marina is very understanding and sympathetic and is able to listen to clients and deal with their queries and assist them through very stressful situations.

 

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is a matrimonial solicitor, who specialises in divorce, financial settlement and children matters. Lisa also has experience in non-molestation applications, cohabitation agreements and pre and post-nuptial agreements.

Lisa is a member of Resolution and is committed to their Code of Practice which, amongst other things, aims to reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation to effectively settle matters.

Lisa joined Everys in 2020, and prior to this was a matrimonial solicitor at another regional firm. Lisa is based at our Taunton office but is more than happy to travel to other offices to assist clients.

Lisa understands that when clients seek her services they are often going through a very emotional and/or stressful time. Knowing how important it is for her clients to feel trust and to be able to confide in her, Lisa takes the time to build rapport with her clients right from the start.

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys spending time in the countryside with her family (including the dog!). She loves to travel and experience new places.

Notable Assignments:

  • Lisa represented a father in successfully locating his child after the mother moved herself and the child out of the country without warning to the father. Lisa also successfully obtained the father parental responsibility.
  • Lisa represented a wife in matrimonial proceedings to ensure she obtained a significant share of the husband’s high net worth pensions and assets.
  • Lisa represented a husband in what had begun as highly contested and emotional matrimonial proceedings and was able to settle the matter efficiently to ensure the husband sufficiently protected his assets.
  • Lisa represented and supported a mother, who was the victim of a serious violent assault by her child’s father, in securing a no-contact order between the father and the child.

 

 

 

 

Do your old style tax planning Wills need updating in line with changes in the law?

Do your old style tax planning Wills need updating in line with changes in the law?

Up until 9th October 2007, it was common for people to have Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust Wills drawn up as a form of tax planning for the family.

The idea of these wills is that everything up to the inheritance tax threshold on the first to die passes into a Discretionary Trust. The funds in this trust are then held by the Trustees on benefit for the survivor and other beneficiaries such as the deceased’s children and grandchildren. The funds in the Trust usually comprise a half share of the matrimonial home and any sole accounts held by the deceased. Joint accounts will pass automatically over to the survivor.

When the second spouse dies their assets would generally be the remaining half share of the property and their own sole accounts because the other half is still in trust. This should then mean that the second spouse’s estate falls below the inheritance tax threshold thereby saving inheritance tax on their Estate.

From October 2007 the government introduced the transferable nil rate band which meant that where a person leaves their estate to their spouse, then the survivor can benefit from an additional allowance which can be up to double the inheritance tax threshold. Therefore on the first death, the estate should be exempt for inheritance tax purposes because it is passing to a spouse, and then on second death the surviving spouse can have up to £650,000 before any inheritance tax is payable.

In addition there is a Residence Nil Rate band allowance for the family home which from 2020 can allow a married couple (or civil partners) who gift their property to direct descendants (children, step children, adopted children are some that are included) to benefit from an additional allowance of £175,000 each so that a married couple with children could have an Estate up to £1 million before any inheritance tax would be payable.

These changes mean that these type of Wills are not always needed for tax planning purposes. However they can have their own benefits to protect assets for future generations.

Depending on your circumstances it might be that a type of Life interest or a full Discretionary Trust might suit your needs. You may prefer to get rid of the Trust altogether and have simple Wills prepared.

As such the best option would be to speak to one of our specialists who will provide you with the best options for you and your family.

For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice contact a member of our Private Client team in your local office.

Trust Creation & Administration

Trust Creation & Administration

Home 9 Search query for: protecting the family farm TRUST CREATION & ADMINISTRATION YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Trusts have been in existence for over a thousand years. They can provide protection for assets, provide an income for beneficiaries and, in certain...
Christmas Arrangements for Separated Families

Christmas Arrangements for Separated Families

Whilst it may only be September, now is the time to reach an agreement with your former partner about the arrangements for the children at Christmas.

It may well be that you are simply alternating the arrangements from last Christmas but what if you only separated from your partner this year, and this Christmas will be the first one as separated parents?Christmas is a very difficult time when you are a separated parent. So how do you make an arrangement which leads to Christmas still being a special time for the family and in particular the children?

The advice is to sort out the arrangements early so everyone knows what is happening, and December is not any more stressful than it might otherwise be. There are various options open in terms of the arrangements for the children and you should consider amongst other things the following:- whether Christmas Day itself should be divided, would it be better for one of you to have the children in the morning to wake up and open presents with and the other to have the children in the afternoon for Christmas Dinner?

Or you might agree that one parent has the children on Christmas Day and the other parent has them on Boxing Day?

Or you agree that one parent has the children for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the other parent has the children for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?

The point to remember is that generally whatever the arrangements are for this year, the opposite arrangements will take place next year. Therefore if you agree that you should be having Christmas Day this year, and the other parent should have Boxing Day, next year the arrangements would be reversed and you would be having the children on Boxing Day.

If you cannot reach an agreement, the first option is to try and resolve the issue in mediation. If you cannot reach an agreement then a court application would be necessary. This takes time however, and it is not something that can be left until the last week before Christmas.
The advice is therefore to resolve these arrangements sooner rather than later.

For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact our Family Team, or your local office.

Inheritance Tax & Tax Planning

Wills, Tax & TrustsInheritance & Tax Planning   Inheritance Tax Planning Inheritance Tax (IHT) is charged at a rate of 40% upon your death, over and above the available Inheritance Tax nil-rate band. However, this liability may be significantly reduced...
Holley Fitzpatrick

Holley Fitzpatrick

Holley Fitzpatrick is a Legal Assistant in our Family department. She is based in the Taunton office and works for Partner and Head of Department, Moira Reynolds, and Solicitor, Lisa Miller.

Throughout her career, Holley has worked in various departments, including Private Client and Residential Conveyancing, and has gained a broad knowledge base. Holley is, however, particularly well-suited to family law and thoroughly enjoys her role within the team.

Holley is the primary contact for both existing clients and new enquiries. She understands the difficulties our clients are usually going through with their divorce/separation or the issues they may be facing surrounding contact with their child(ren), and she aims to always assist and ease this stressful process through her sympathetic and calm approach, and providing a listening ear at the end of the phone.

Honiton Dementia Matters Conference

Honiton Dementia Matters Conference

Many people, these days, will have some experience of dementia, whether that is via a family member or friend, or even themselves.  It is a devastating disease which, unfortunately, is on the increase.  There are a number of reasons for this, but longer life spans certainly increase the risk of it happening at some stage.

Charities such as BRACE and the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) work tirelessly to make people aware of the disease and its consequences.  In Honiton, BRACE and the Honiton DAA (HDAA) have joined forces in a joint venture to hold a one-day conference called “Dementia Matters”.  BRACE and HDAA have brought together experts from Everys Solicitors, Admiral Nursing, Dementia Research at Exeter University, and from BRACE and HDAA themselves.  Everys will be represented by Emma Gray, Associate Solicitor, who will be discussing Lasting Powers of Attorney, and Joan Pullin, Solicitor, who will discuss how to protect assets through the use of wills and trusts.

“Almost on a daily basis we read something new about dementia; whether that is trying to ward it off through brain training, healthy eating and quality sleep, or exciting developments from new research,” said Emma Gray.  “These are all positive things but, sadly, there’s no guarantee we won’t be affected by it, and many people are touched by dementia.  Sharing knowledge about what to do if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with the condition is what this conference is about because, for all of us, dementia really does matter.”

Joan Pullin said: “Everys is very excited about sponsoring this conference.  Receiving a dementia diagnosis can cause all sorts of anguish and anxiety for an individual and their family, and that’s why it’s vitally important they receive the help and information they need to ensure that they are protected financially.  I’m looking forward to meeting people at the conference and answering any questions they may have.”

The conference will be held on Friday, 3rd May from 10am until 3pm at The Beehive Community Centre in Honiton.  Tickets cost £10, although those with a dementia diagnosis and carers will have free entry to the event.  Any profit from the sale of tickets will be split equally between BRACE and HDAA.  A buffet lunch will be provided and there will be the chance to ask questions and meet others interested in, or affected by, dementia.

To book your place visit – www.alzheimers-brace.org/Event/hontion-dementia-conference

Having Children Later in Life vs Fertility Rates

Having Children Later in Life vs Fertility Rates

With the wonderful news of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a child in the spring it signifies the every-growing trend that couples are choosing to have children later in life.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (2016) show that the conception rates amongst the 30-34 age group increased by 14.16% between 2006 and 2016, whereas the 20-24 age group saw a decrease of 15.7%.  The conception rate for the under 20s dropped by 45.59% but for the over 40s it increased by 10.32% over the same ten-year period.  The fertility rate of women aged 40 and over has now more than trebled since 1981.  The figures show that even between 2015 and 2016, the conception rates fell amongst every age group except for the 35-39 age range which saw an increase of 1.9%.  These results were published on 27th March 2018.

What does this mean for couples choosing to have children much later in life, and what does it also mean for the fertility sector in the UK?

Couples who choose to have children much later in life may well consider all their options first and plan better for the financial cost of bringing up those children.  Couples would benefit from undertaking their research at the earliest opportunity and may even consider the freezing of the woman’s eggs, if necessary.  It is well known that a woman’s fertility declines after the age of 35 so planning is vital.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and regulates all fertility clinics and providers in the UK.  As of March 2017, there were 132 licensed clinics and laboratories in the UK, with the majority providing specialist treatment services covering IVF and embryology.  The largest offerings of clinics in the UK are centred in London and the South East.  If the trends continue as they are, with women choosing to have children much later in life, then we may well see an increase in the number of clinics across the country, together with the number of family lawyers offering fertility and surrogacy advice.

Having spoken to the HFEA, it is clear that there is an ongoing demand for family lawyers to offer the services of fertility and surrogacy.

For more information, or a preliminary, confidential discussion contact our Fertility expert Anne-Marie Hamer. 

Privacy Policy

Home 9 Search query for: fax number Privacy Policy We take your privacy very seriously. Please read this privacy policy carefully as it contains important information on who we are and how and why we collect, store, use and share your personal data. It also...
A New Year review

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Farming & Agriculture

Farming & Agriculture

Home 9 Search query for: a-guide-to-wills ( Page 3 ) FARMING & AGRICULTURE YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Everys’ rural teams in Devon and Somerset understand that legal concerns can get in the way of the smooth-running of your business, so you can rely on us to work...
Why business owners can’t forget about Inheritance Tax

Why business owners can’t forget about Inheritance Tax

  • Do you have properties that you own which are used within a business?
  • Have you considered how your business partners will buy out your share and run your business on your death?
  • Do your company documents state what happens on the death of a business owner?
  • Have you got large cash reserves?

Business owners have so many taxes and rates to think about: income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax, National Insurance contributions, VAT etc. It is not surprising that Inheritance Tax is often the last tax on their minds.  In addition to which, businesses often use land and buildings that are owned by individuals and there can be significant cash reserves on the balance sheet.  All of these factors make it increasingly important for business owners to review the business assets when considering mitigating Inheritance Tax and succession planning.

Business Property Relief (BPR)

BPR is the first relief that comes to mind when contemplating mitigating Inheritance Tax for business owners.  It was originally designed to enable family firms to be left to younger generations when the major shareholder or business owner dies. When you consider the value of businesses, and the fact that Inheritance Tax is levied at 40% over an individual’s nil rate band, maximising BPR becomes a vital consideration for business owners to ensure the survival of the family business.

100% BPR

 People often presume that BPR means that no Inheritance Tax is due on their business when they die, but this is not always the case.  The general rule is that 100% BPR is available for a business, an interest in a business or shares in an unlisted company.  However, it is important to review what your business does and there are important exceptions to this general rule that need to be understood.

50% BPR

 Business owners need to appreciate that some business assets do not qualify for the full BPR relief.  If the deceased owned shares that control more than 50% of the voting rights in a listed company or, more importantly, if land, buildings or machinery were owned by the deceased and used in the deceased’s business, then only 50% BPR is available.  It is therefore essential to check the ownership of property used in a business because if the deceased owned the land or buildings, rather than the company, then only 50% BPR is available and there could be a sizeable Inheritance Tax liability.

No BPR

In addition to the above considerations, BPR may not be available at all in the following circumstances:

  • If the business asset was not owned by the deceased throughout the two years immediately preceding the death;
  • For excepted assets – those assets not used “wholly or mainly” for the purpose of the business;
  • If there are substantial cash balances which are not required for an identifiable future business purpose;
  • If a business mainly deals with securities, stocks or shares, land or buildings or in making or holding investments;
  • If a company is subject to a contract for sale or is being wound up; and
  • Businesses who are not-for-profit organisations.

Professional advice

All business owners should think about succession planning and no-one should take Inheritance Tax reliefs for granted.  We recommend that business owners regularly review their situation with the assistance of professional advisers. If you need legal advice, Everys’ Corporate and Private Client teams can help you.  We work closely together to put the correct paperwork  in place to mitigate Inheritance Tax as far as possible, whilst ensuring that your business can continue to operate after your death.

Gay Cherryson

Gay Cherryson

Gay is an Everys partner and is Head of the Disputes and Claims team. She specialises in a wide variety of claims involving wills, estates and trusts, and acts for family members, beneficiaries, charities, executors and trustees, often in the High Court.

Gay also deals with disputes relating to capacity and applications on the Court of Protection. She helps to resolve issues between attorneys and other money issues between family members where there are allegations of undue influence, fraud or wrongful removal of money.

Gay has been a solicitor since 1995 and has covered a wide variety of disputes in that time. She joined Everys in 2002 from a well respected regional firm. Currently based at our Exeter office, Gay regularly spends time at our other offices, including Taunton and Honiton.

 

Why do I need a Power of Attorney?

Why do I need a Power of Attorney?

Everys solicitors act for a wide range of individuals both in relation to ordinary, enduring and lasting powers of attorney.  The ideal position is to assist individuals in preparing legal documents prior to any diagnosis of dementia.  However, we are often contacted when the family reach a critical point and a dementia diagnosis has been confirmed.

A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that an individual lacks capacity.  Capacity can fluctuate and varies according to the nature of the task being performed or the decision in question.  Capacity is therefore both time and fact specific.  At Everys solicitors, we would usually meet with the individual in question, called “P” by the Courts, and their next of kin.  At that initial meeting we would establish what paperwork is in place and if there are no existing powers of attorney we would discuss whether there is sufficient capacity to prepare lasting powers of attorney in order to ensure that  P can nominate the individual(s) they want to assist them in managing their affairs in the future.

If an individual is found to have the requisite capacity then we would arrange a capacity report, usually from an elderly client psychiatrist, who would then act as witness and certificate provider. If an individual does not have the requisite capacity then it is necessary for the family to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship.  Although this is a more costly procedure both in time and money terms, it means that regardless of whether P has capacity, Everys’ Private Client team can ensure that there is the correct legal document in place to ensure that someone can manage the affairs of an individual living with dementia who is unlikely to be able to continue managing their own affairs.

 

Taunton

Taunton

5 Heron Gate Office Park
Hankridge Way
Taunton
Somerset
TA1 2LR
Tel: 01823 337636

Family Law

Divorce & Separation

Home 9 Search query for: co-habitation-...-what-are-your-rights DIVORCE & SEPARATION YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS All couples, whether married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, invest heavily in their relationships believing they will last a lifetime....
Sidmouth

Sidmouth

104 High Street
Sidmouth
Devon
EX10 8EF

Tel: 01395 577983

Seaton

Seaton

49 Harbour Road
Seaton
Devon
EX12 2LX

Tel: 01297 21105

Honiton

Honiton

46 New Street
Honiton
Devon
EX14 1BY

Tel: 01404 43431

Exmouth

Exmouth

Magnolia House
Church Street
Exmouth
Devon
EX8 1HQ
Tel: 01395 264384

Exeter

Exeter

Hertford House
Southernhay Gardens
Exeter
Devon
EX1 1NP
Tel: 01392 477983

Clare Stanbury

Clare Stanbury

Clare is a Solicitor in the Residential Property team based in Sidmouth. She joined Everys in June 2020 from a Kent firm, relocating to be closer to family in Devon.

Clare advises on all aspects of residential property, including:

  • Sales and purchases for freehold, leasehold, shared ownership, auction and new build properties
  • lease extensions
  • remortgages
  • equity release
  • transfers of equity
  • right to buy
  • help to buy
  • probate conveyancing
  • matrimonial conveyancing
  • first registrations
  • buy-to-let

Clare won an award at a previous firm for client care and is a conscientious lawyer who enjoys assisting clients through the conveyancing process to the reward of a completed transaction.

Clare has acted for a variety of clients, from first-time buyers to buy-to-let investors and property developers and takes pride in offering an efficient and friendly service to all.

Following her move to Devon, Clare is excited to discover the delights of her new local area. Outside of the office, Clare enjoys being beside the seaside, walks in the country, spending time with family and friends, and exploring the world by cruise ship.

Succession Planning

Powers of Attorney

Home 9 Search query for: protecting the family farm POWERS OF ATTORNEY YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Lasting Powers of Attorney – Financial Affairs One of the important things to consider when planning ahead is how financial matters might be dealt with in the event of...
Surrogacy – Case Study

Surrogacy – Case Study

Mike and Marie have been trying to conceive for a number of years with IVF treatments all failing, and now they are looking to have a surrogacy arrangement.

Is this legal in the UK? Maria asks.

Altruistic surrogacy arrangements are the only permitted surrogacy arrangement in the UK; commercial surrogacy is illegal.  Surrogacy agreements, even those drawn up, are not legally binding but may help set out the framework for the future.

Mike wonders where they should start to make enquiries.

A specialist fertility clinic will be able to point them in the right direction; at the same time, consideration must be given to obtaining specialist legal advice.

Will it be costly, asks Mike, as finances are stretched?

In the UK, the surrogate mother is permitted to receive her reasonable expenses and this must be clear from the outset.  The legal costs must also be factored into this, and advice at an early stage is paramount.

Following detailed enquires, Mike and Maria have decided to embark on the surrogacy route using a surrogate in the UK; they obtained specialist legal advice and all the procedures were followed.  On birth, however, the surrogate is refusing to hand over the baby to the intended parents, and Mike and Maria are now distressed with this.

I would expect Mike and Maria to have made urgent contact with their solicitor over the sudden change of plans by their surrogate, and I would expect the Parental Order to be lodged without delay, with a full statement detailing the events.   A Cafcass Officer would then be appointed to explore the issues between the parties and the reasons behind the surrogate’s change of mind.  If the surrogate’s position remains unchanged, then it is likely that the court would list the matter for a Final Hearing to decide on the application made by the intended parents.

Did you know facts:

  1. There are only a small handful of lawyers in the UK practising Fertility and Surrogacy law.
  2. Commercial Surrogacy is illegal in the United Kingdom.
  3. The laws on altruistic surrogacy in the United Kingdom are governed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.
  4. Data on Surrogacy Arrangements in the United Kingdom is very hard to obtain, with no centralised system or storage of that information.
  5. The number of Parental Orders is increasing in the family courts and Cafcass Officers are now receiving tailored training to deal with these applications.
  6. The precise figures on arrangements abroad are unknown, but past and present cases indicate that intended parents from the UK are travelling overseas for surrogacy.
  7. The surrogate is the only legal parent in the surrogacy arrangement until a Parental Order is made.
  8. Prior to 1985 there was no Act to cover the area of Surrogacy.
  9. Around 1,750 babies in the UK are born each year using donated sperm, eggs or embryos.

For more information, or a preliminary, confidential discussion contact our Fertility expert Anne-Marie Hamer. 

Business Disputes

Commercial LawBusiness Disputes   Effective management of commercial disputes is critical to the success of your business. We know the aggravation, time and potential cost they can cause. At Everys, we provide pragmatic commercial advice with an absolute focus on...
Two Newly Qualified Solicitors

Two Newly Qualified Solicitors

Everys Solicitors is pleased to offer its congratulations to Rosie Ridgers and Cameron Evans-Grainger, who have both completed their Period of Recognised Training and qualify as solicitors today, 1st April, 2019.

Rosie joined Everys in 2014 as a secretary in the Family team, moving into a paralegal position in Private Client before commencing her Period of Recognised Training in 2017. She now qualifies into the Private Client team based at Honiton.

“I am incredibly excited to be qualifying as a solicitor,” said Rosie. “It takes a lot of work to get to this stage but I have been so lucky to have the support of Everys behind me and to have the opportunity to learn from such experienced and well respected lawyers. I am really looking forward to my future career as a solicitor.”

Cameron joined Everys in 2016 as a paralegal in the Commercial Property department and has since undertaken his Period of Recognised Training alongside studying for the Legal Practice Course. Cameron qualifies into the Commercial Property team based at Exeter.

Cameron said: “It has been a tough couple of years working and studying, and I have had to make sacrifices but it’s been worth it.  I have enjoyed working at Everys and am grateful for the opportunity I have been given here. I am excited for what the future holds post qualification, and I’m looking forward to building my career with Everys.”

Cameron is based at the Exeter office.

James Griffin, Managing Partner said: “Rosie and Cameron have worked incredibly hard and we are very proud of their achievements. They are excellent lawyers and are an asset not just to their respective teams, but to Everys as a whole. We are pleased they chose Everys for their Period of Recognised Training and we wish them every success in their careers.”

Well done Rosie and Cameron; congratulations from us all.

Rosie Ridgers

Rosie Ridgers

Rosie Ridgers is a solicitor in our Private Client team. She joined the firm in 2014 and worked in the Family and Private Client teams before commencing her Period of Recognised Training in 2017, qualifying in April 2019.

Rosie is now developing her practice in a variety of Private Client areas including wills, probate, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection work.

Rosie studied Law at the University of Gloucestershire and completed the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Bristol.

 

Children FAQ’s

Children FAQ’s

1. What rights do Grandparents have?

Grandparents, currently, do not have any legal rights over their grandchildren. The only people with legal responsibility for a child is their parent, or anyone with the benefit of a court order in their favour, such as a Child Arrangements Order or a Special Guardianship Order.  If the relationship has broken down between the grandparents and the parents of the child the grandparent would need to seek a court order to see their grandchild. The first step is to seek the court’s permission to make the application. The court’s only concern is the welfare of the child and will only make an order if the court believes it is the best interest of the child.

2. I am their parent, surely it’s my right to have my children half of the time?

Although as a parent you have legal responsibility for your child, this does not mean that you have a “right” to have your child with you half of the time. It is for you as parents to agree on what time your child should be spending with each of you. If you cannot agree the arrangements, then a court would make the decision. The court starts from the point that the child has a right to a relationship with both their parents and will then make an order which is in the child’s best interest.

3. I want to take my children abroad on holiday, surely I can do this?

If you have a Child Arrangements Order in your favour confirming your child should live with you, then you can remove your child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales for 28 days each year. If you do not have an order, then you must obtain the consent of the other parent who holds parental responsibility for the child. If they consent (and you should get this in writing) then you can take your children on holiday abroad. If they will not consent to the holiday, then an application to the court is required and the court would decide whether or not you should take your children abroad on holiday. The likelihood is that the court would consent unless you were proposing travelling to a dangerous country or removing the children from school for a lengthy period of time.

4. Can I stop the other parent moving away with my children?

You cannot stop your former spouse/partner moving away. However, if you have what is called parental responsibility for your children, then you have to consent your children moving. If you do not, an application would need to be lodged with the court by the other parent. The court would then have to consider the benefit of the move and consider whether this is in the best interest of the children.  If the move would not impact on the time the children are spending with either parent, the move is likely to be approved.

5. My former partner is not letting me see the children, and is not giving me any information about the children, what can I do?

If you have parental responsibility for the children you are entitled to ask for information about your children from their school or GP direct.  If you and your former partner cannot agree on the arrangements for the children, then you would need to make an application to the court asking for an order for the children to spend time with you. The older the children are, the more impact their views will have on the court-ordered arrangements. A 14-year-old’s views have a greater weight than a 5-year-old’s views. This is because of the child’s level of understanding. The court will then make an order based on the child’s best interests.

6. I have had a letter from social services and there is a meeting, what do I do?

If you have received a letter from social services you must not ignore the letter and you must attend any meeting. It may be a meeting to discuss concerns that have arisen and it may be possible to agree a plan with social services that if followed will mean they will close their file. Or it could be a meeting where social services indicate that they have serious concerns about your children and that they want to take court action to consider removing the children from your care. It is important that whatever letter you receive, you immediately take legal advice so you can understand the consequences of the letter.

7. I work long hours, my partner looks after the children, but social services are involved, why?

Your partner may, unfortunately, not be providing a good enough level of care to the children whilst you are at work. This could be for any reason. Social Services will want to discuss the childcare arrangements with you to see if you are able to share the childcare more; what you can do to help your partner or what other action needs to be taken to look after the children properly. You should engage with the social services.

For more information or some preliminary confidential advice, please contact a member of our Family team on 01392 848925 / 848916.

 

What does a Fertility Clinic do?

What does a Fertility Clinic do?

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority regulates all UK donor conception treatments that take place at licensed clinics.  The clinic must comply with the HFEA’s Code of Practice.

How do clinics operate?

The activities conducted by all licensed clinics are recorded in a register by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and this has been in place since 1st August 1991.

Any child conceived through a clinic, and over the age of 16, can enquire with the HFEA as to whether they were conceived with donated sperm or eggs via the clinic.  The child can also ask the clinic whether anyone they intend to marry, have a civil partnership with, or have an intimate relationship with, is related to them.

The donor conceived child, at the age of 16, can ask for non-identifying information about their donor, such as the donor’s appearance and occupation.  They can also ask for more information, such as the donor’s name and last known address.  However, this information is only available to the donor-conceived child once they are over the age of 18 years.

In 2005, the law on donor anonymity changed, so whether that information will be available depends on the following dates of conception:

  1. For conceptions after 1st April 2006, clinics are only permitted to use the sperm or eggs from an identifiable donor.
  2. For conceptions between 1st April 2005 and 31st March 2006, some donors are identifiable, some are not. As a result of a change in the rules on identification, the records may not reveal the identity.
  3. For conceptions between 1st August 1991 and 31st March 2005, the majority of donors will be anonymous, unless they specified a wish to be identified.

Since 1991, UK law has allowed up to ten families use the same donor, so the donor conceived children may have a number of genetically related siblings.  A child conceived via a donor arrangement can, from the age of 16, consult the register to ascertain how many donor-conceived siblings there are.  Also, from the age of 18, a donor-conceived child can be put in contact with any related siblings, and can request to be put on the Donor Sibling Register.

A donor can find out whether their donation resulted in a birth and they are permitted to ask the sex of the child.  However, they are not permitted to know any further identifying information.

Fertility clinics play an important role in modern day family life.  It is by raising awareness of their use and importance that we can understand more on their operation.

For more information, or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact Anne-Marie Hamer, our Fertility & Surrogacy expert.

Changes to Inheritance Tax for families

Changes to Inheritance Tax for families

From the 6th April 2017 there were changes to the amount a person can own on death before inheritance tax is payable.

Previously an individual could own up to £325,000 before inheritance tax was payable on their assets when they die. Where they gift everything to their spouse and have not made any gifts to others during their lifetime, then on the second spouse’s death their assets can be worth up to £650,000 before inheritance tax is payable. This is called the transferable nil rate band.  Thereafter at present everything above this will be taxed at 40% (except assets that qualify for relief such as business or agricultural property).

From April this year a new residence nil rate band was added to benefit married couples, civil partners and families. In addition to the transferable nil rate band, a person can benefit for more relief from the value of a property that they lived in at some point and is gifted to one or more direct descendants on death. This can be children, step children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for example.

The maximum amount allowable under this legislation will be phased in as follows:

  • £100,000 for 2017 to 2018
  • £125,000 for 2018 to 2019
  • £150,000 for 2019 to 2020
  • £175,000 for 2020 to 2021

So added to the current £650,000, a couple’s Estate could be worth up to £1 million in 2020 before inheritance tax is payable on their Estate.

For those with assets over £1 million, unmarried couples or people not leaving their estate to direct descendants, other tax planning options may be available to them.

To make sure that a family benefit from the greatest tax free advantage provided under the new laws, careful planning is required both in relation to their Wills and lifetime tax planning. We would therefore advise that you speak to Everys to make sure that your affairs are in order. After all, where we leave our Estate to our families, we want to make sure that they receive as much as possible to help their future.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to constitute legal advice.  For legal advice in connection with the above, please contact us directly.

Medical Negligence & Surrogacy

Medical Negligence & Surrogacy

Surrogacy law not only comes into play when intended parents wish to engage in a surrogacy arrangement, it can also be considered when determining the damages claim where there has been a missed diagnosis or a late diagnosis.  In the case of XX v Whittington NHS Trust [2017] EWHC, the claimant sought damages in a civil claim to enable her and her partner to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in California, having harvested some of her eggs before undergoing chemotherapy.

The defendant, Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, admitted negligence in failing to detect signs of cancer from smear tests taken in 2008 and 2012 and biopsies in 2012 and 2013.  As a result of this negligence, the claimant developed invasive cancer of the cervix, for which she required chemo-therapy treatment which led to infertility and severe radiation damage to her bladder, bowel and vagina, preventing the claimant from carrying her own children.  The High Court had to consider a number of aspects in this case under the claim for damages and emotional trauma to the claimant, aged only 29 at the time.  The High Court awarded a total payment of £580,612.52, which incorporated a claim for two surrogacy arrangements in the UK.

The High Court rejected the argument that the claimant should be awarded damages to enter into a commercial surrogacy arrangement that would be unlawful in this jurisdiction.  However, the court did award damages to the claimant to undergo two surrogacy arrangements in the UK, totalling £74,000 and £37,000 each plus VAT for each arrangement.  It appears that the High Court placed emphasis on the fact that commercial surrogacy arrangements are still illegal in the UK and contrary to public policy.

Since that judgement was handed down, the trial judge has granted permission to appeal against the decision to refuse California surrogacy expenses and the cost of surrogacy using donor eggs. In granting that permission to appeal, the judge concluded that there was a public interest in the higher appellate courts examining the question of recover-ability of damages for the cost of commercial surrogacy in a jurisdiction where this activity is lawful.

It will be interesting to see what happens next in terms of any awards for overseas surrogacy arrangements which will attract a much higher award of payment.

The use of a family law expert in this case was vital to identifying costs of surrogacy in the UK and abroad, and is an area in which most negligence lawyers need to be familiar. For more information, or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact Anne-Marie Hamer, our Fertility & Surrogacy expert.

Court of Protection: What does this mean?

Court of Protection: What does this mean?

As a Court of Protection Lawyer, I assist with matters pertaining to individuals who have lost mental capacity to manage their property and financial affairs. As such, I am required to  work closely with the Court of Protection.

The Court of Protection is the specialist court with jurisdiction over the property and financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

However, the Court can also give powers to someone else if there is a need for decisions to be made on an ongoing basis.  If the Court gives these powers to someone else, they are known as a Deputy. If someone wishes to be appointed as a Deputy, an application must be made to the Court for an order appointing them in this capacity.

There are two types of Deputyship Order as follows:-

  1. Property and Affairs Deputy – this allows a named individual to make decisions about property and financial affairs including the sale and purchase of property;
  2. Personal Welfare Deputyship – this allows a named individual to make health and welfare decisions on the person’s behalf such as what medical treatment they are to receive and how they are looked after.

Anyone over the age of eighteen can be appointed as a Deputy.  Deputies are usually close family or friends of the person who needs the help. To become a property and affairs Deputy, you need to have the skills to make financial decisions on the person’s behalf. If the proposed Deputy has in the past been made bankrupt or has previous criminal convictions, the application to the Court is likely to be rejected.

If the application is successful, the Court will grant the Order setting out the Deputy’s specific powers in relation to the person’s property and financial affairs or personal welfare. Once appointed, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will help the Deputy carry out their responsibilities. The Deputy must always act in the person’s best interests and follow the rules of the Mental Capacity Act.

The Deputyship order will continue until the Court order is changed, expires or is cancelled on the death of the person lacking capacity.

For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice speak to a member of our Private Client Team in your local office.

Should I prepare a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

Should I prepare a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

Most people are aware that a Property and Financial Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint Attorneys to make financial decisions on your behalf. Fewer people realise that it is also possible to make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to enable your appointed Attorneys to make decisions about your health and welfare if you lose the mental capacity to decide those things for yourself.

Health and welfare decisions are varied – from where you get your hair cut to life-sustaining medical decisions. None of us knows which decisions may need to be made for us in the future. To ensure that your wishes are continued if you lose your mental capacity, it is key to put a health and welfare LPA in place.

Whilst healthcare professionals and social services would, in most circumstances, consult with a person’s next of kin in respect of these decisions, bear in mind:

  1. the persons they consult may not be the ones you would wish to be consulted; and
  2. although they should act in your best interests, those decision-makers do not know you personally and would not know the type of decisions which you would make.

If there is no health and welfare LPA in place, the risk is that those decision-makers may make choices contrary to your wishes. Your next of kin could object, but there is no obligation to take those objections into account. Your family members may be left feeling unable to provide help at a time when you most need it.

Making a Health and Welfare LPA is almost a form of ‘insurance’, which you hope you will never have to rely on. But if it is ever required, you will have the peace of mind that your Attorneys have been chosen by you, can make decisions about your health and welfare and are able to follow your wishes.

For more information, or some preliminary confidential advice contact a member of our Private Client team from your local office.

Property

PersonalProperty Law Expert guidance on all aspects of property law Buying a property is a very exciting time, whether as a first-time buyer, moving up the ladder, or buying-to-let. It is also likely to be the largest financial investment you will ever make so you...

Current Vacancies

Enjoy a career with EverysApply now Home 9 Search query for: protecting-the-family-farm Current Vacancies Everys has been providing high-quality legal advice to families and businesses across the region for many years. Offering a full range of legal services...
Preparing for your divorce appointment

Preparing for your divorce appointment

Preparing for your divorce appointment Posted on 5th January, 2021 By Lisa Miller Preparing for your divorce appointment – what do I need to bring with me? In order to assist clients with their initial divorce and finance appointments, I thought it useful to list some...
Court of Protection

Court of Protection

Home 9 Search query for: protecting the family farm COURT OF PROTECTION YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS The Court of Protection is the specialist court with jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make...
Emma Gray Visits New Oncology Ward at Honiton Hospital

Emma Gray Visits New Oncology Ward at Honiton Hospital

Emma Gray, a solicitor in our Private Client team, was invited by FORCE Cancer Charity to view the oncology facilities at Honiton Hospital on Friday, 23rd November 2018. Emma and other guests, including Cllr Duncan Sheridan-Shaw, were given a tour by FORCE’s CEO, Meriel Fishwick, of the ward where oncology support is provided, the Complementary Therapies room, and the waiting room which is stocked with fruit supplied by Tescos Honiton.

Thanks to funding from FORCE, chemotherapy treatment is now available in Honiton for the first time, alongside support for anyone in the area affected by cancer. The services are available to cancer patients from across the East of the county every Friday between 9:30am and 3:30pm.

As well as chemotherapy, delivered by experienced nurses from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital’s Cherrybrook chemotherapy unit, FORCE offers free of charge:

  • A drop-in service for advice and information;
  • Counselling; and
  • Complementary therapies.

Exercise advice from a specialist oncology physiotherapist and family support will also be introduced.

Emma Gray said “Seeing the set-up of the unit was emotive as it brought back memories of my husband’s treatment. However, my over-riding feeling was of the amazing difference this unit will make to oncology patients and their families, having the ability to access treatment and support locally.”

  • The benefits to patients include:
  • Treatment closer to home so less travelling time and expense;
  • Easier parking;
  • Quieter location and treatment area;
  • Reduced waiting time for treatment, both in Honiton and Exeter;
  • Experienced oncology staff from the hospital to deliver treatment; and
  • Access to additional FORCE services to support patients and their families.

Not all cancer patients are eligible to receive chemotherapy treatments outside the RD&E’s main acute hospital site at Wonford. Consultants and chemotherapy nurses will discuss with patients and families whether they are suitable for community-based treatment.

Nonetheless, for those who do use the services, it will make a real difference at an emotional stage of their lives.

Contact Us.

Why you should make or review your will

Why you should make or review your will

Why you should make or review your will Posted on 15th May, 2020 By Charlotte Thomas-Collins Many people do not have a will, and others may have one which was made some time ago and has now, more or less, been forgotten or ignored.  Those without a will may think that...
Why Use a Solicitors for the Elderly accredited lawyer?

Why Use a Solicitors for the Elderly accredited lawyer?

Later life presents a set of challenges that, if not dealt with correctly, can have serious consequences not just for the individual concerned but for their family, too.  That’s why it’s essential that the lawyer you instruct to manage your affairs has the highest level of experience, knowledge and skill in dealing with issues affecting the elderly and vulnerable.  Cue Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

SFE is a nationwide association consisting of more than 1,600 highly skilled lawyers who have the expertise in handling elderly care issues with sensitivity, professionalism and efficiency.  With more than 50% of their time dedicated to older clients, SFE lawyers have developed a substantial knowledge base which is continually updated through regular training and events.  They are independently accredited by Skills for Justice, a government body, and follow a strict code of practice to ensure integrity and respect at all times.

SFE lawyers are dedicated to safeguarding their client’s interests and are committed to providing exceptional legal advice at an affordable cost.  They follow an Older Client Care Procedure which sets out what the client can expect of them, so that they are well informed from the outset; and plain English is used at all times ensuring that communication is clear and fully understood.

If you or a relative would benefit from the advice of an SFE accredited lawyer, please look out for the SFE Accreditation badge which will be displayed on the law firm’s website.

James Griffin

James Griffin

A lawyer of exceptional talent and skill, James’ ability to speak in an easy-to-understand manner is a trait which is appreciated by his many clients. James is a highly experienced Commercial Litigator acting for clients in UK court proceedings, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

James enjoys the challenges of complex, multi-jurisdictional business transactions and uses his significant experience to help devise and implement the strategic objectives of his clients.

James’ expertise covers a variety of sectors with an emphasis on investment and property development, including hotels and student accommodation. James provides guidance on the key issues affecting the establishment of business entities in the UK and overseas, as well as non-resident individuals looking to invest in the UK. In addition to these, James regularly advises clients on family business succession, farming and rural issues – an area particularly close to his heart as he owns a small-holding in Somerset.

Court of Protection

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Jane Flaherty

Jane Flaherty

Jane Flaherty is an Associate Solicitor based at our Honiton office. She has over 11 years’ experience in private client and is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). She has further undertaken an advanced STEP certificate in advising vulnerable clients. This is an area of law Jane is particularly interested in.

Jane is an expert in later life matters, having had extensive experience in wills, probate, lasting powers of attorney, care fee advice and court of protection, including the management of someone’s affairs on their behalf.

Jane came to the law after a successful career in social housing where she developed the skills necessary to listen with intent, to speak in language easily understood by her clients, and learned that every family has their own unique needs.

Jane is a member of the Law Society’s Women’s Law Division, and also the Law Society’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC).

Personal

FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS ... Home 9 Search query for: protecting the family farm Disputes & Claims ELDERLY/VULNERABLE & CARE ADVICE FAMILY LAW PERSONAL INJURY Private Client PROPERTY...
Alex Whitmore

Alex Whitmore

Alex Whitmore is a solicitor in our Residential Property team based in Exmouth. He joined Everys as a paralegal in 2017 and embarked on his training contract in 2018. Alex was admitted as a solicitor on 1st April 2020. Alex has a broad experience of residential...

Planning for Later Years

Commercial LawProfessional Negligence Our expert commercial lawyers can advise you When you employ the services of a professional, whether they are a solicitor, an accountant or other professional, you expect the service and advice you receive to be of a certain...
Nigel Isaac

Nigel Isaac

Nigel is a Chartered Legal Executive working in the Private Client department based primarily at our Taunton Office, but will happily travel to our other offices to meet with clients.

Nigel’s main areas of work include wills, lasting powers of attorney, probate, elderly client matters, estate administration, and estate planning.

Prior to working in law, Nigel spent five years in the Royal Artillery and then 12 years as a retained firefighter based in Glastonbury.  It was due to a back injury sustained in a fire that Nigel had to leave the fire service and retrain for another career.

He gained his Law degree from the University of Glamorgan and has worked in Private Client since 2004.

Nigel joined Everys in January 2021, having worked in local firms since qualifying. The most enjoyable part of work for Nigel is building up excellent client relationships and providing a professional, but down to earth, link with clients.

Nigel is a Dementia Champion and has connections to the local Dementia Action Alliance.

In his spare time, Nigel enjoys spending time with his family and dog, Bella. He helps out with his two younger sons in their rugby and football and particularly enjoys watching those sports.

Reasons for Divorce

Reasons for Divorce

It is very painful when a marriage break up occurs, and your first thoughts are not often about whether you need to obtain legal advice, so why might legal advice be required?  There are still many misconceptions about divorce, the process and when there should be a financial settlement.

There is only one ground for a divorce which is the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

To prove the irretrievable breakdown  your divorce must be based on one of the following five facts:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Separation of 2 years, which both parties consent to
  • Separation of 5 years
  • Desertion

You cannot simply say that you have grown apart, or no longer love each other.  Although the government have recently consulted on changing the laws to enable there to be a “no fault” divorce until these laws are changed, to divorce immediately you do need to allege fault.

You must have been married more than one year to even commence divorce proceedings.  If you have not been married for over a year, you might need to consider alternatives such as judicial separation or a separation agreement?

A common misconception is that it is easier to divorce after you have been separated for 2 years.  The reality is that the process (currently) is exactly the same as if you had divorced using either the grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  The same court fee (currently £550) also needs to be paid.

Currently the court is taking approximately 12 months to process a divorce from start to finish.

A divorce only dissolves the marriage; it does not end the financial claims that have arisen as a result of the marriage.  These need to be separately dismissed by the court.  If they are not and perhaps a few weeks after your Decree Absolute is granted you win the lottery, your former spouse could come and make a claim against you.

This is a common mistake, particularly with DIY divorces.  Even if you have no assets now, you may do in the future, and you therefore need to enter into financial agreement resolving the issues now so that no claim can be made against you in the future!

It is particularly important if you do have assets that a financial agreement is entered into at the time of the divorce.  It can be difficult many years later to say exactly which assets were from the marriage and which have been accrued post divorce.

For more information, or preliminary, confidential discussion please contact our Family Team.

Can an estate be diverted to someone else?

Be in control of your estate … make a will!

Be in control of your estate … make a will! Posted on 12th June, 2020 By Jane Flaherty These are unprecedented times, and with difficult times comes difficult conversations. That includes thinking about what we want to happen to our estate when we die. Making a...
Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Home 9 Search query for: You've-made-an-offer PERSONAL INJURY YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS Car crashes and other accidents happen every day, but if you are injured in an accident which isn’t your fault it can turn your world upside down. Accidents can bring...
Rebecca Wilson

Julie Baldey

Julie joined Everys in January 2021 as an Associate working in the Private Client department based at our Honiton Office.  She is a registered Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) and a qualified Accounting Technician (AAT) with NVQs 2-4 in applied accounting, and deals primarily with the administration of estates.

With over 15 years’ experience in Probate, Julie has handled a large variety of assets owned by her clients – trains, planes, horses, boats, and vintage cars, amongst others – and finds this work very interesting and varied. She enjoys interacting with clients and unravelling complex issues.

Julie moved from East Sussex to Devon with her family in 2017 so that they could enjoy their horses.

 

 

 

 

Senior Private Client Lawyer – East Devon/Somerset

The Role

As a consequence of the continuing volume of high-quality work, an opportunity for an experienced fee earner has arisen in our Private Client Department. The role is likely to suit a STEP qualified experienced lawyer who is looking to take on and process an exciting client portfolio.

The successful candidate will be required to provide an important contribution to the work of the Private Client Department and be used to carrying out private client work at a technical level. They will also be required to support the ongoing development of the department’s activities and would be expected to contribute to the growth of client work and fee income.

The candidate will need to work effectively with clients and other members of the Private Client Department. They will also be expected to deal professionally and efficiently with a wide range of work whilst complying with procedures and working practices.

The candidate will need to be able to work confidently with minimal supervision. They may also be required to supervise, support, and mentor more junior members of the team.

Key responsibilities

  • Working with HNW clients
  • Good knowledge of trusts including administration and creation
  • Tax planning expertise including BPR, APR, and foreign aspects
  • Complex probates
  • Advising on and preparing Wills, Codicils, and Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Providing inheritance tax planning and family succession advice
  • Mentoring and supporting junior members of the department

Skills/ Knowledge/ Experience

You must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Experience of successfully working in a Private Client Department undertaking the work above
  • Ability to meet deadlines and prioritise effectively
  • Excellent IT skills including the use of case management software and Excel
  • Ability to produce work that is accurate and presented in a well-ordered manner
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Clear, concise, and effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrate ability to follow procedures in accordance with professional body requirements (for example Lexcel compliance) and firm’s internal procedures, together with meeting all compliance and quality targets
  • Excellent communication and relationship management skills with a focus on developing and maintaining professional and effective client relationships at all levels
  • A flexible approach and the capability to work well and flourish within a team environment
  • Ability to work effectively with other colleagues internally, both within the wider team and across all practice areas and offices
  • A flexible and enthusiastic approach, which demonstrates commercial awareness and business aptitude in making decisions on a day-to-day basis

Location

Everys has a flexible approach and we are interested in applications relating to any of our offices. Although office-based to start with, once the successful candidate is familiar with our working practices, remote working combined with some office time each week is also available.

This is an excellent opportunity to become an integral member of our Private Client Department and to thrive in a professional and friendly environment. If you are looking for a new challenge please send your CV and a covering letter to jo.garrod@everys.co.uk.

Kathy Trist

Kathy Trist

Kathy Trist is Head of Property Litigation. She is based at the Exeter office but travels as and when required to see clients at all of Everys’ West Country offices.

Kathy has dealt with most areas of litigation in her 20 years’ experience.  Her particular area of expertise is in Property Disputes, and she is familiar with concerns that face both owners and occupiers of commercial and residential properties. Kathy frequently advises clients where there are challenges regarding boundaries, rights of way, party walls, nuisance, trespass, and misrepresentation claims.

Kathy enjoys dealing with the more complex commercial contractual disputes and advises clients in resolving complex disputes between shareholders and/or directors.  Particularly interesting are the cases where serious allegations of company/director misfeasance are involved, and it is imperative that the consequential advice and assistance is swift to protect the company.

Kathy also advises on the meaning and implications of the wording in contracts, title documents, leases, and notices, and, in certain circumstances, the validity of the same.

Kathy is an accredited Civil Mediator and utilises this additional skill set when advising and representing her clients.

Kathy qualified as a Legal Executive in 2001 and then as a solicitor in 2004.  She joined Everys in June 2018, having worked locally since qualification.  Kathy is a member of the Property Litigators Association, a member of the Civil Mediation Council, and is also Chair of the Devon and Somerset Law Society Panel of Mediators.

 

Jo Barrett

Jo Barrett

Jo Barrett is a Conveyancing Executive based in the Honiton office who specialises in residential sales and purchases. Jo deals with a lot of probate sales and acts for clients in the sales and purchases of park homes.

Jo joined Everys in 2015 having previously worked in an Exeter firm for almost ten years.

Jo likes to build a good rapport with the local estate agents and aims to make the conveyancing process for the clients as stress-free as possible, maintaining a friendly and approachable manner throughout.

In her spare time Jo likes walking, baking and days out with her family.

The Overhaul of Divorce Proceedings

The Overhaul of Divorce Proceedings

The Overhaul of Divorce Proceedings Posted on 14th July, 2020 By Lisa Miller Divorce proceedings can often be portrayed as being lengthy, costly and contentious. This certainly is not the case for everyone, but, unfortunately, this can be the reality for some. I, for...
Why Use a Solicitors for the Elderly accredited lawyer?

EVERYS SOLICITORS’ EMMA GRAY APPOINTED DEVON & CORNWALL REGIONAL CO-ORDINATOR OF SOLICITORS FOR THE ELDERLY

Solicitor Emma Gray, of Everys Solicitors in Honiton, was appointed as Regional Co-ordinator for the Devon & Cornwall region of “Solicitors for the Elderly” (SFE) in June 2018.

Established in 1996, SFE is a national network of highly skilled lawyers providing legal services and expert advice on Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, tax planning, funding for social care and many other related issues, specifically for the elderly and vulnerable.  Prior to joining SFE, as well as being fully qualified solicitors who spend 50% of their time on older client law, potential members must obtain both the ‘SFE Older Client Care in Practice Award’ and the ‘Older Client Law in Practice Award’.  These develop the soft skills necessary for dealing with elderly and vulnerable clients which includes understanding the issues affecting health and wellbeing in later life, as well as being able to detect elder abuse such as when a client is being coerced.  As a benefit of the membership, SFE ensures its members are kept fully abreast of the latest developments through newsletters, updates, on-going training and events.

As a Regional Co-ordinator, Emma Gray is the main point of contact for Devon and Cornwall and links in with the national group.  Together with the support of the Devon and Cornwall committee, she ensures that information is communicated to the local members through meetings and training sessions provided by experts in the field of elderly client legal services.  As well as being responsible for running the local branch, and being a key contact for legal advice in this area, Emma is a local ambassador for SFE; raising awareness of elderly client issues with local organisations.

Emma said: “I have been a Dementia Friend for a number of years and have, unfortunately, both been a carer for a family member and suffered the heartache of bereavement.  My new role as Devon and Cornwall Regional Co-ordinator gives me the opportunity to continue furthering the legal knowledge and understanding of all the issues surrounding the elderly and vulnerable within our community.”

Everys Solicitors is an independent law firm with recognised expertise in legal issues affecting the elderly and vulnerable.  With Emma’s new appointment, clients can have the confidence that Everys has the specialist knowledge and skills required to handle their case with sensitivity and professionalism.

Contact:
Emma Gray
Tel: 01404 540941
Email: emma.gray@everys.co.uk

The Importance of having a Will – Supermarket Survey

The Importance of having a Will – Supermarket Survey

A large supermarket recently carried out a survey which indicated that 91% of us think about our mortality regularly and a third of us speculate on our own death at least once a week.

But whilst some of us clearly do think about life after death, the majority don’t have a Will. The reluctance to plan for death could leave those you care about most in an exposed position at a time when they are already vulnerable.

Obtaining advice in relation to your Will might not be as expensive as you first think and may even put your mind as ease. Your Will is very likely to be the single most important document to take effect on your death so it is certainly worth giving some thought to it. Your Will can dictate:

  • to whom your estate (i.e. what you own when die after debts and funeral have been paid for) should pass (is it your spouse, partner, your children, a charity or perhaps a mix?);
  • who takes responsibility for any children you may have who are under the age of 18;
  • who should live in your house when you have died or whether it should be sold; and
  • who takes ultimate responsibility for ensuring that what you own when you die passes in accordance with your Will.

If you die without a valid Will in place, the intestacy rules will apply and it is those rules which dictate who inherits your estate, regardless of your wishes. To ensure your assets pass in the way that you wish, the best way to achieve this is to put a valid Will in place. Then all you have to do is to remember to keep it up to date!

For more information, or some preliminary, confidential advice contact Joan Pullin, Solicitor in our Private Client team on 01297 21612 or email joan.pullin@everys.co.uk.