Monthly Archive September 2014

ByMichael Morrison

Wills and Contentious Probate: Have you made a Will?

The importance of making a will to ensure your property is left to those intended is highlighted by this contentious intestacy case.

The carer of a wealthy widow has been vindicated in a High Court battle over her flat and £1.3 million fortune, in a case which involved a genealogist from BBC show Heir Hunters.

Tanya Vasileva looked after her friend, Gertrude Stanley, in the years before her death at the age of 89.

Mrs Stanley, who had fled to London from the Nazis on the eve of the Second World War, believed she had no living relatives after her sister died in a concentration camp.

She promised her flat to Miss Vasileva in return for her years of care. After the widow’s death, in December 2009, she moved in.

But Mrs Stanley had not made a will, and a legal wrangle ensued after Peter Birchwood, a professional genealogist who has appeared on BBC series Heir Hunters, traced two distant cousins of Mrs Stanley.

Heir hunter: Peter Birchwood

Mr Birchwood, acting on behalf of Mrs Stanley’s estate, argued Miss Vasileva was a “trespasser” who should be ousted from the property and made to pay £50,000 for her years of rent-free occupation. But a judge ruled Mrs Stanley had promised the flat to her carer and said Miss Vasileva had “done her best” to look after the widow.

Judge Mark Raeside QC awarded Miss Vasileva £20,000 from the estate and dismissed Mr Birchwood’s financial claim against her. But he also estimated the value of the care provided by Miss Vasileva to be only £70,000, compared with the £160,000 value of the flat, and said she would have to leave by December so it could go back to the estate.

The High Court heard how Mrs Stanley fled Vienna and arrived in London in May 1939, when she was 19. She and her husband, Lawrence, lived together in their Belsize Park flat for 48 years, until his death in 1994. They did not have any children.

Despite her fortune, most of which was discovered in bank accounts and shares after her death, the widow lived a frugal existence and worried she would run out of money, the court heard. In 2002, the court heard, Mrs Stanley met Miss Vasileva at the supermarket where the younger woman worked. Miss Vasileva, who had  moved to the UK from Bulgaria the year before, said they struck up a friendship after she delivered Mrs Stanley’s shopping.

After a stay in hospital in May 2005, Mrs Stanley phoned Miss Vasileva and asked if she could come to collect her. She did not want any professional carers and asked Miss Vasileva if she would help her stay in her own flat.

It was then that Mrs Stanley first said she wanted her friend to have her flat after she died — a promise she repeated many more times, the court heard.

Miss Vasileva looked after Mrs Stanley — including cooking, cleaning and helping her bathe — until she went into a care home in April 2009.

After the case Miss Vasileva said: “We weren’t just friends, we were more  like grandmother and granddaughter, we were very close. She will always be in my heart.”

Original reporting  by the London Evening Standard on the 8/7/14.

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ByMichael Morrison

Employment Law Changes From 1st October 2014

The following employment law changes come into force on 1st October 2014:-
Tribunals to have power to order equal pay audits
Employment Tribunals will be able to order employers to carry out equal pay audits where there has been an equal pay breach.  Employers should note that the legislation includes a requirement that they publish the results of the audit on their website (unless they can show that doing so would result in a breach of a legal obligation) for a period of at least 3 years.
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage rates applying from 1 October:

  • The adult rate for workers aged 21 and over will increase by 19p from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour.
  • The hourly rate for workers aged 18-20 will increase by 10p from £5.03 to £5.13 per hour.
  • The rate for workers aged 16-17 will increase by 7p from £3.72 to £3.79 per hour.
  • The hourly rate for apprentices will increase by 5p from £2.68 to £2.73.

Time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments

This new right will be available to employees and qualifying agency workers.  It applies to the pregnant woman’s husband, civil partner or partner (including same-sex partner), the father or parent of a pregnant woman’s child, and intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet specified conditions.

The entitlement is to unpaid leave for up to two appointments, capped at 6.5 hours per appointment.  Employees will have the right to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal if their employer unreasonably refuses to let them take time off for this purpose.

Employers can offer provision more generous than the statutory entitlement and also decide to make the leave paid, if they wish to do so.

The Government has issued guidance for employers on the new right.  See also our comments on it here.

A similar right for adopters will come into force in April 2015.

Employment Law Changes from 1st October 2014

 

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ByDavid7SB

Relationships, Economic downturn and Recuperation

Relationships, Economic Downturn and Recuperation

The function of relationships in creating social recuperation.

A study has been reported by relate – which is briefly dpresented here.

Recessions and recuperations are features of the economic cycle. Right here we look at the implications of future recessions and recoveries for our relationships, and vice versa. Economic crises and recuperations tend to be primarily understood in slim, financial terms. Yet economic downturns are also social phenomena which influence individuals’s lives in various methods– including their couple, household and social relationships. We refer to this social impact of economic downturn as ‘social economic crisis’. Social economic downturn can be triggered by financial recession, however can also exacerbate and lengthen it, hindering recuperation. In this research report, we analyze the ‘social recession’ in terms of the social repercussions economic recession can have. Specifically, we concentrate on the sustained decline in the quality and stability of couple, family and social relationships.

We took a look at individuals’s experiences throughout the last economic downturn which began in 2008. In order to figure out the extent to which individuals’s experiences of recession corresponded to the quality and strength of their relationships, we examined information from the Understanding Society longitudinal research, which includes 40,000 homes throughout the UK, over the economic crisis duration. We categorised individuals according to their experiences of recession utilizing seven indications, organizing people with similar experiences, and analyzed their relative chances of experiencing deterioration in their relationships.

One could expect economic crises to take a toll on family life and relationships– arguments over cash are known to be a major reason for relationship problems. Sure enough, the findings show that a ‘social economic downturn’ has actually occurred alongside economic recession, in regards to a substantial correlation between unfavorable experiences of economic crisis and degeneration in relationships: people who were disadvantaged financially throughout economic crisis were considerably more probable to have actually experienced deterioration in their relationship quality and stability.
The groups who felt the impact of economic crisis most strongly, nevertheless, were considerably more influenced in their relationships, in comparison with the standard (the ‘Advancing’ group).
These relative possibilities of experiencing relationship breakdown held even after we accounted for picked background qualities, such as their income, family structure, education and relationship length.

The findings right here verify those of previous researches, which similarly reveal that financial shocks and unemployment can decrease relationship quality by enhancing conflict in relationships, decreasing mental wellbeing, and even impacting on physical health. Previous studies also show that this lowered relationship quality throughout economic downturn translates into increased danger of relationship breakdown. The findings contribute to this evidence base adding useful insight into the ways in which economic crisis experiences associate with relationship wear and tear.
Breakdown of relationships can respond to counselling but when the relationship has broken down irreversibly a good family lawyer can a minimum of ensure that a customer retains an appropriate proportion of the joint assets.

 

At WhichSolicitor, we can make an appropriate recommendation for you.

 

Original article can be found as a PDF here

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ByDavid7SB

Family mediation take-up rising

Family mediation take-up rising, however not yet from the woods

12 SEP 2014
Autumn most likely to indicate more enhancement on significant increases
Data from National Family Mediation (NFM) reveals a considerable increase in the take-up of its services in the very first 6 months of 2014.

NFM was reflecting on information covering its affiliated services and mediators from 1 January to 30 June 2014.

Jane Robey, Chief Executive of NFM stated:.

‘Whilst family mediation services across the country suffered a decline in 2013 after the Government revamped legal help, the signs for the career are positive in the first half of 2014.

The picture varies across the nation, however in a number of our service locations increases of 30 to 40 per cent in numbers of individuals attending mediation compared to the exact same duration in 2013 are common.mediation-pic-1[1]

There is no doubt a greater proportion of individuals are reaching agreement with mediation, realizing they can successfully settle household matters in a budget-friendly way.

Yet whilst it’s clear the change in the law reliable from April has signalled an upturn, household mediation is not yet from the woods. Our mediators and managers will continue working relentlessly to show the value of mediation, which is quicker, less stressful and generally cheaper than going to court.’.

Under the Children and Families Act, executed on 22 April 2014, it became compulsory for individuals to go to a mediation details and assessment meeting (MIAM) session before they can get a court order.

Jane Robey added that as we head into the autumn, household mediators are positive the increase could continue:.

‘Mediators often report a quiet time throughout the summer, but referrals were unseasonably high in August this year. And after the vacation duration, September signals a go back to the regimen of work and school. Extremely typically this is when couples choose to different, as the momentary twinkle of hope signalled by the sunlight and break-in-routine is well and really snuffed out.’. We would emphasise the need to work with a family solicitor even if you do go down the mediation route.

 

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