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Simplifying IHT – mission impossible?

Some 18 months ago the Chancellor as was, Philip Hammond, asked the Office of Tax Simplification to review the Inheritance Tax regime and suggest ways to simplify it. Earlier hopes that he’d completely abolish the unpopular levy on inherited wealth soon faded. It was too much to expect that a tax....

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Can my landlord legally forfeit my commercial lease?

A commercial lease usually includes the right for your landlord to peacefully re-enter the property and change the locks if you, as the tenant, have breached any conditions of the lease. Most usually this is due to failure to pay rent. Once your landlord has secured access, the lease is terminated.....

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Why better screening is needed to help detect Group B streptococcal infections in babies

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium that can cause serious illness, particularly in new-borns. It is responsible for many cases of meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, as well as some cases of blood infections (sepsis) and pneumonia.   W....

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Making a claim for paediatric medical negligence on behalf of a child – what you need to know

Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that involves the medical care of new-born babies, infants, children and adolescents. Instances of medical negligence affecting children can be complicated and diverse. But however large or small your child's injury is, if it is the result of negligent or inapp....

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Remortgaging: Transfer of Equity, what it is and how it works

Remortgaging, or taking out a new mortgage on your existing property (either to replace the one you already have or to borrow a sizeable amount against your home) can be appropriate for a variety of reasons. Your current deal may be coming to an end, you might want a better rate, the value of your ....

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How remortgaging works and the benefits it brings

With the mortgage market remaining competitive, it pays to shop around from time to time as there may be a cheaper deal available that could be more cost-efficient and better suited to your needs. The process of getting a new loan put in place is referred to as remortgaging. Mortgage deals are u....

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How trusts provide a straightforward way for families to protect and pass on their wealth

For many, the word ‘trust’ can have a slightly Dickensian ring to it; people often assume that a trust is rather old-fashioned, difficult to set up and complex to run. In addition, there is a common misconception that they are established purely for tax purposes and don’t have any other role ....

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Why it’s high time cohabiting couples were given rights

Last summer, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan sought judicial review of the government’s decision not to make changes to the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 to allow different sex couples to enter civil partnerships. Their victory should see civil partnerships extended to different sex couples by....

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Civil partnership bill expected to become law before the end of the year

For couples who dislike the idea of traditional marriage, but would like full legal recognition of their relationship, the news that opposite-sex couples will soon be able to enter into civil partnerships will be welcomed. This move is designed to address the imbalance that allows same-sex couples ....

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Children and divorce – how to co-parent them through the pain

As you might expect, children often find their parent’s divorce a time of great sadness that inevitably brings a huge number of changes into their lives. They are likely to suffer a range of emotions ranging from disbelief to anxiety, anger and distress; research has shown that the first year or ....

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I’ve been served with a section 215 notice, what do I need to do?

These notices are part of the provisions contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and give a local planning authority (LPA) power in certain circumstances to require that land or buildings are cleaned up or repaired if they consider their condition adversely affects the amenity of the a....

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How do Section 278 Agreements work?

Highway infrastructure is often a critical component of any proposed new housing development, and these agreements, which form part of the Highways Act 1980, are used to make changes to an existing public highway. The need for highway agreements is often identified within a Section 106 Agreement o....

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Equity release – the questions we’re frequently asked

Figures from the Equity Release Council show that those aged over 55 are relying more than ever before on the wealth tied up in their houses. Whilst downsizing to a smaller property might be the answer for some, moving home can be a stressful and costly process, and there’s a widespread shortage ....

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The Raynsford Review of Planning – is a radical new planning system on the horizon?

June saw the publication of the interim report from former Labour Housing and Planning Minister Nick Raynsford’s planning review. He has had some forthright things to say about the state of planning in England, talking of “deeply demoralised” staff who work in a system where “there’s an ov....

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I want to challenge a Will – what should I do?

As you may already be aware, there are several grounds on which you can challenge a Will or make a claim against an estate. These include: Testamentary capacity – with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia being more widely diagnosed, claims made on the grounds that the deceased did not....

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Lasting Power of Attorney – making the right choices for your future

Last summer retired judge Denzil Lush caused consternation amongst many people and much publicity by saying that he had concerns about the creation of a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). His view was that LPAs could be open to abuse. He preferred the alternative of Deputyship, a process that requires....

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How to protect vulnerable and disabled beneficiaries

Thinking about how you would like your estate to be distributed on your death and how best to provide for your loved ones can sometimes be hard. This can be especially true if you have disabled or vulnerable family members you wish to protect. For instance, you may want to provide for a family me....

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Government consultation unveiled into banning use of combustible cladding materials

In recent days, an important consultation has been opened by the UK Housing Secretary which will look into banning the use of ‘combustible’ cladding materials on high-rise residential buildings. The consultation, which comes little over a year on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, sets out to e....

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Potholes – a personal injury hazard of our time

As we head towards spring, the cold snowy weather is still taking its toll on our roads. Potholes continue to be more than just an annoying feature of the UK’s road network - motorists, cyclists, joggers and walkers can often sustain serious personal injuries through coming into contact with this ....

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If my wife starts divorce proceedings, will she get a better financial settlement?

In short, no. In most cases, it is irrelevant who divorces who. It is highly unlikely that it will make any difference to the final financial settlement made. The only circumstances where making the first move in a divorce action could be important is when there’s a choice to be made as to whic....

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