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Tribunal Paves the Way for Suburban Garden Development

Restrictions on land use appear in the title deeds of many properties – but the law permits their deletion or modification if they become obsolete over time or stand in the way of reasonable development. Exactly that happened in one case in which the...

Commercial Surrogacies Abroad Are Not Illegal - Court of Appeal Ruling

Although commercial surrogacy businesses have long been banned in the UK, the Court of Appeal recently ruled that a clinical negligence victim would not be breaking the law were she to enter into such an arrangement in California, where a more liberal...

Social Media - Be Careful!

The legal dispute between Elon Musk and Vernon Unsworth, the man who helped to rescue boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, may have dropped out of the press over the last few weeks, but a recent case shows the lack of accuracy of Mr Musk's assertion that...

Quality of Occupation Determines Tax-Free Status of Residential Property Gain

The supposition that residential properties are exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a common, but incorrect, one. You would think, for example, that if a person only owns one property, sleeps there quite often, has post sent there and tells the council...

Son Who Did Not Do Enough Excluded From Farm Inheritance

When parents changed their wills to exclude their son from inheriting their £1 million farm after a family falling-out in 2016, he took the unusual step of challenging their right to do so. Normally, such challenges are made against the estates of...

Thinking of Dispensing With Legal Advice on a House Sale? Think Again!

Home-made contracts, particularly for the sale of land, are a singularly bad idea and can lead to costs that dwarf the modest sums needed to secure proper professional advice. Exactly that happened in one case in which a house purchase contract was so...

Procedural Unfairness Stops Council Care Action

When the mother of a teenage daughter who had been taken into care in 2016 with her agreement had another child, the local council's social services department became involved. The woman's daughter had been removed from home as a result of her mother's...

Bank Fined for Failure to Distribute Assets to Beneficiaries

Recently, Santander was fined more than £30 million for failing to distribute more than £180 million held in deceased customers' accounts to their personal representatives or entitled beneficiaries. More than 40,000 account holders were involved...

Ignorance Not a Reasonable Excuse for Tax Disclosure Failure

When an 18-year-old woman bought a derelict end terrace property in London in 2006 and sold it to developers the following year, she made no entry on her tax return, believing that principal private residence relief applied. Having made a 'discovery' of the...

Court Visit Required to Give Clarity to Will

Many wills contain clauses which alter the distribution of assets in the event of changing circumstances, such as the death of one of the beneficiaries under the will before the person making it. When drafting such clauses, it is essential that they are...

Fraud Victim Sacrificed His Home by Delay in Seeking Legal Advice

If you have a legitimate legal complaint, any delay in consulting a solicitor is highly likely to benefit the wrongdoer. A man whose home was taken from him by fraud, but who delayed over 20 years before taking legal action, found that out to his cost. The...

UK Fairness Test Mitigates Italian Pre-Nuptial Agreement

The law relating to the division of family assets on divorce varies widely across the world and the UK is generally regarded as one of the fairer jurisdictions for such financial arrangements in that the assets tend to be divided more equally than in many...

What is the Tax Status of Compensation for Financial Product Mis-Selling?

Is compensation paid to individuals whose businesses have failed due to mis-selling of financial products subject to Income Tax? In a decision that will disappoint many victims of bank wrongdoing, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has answered that question in...

Transfer of Pension Fund Does Not Escape IHT Charge

Inheritance Tax (IHT) is not only payable on the value of the estate of a deceased person, but can also be levied on 'transfers of value' from the deceased's estate in the seven (exceptionally 14) years prior to their death. But what counts as a transfer of...

Hedge Cutting Proves Costly

You might think that where the boundaries of property lie should be clear, but boundary disputes are a fruitful source of argument in the courts. A recent case arose when, between contracts being exchanged on a property and the completion of its purchase, a...

Wronged by a State Authority?

It is a mark of a civilised society that anyone who suffers a wrong at the hands of state authorities is entitled to compensation. In a case on point, a prisoner whose release was considerably delayed when the Parole Board was stricken by staff shortages ...

Misled Mother to Lose Home

It may sound overcautious to say so, but it is always worth taking legal advice before entering into any significant arrangement, even when it is with a trusted member of the family. Failing to do so has proved to be an expensive lesson for a woman who has...

CGT Net Tightens for Homeowners

The recent Budget contained an announcement that will be unwelcome news for some property owners. The sale of a person's principal private residence has always received favourable treatment for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) purposes. Normally such sales are...

Probate Charges to be Increased for Larger Estates

Proposals to link the cost of being granted probate over an estate valued at more than £5,000 (currently fixed at £215 for those applying individually or £155 if applying through a solicitor) to the value of the estate were announced in...

Leasehold Reform Consultation Ends

The leasehold system in the UK has been crying out for reform for years, and the Government has decided to tackle the issues through the medium of a new consultation paper called 'Fixing our broken housing market'. The chief target for the Government has...
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