Property Fraud on the increase

With advances in technology fraud is on the increase with 3.5 million recorded cases reported in 2016 alone. It is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK and property transactions are seen as a particularly attractive target by criminals.

It is estimated that there are around 1 million unregistered residential properties in the UK. These are particularly vulnerable to fraud as there is no entry of the property at the Land Registry and ownership is evidenced by paper deeds. Unregistered properties are also not covered by the Land Registry’s Title Guarantee and Indemnity Insurance. If they were victim to fraud there is little or no protection for the actual owner. It is therefore in your best interest to voluntarily register your property if you are the owner of unregistered property.

Another risk area is when conveyancers are impersonated and clients sent false emails instructing them to send funds to a fraudster’s account instead of the Solicitor. Fraudsters will send fake letterheads or create false email addresses with only slight changes between the fake and the genuine email. To prevent this we at Garside & Hoy send sensitive documents requiring passwords and we will never send change of bank details by email.

Clients should also be aware of how you are accessing personal emails regarding your conveyancing transaction, as can be seen by the case of a victim who was scammed while using a Coffee shop Wifi and lost their £60,000 deposit(1).

We at Garside & Hoy work to remain vigilant and adapt our working practices to protect our clients from potential sources of fraud and remind our clients to do the same. If you do have any queries or receive any suspicious emails or correspondence claiming to be us please call our offices to confirm and also advise us so we know to report to the appropriate organisation.

At Garside & Hoy we offer fixed fees for conveyancing and would be happy to provide you with a written quotation.

(1)http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/practice-management/cybersecurity-and-scam-prevention/client-loses-60k-in-coffee-shop-wi-fi-hack/

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Judge Suggests Campaign to Raise Awareness of Living Wills

Should writing a living will before you get old be compulsory? A High Court judge thinks so, and specialist lawyers have added their support to his suggestion.

An article in the Daily Mirror, centred on a recent hearing at the Court of Protection concerning the treatment of a pensioner with dementia in a minimally conscious state. Judge Justice Francis is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London. He also oversees hearings in the Court of Protection.

The judge said he thought a campaign to educate people about living wills would be a good idea – an awareness-raising exercise along the same lines as organ donation campaigns. A living will sets out what a person wants to happen to them if they contract a serious, incapacitating illness.

A living will doesn’t have any legal meaning, but typically refers to either an advance statement or decision.

An advance statement sets out how a person would like to be looked after and cared for and can be used if someone uses the ability to make or communicate decisions. An advance decision is where someone formalises their wishes in regards to future medical treatment and whether they want to receive it or not. It’s legally binding, so those caring for the person must follow their instructions, and it allows someone to refuse treatment, even if doing so will result in their death.

The case in question related to The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, who had asked for a ruling on the treatment of an elderly man in their care. Doctors at the hospital wanted to put a feeding tube into his stomach but needed the judge to rule on whether this would be lawful.

Lawyers representing the man did not object, and the judge concluded that the pensioner couldn’t make the decision. However, the man’s family had been in conflict with the hospital over his treatment and had made negligence complaints. They did not attend the hearing.

The judge described the case as “very sad”, and that there were plenty of these kind of cases. If patients, while they still had the capacity to do so, made a living will, then the courts might not need to get involved so often.

Specialist law firms agreed with the judge, telling the Mirror such a campaign was necessary. James Beresford of Slater and Gordon said no-one liked to think about getting ill or dying, but it would be much kinder for those left to look after us if we had already made our wishes clear.

Julia Newland of Garside & Hoy would like to point out that a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney would also allow people to leave more detailed instructions as to what they would want to happen to them in the event that they no longer had mental capacity. Living wills were not the only option.

For next of kin tracing and a range of International Asset services, contact Finders International on Freephone 0800 085 8796 or email contact@findersinternational.co.uk .

If you wish to speak to someone about Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact the office on 0208 427 5656 or email Julia Newland (Julia.newland@garsideandhoy.co.uk) or Suzanna Baker (Suzanna.baker@garsideandhoy.co.uk).

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Garside & Hoy raise funds for St Luke’s Hospice

We are delighted to announce that Garside & Hoy raised £2,250 this year under the St Luke’s Make A Will Scheme.

Garside & Hoy takes part in the scheme annually which takes place every September, whereby solicitors waive their usual fee for preparing a Will in exchange for a donation to be made to St Luke’s.

Thank you to all our clients who participated in the scheme this year and helped to raise the funds which will be enough to fund 3 days of high quality care in the St Luke’s In Patient Unit.

If you haven’t already done a Will or if you simply wish to speak to someone about Wills, please visit our website page or contact the office on 0208 427 5656 or email Julia Newland (Julia.newland@garsideandhoy.co.uk) or Suzanna Baker (Suzanna.baker@garsideandhoy.co.uk).

 

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Stamp duty axed for most first time buyers

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced in his Autumn Budget that he will be abolishing stamp duty for all first time buyers making home purchases worth up to £300,000, with immediate effect. First time buyers purchasing properties costing £300,000 to £500,000 will also see a reduction in the amount they pay.

This will benefit 80% of first time buyers in London and 95% first time buyers who pay stamp duty. According to the statement published on HM Treasury website, this means that the stamp duty bill of the average first time buyer in London will nearly halve from £10,500 to £5,500.

The relief is expected to help over a million first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder over the next five years.

If you are thinking about buying your first home, or if you have any questions in relation to a conveyancing matter then please contact our Head of Conveyancing, Jagruti Raval on 0208 427 5656 or Jagruti.raval@garsideandhoy.co.uk

 

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Bernadette Hoy acclaimed in The Legal 500 UK

Bernadette Hoy, a Partner at Garside & Hoy and head of our Family Law department, has today received an excellent review in The Legal 500 UK.

The review of the Family Law department states: Garside & Hoy: ‘knowledgeable and goal-driven’ group provides ‘excellent response times and good value for money’. The team has notable expertise in financial settlements, particularly where foreign assets and jurisdiction issues are involved, and highlights included acting for a client in multi-jurisdictional divorce and financial proceedings involving Iran and the UK. The ‘highly experienced’ Bernadette Hoy heads the practice and is ‘meticulous, pragmatic and determined’; she has ‘an extensive network of contacts within the legal profession’ and ‘a great ability to turn challenging situations around in a relatively short space of time’.

What areas of Family Law can I speak with Bernadette Hoy about?

Bernadette has a wealth of experience in all aspects of family law and is a well known specialist on the financial aspects of divorce and separation, and her expertise extends to arrangements for children.

As a member of Resolution, Bernadette is committed to working with her clients to reach constructive solutions and agreements wherever possible. However, she also has a great deal of hard-hitting experience in court, and has achieved many notable negotiated settlements.  Bernadette is a member of the Law Society Family Law Panel and an accredited member of the Resolution Family Law Panel demonstrating her specialisation in this area of law. She has practiced  as a Collaborative Family Lawyer since 2007 and has since developed a successful practice using this procedure for couples who want to reach agreement without litigation.

Bernadette practices as a Family Mediator and can offer Mediation to her clients on both Financial and Children’s matters.

The Legal 500

The Legal 500 is the leading guide to law firms in the UK with over 4 million users visiting the website each year.  Every firm ranked – and every individual mentioned – in The Legal 500 UK is ‘recommended’.

For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The rankings are based on a series of criteria, but in particular they state that they “highlight the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel”. The research is based on feedback from clients, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers, and a team of researchers who have unrivalled experience in the legal market.

If you wish to discuss any Family Law matters with Bernadette Hoy, please contact 0208 427 5656 or Bernadette.hoy@garsideandhoy.co.uk

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Garside & Hoy’s Family Law Department features in The Legal 500 UK

Garside & Hoy’s Family Law Department have received a glowing review in The Legal 500 United Kingdom which was published today.

The review states: Garside & Hoy: ‘knowledgeable and goal-driven’ group provides ‘excellent response times and good value for money’. The team has notable expertise in financial settlements, particularly where foreign assets and jurisdiction issues are involved, and highlights included acting for a client in multi-jurisdictional divorce and financial proceedings involving Iran and the UK. The ‘highly experienced’ Bernadette Hoy heads the practice and is ‘meticulous, pragmatic and determined’; she has ‘an extensive network of contacts within the legal profession’ and ‘a great ability to turn challenging situations around in a relatively short space of time’.

The Legal 500

The Legal 500 is the leading guide to law firms in the UK with over 4 million users visiting the website each year.  Every firm ranked – and every individual mentioned – in The Legal 500 UK is ‘recommended’.

For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The rankings are based on a series of criteria, but in particular they state that they “highlight the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel”. The research is based on feedback from clients, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers, and a team of researchers who have unrivalled experience in the legal market.

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Will Aid 2017

We are pleased to announce that Garside & Hoy will again be participating in the Will Aid Scheme this November. The scheme runs throughout the entire month of November and every year raises thousands of pounds for nine different UK charities. These include NSPCC, British Red Cross and Age UK.

When making a Will as a part of the scheme, we will waive our usual fees and instead ask clients to make a donation to Will Aid.  The scheme covers simple single Wills and also mirror Wills. The minimum donation is £95 for a basic single Will or £150 for a pair of basic mirror Wills although we wish to raise as much as we can for this very worthy cause.

Last year Garside & Hoy raised £10,450 for Will Aid bringing our total thus far to just over £67,308. If you would like to make your Will whilst also supporting the charities please contact our office on 0208 427 5656 or email: info@garsideandhoy.co.uk.

Do also visit our website page for more information on why you should make a Will: www.garsideandhoy.co.uk/practice-areas/wills-probate-and-elderly-clients/wills-codicils-and-inheritance-tax-2/

For more information about Will Aid please visit: www.willaid.org.uk/will-makers

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The Law Commission’s consultation on Wills; a step towards modernisation?

Back in April The Law Commission announced that that a comprehensive review of the law relating to Wills was to be undertaken. This summer, the Law Commission released the wide-ranging consultation aimed at bringing the law relating to Wills into step with the modern world. In the consultation document the Commission said they believed that current laws are failing to protect the vulnerable.

The key issues that have been raised include:

  • Giving the court greater flexibility to uphold wills that do not meet legal requirements
  • Using the Mental Capacity Act test to establish capacity to write a Will
  • Introducing a statutory presumption of capacity to write a Will
  • Reducing the age at which someone can make a Will from 18 to 16
  • The possibility of online or electronic Will writing in the future.

Nick Hopkins, Law Commissioner, said: ‘Making a Will and passing on your possessions after you’ve died should be straight-forward. But the law is unclear, outdated and could even be putting people off altogether. Even when it’s obvious what someone wanted, if they haven’t followed the strict rules, courts can’t act on it. And conditions which affect decision-making – like dementia – aren’t properly accounted for in the law.’

The consultation will run until 10 November 2017.

Please visit our website page about making a Will. If you haven’t already done a Will or if you simply wish to speak to someone about Wills, please contact the office on 0208 427 5656 or email Julia Newland (Julia.newland@garsideandhoy.co.uk) or Suzanna Baker (Suzanna.baker@garsideandhoy.co.uk)

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Holly Covington passes LPC with flying colours

Holly Covington, who has worked as a Paralegal at Garside & Hoy since September 2014, has successfully completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) with a distinction. She will now begin her training contract at the firm and will qualify as a solicitor in October 2018.  

 

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Controversial plans to raise probate fees are scrapped

The Government has announced its decision to drop its controversial plan to sharply increase probate fees, due to time constraints before the general election in June. The plans, which had been announced last month, had attracted much criticism and will no doubt be a welcomed decision and relief for many.

The proposed system of tiered charges which was due to come into effect this May was to be based on the size of the estate; no fee if the estate is worth under £50,000; £300 for estates valued between £5,000 and £300,000; £1,000 for estates valued between £300,000 and £500,000; with the fees progressively rising until reaching £20,000 if the estate is worth above £2m.

A senior Conservative declined to say if the scheme would be brought back if the prime minister was re-elected.

If you would like to speak to us on any aspect regarding the administration of an Estate, please contact Julia Newland on Julia.Newland@GarsideandHoy.co.uk or 0208 427 5656.

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