2016 started well as the economy continued to strengthen following the recession. However, the year held some surprises in store for us all with the June European referendum showing that a majority of the UK population wanted to leave the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States in November. For us in Nottinghamshire, things were a little less dramatic but interesting none the less, as this business review of the Tallents year shows.
The New Year is traditionally a time to reflect on the events of the past year and make resolutions for the coming one. Often writing or reviewing Wills form part of this, especially in the light of some of the high profile celebrities who died this year without a Will.
In January, Tallents Solicitors were delighted to welcome two new members to their Wills, Trust and Probate team: Elizabeth Rees at Mansfield and Sarah Allen at Newark, who both brought additional experience to further increase the probate and private client services on offer from the firm.
Parties who are in a hurry to conclude what they believe to be a straightforward commercial lease transaction may be tempted to gloss over some of the finer details in order to progress matters as quickly as possible but parties who choose to do so, risk being left wishing they had paid more attention to the details.
With the number of children being looked after in care increasing steadily over the last seven years, Partner at Mansfield, Mark Hawkins, offered an insight into the care process for parents and guardians:
Our specialists in Family and Child Care law at Mansfield and Newark are here to help parents and carers through this stressful process. When you contact us, we will listen to the specifics of your case and work with you to find the best solution for your children and you to the problems you are facing.
The free, drop-in family law clinic run by Tallents at Southwell (now in its third year) offers free legal advice to anyone with family law concerns every Tuesday evening from 5pm until 7pm.
Fly grazing of horses has been a recurring local problem throughout this year. Agricultural law specialist, Alistair Millar advised landowners to ensure they had a well drafted formal agreement in place when letting anyone use, or have access to any portion of their land to avoid the loss of important agricultural tax advantages.
Mat Derbyshire, a family lawyer at Mansfield was accepted onto the Law Society’s Children Panel in March and was now able to represent both adults and children in child-related legal matters. Mark Hawkins, partner and children’s law specialist at Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield, said:
We are incredibly proud of Mat’s appointment to the Children Panel. The accreditation process is incredibly rigorous and it’s a credit to Mat’s dedication and hard work that he is able to act as both an adult representative and a children representative.
Anyone buying an additional residential property, including second homes and buy-to-lets had to pay an extra 3% in Stamp Duty Land Tax over and above the current rates from 1st April 2016. Partner at Southwell, Alistair Millar noted:
Current taxation rules would allow investors to offset the extra Stamp Duty, along with purchase costs, against their capital gains on the property in the future. However, this could be subject to change by the Treasury.
Tallents Solicitors in Newark congratulated Hayley Barber as she completed her Training Contract with the firm to become a fully-qualified solicitor. Senior Partner, Jeremy Blatherwick said:
Hayley originally joined us in 2008 as a legal secretary working in the Litigation Department. However, she has always been ambitious and started her Training Contract with us in the summer of 2014. We are so delighted that Hayley has successfully completed her Training Contract with Tallents and now becomes a solicitor. This qualification is a testament to all her hard work.
With around 13,000 agricultural workers each year suffering from an illness believed to be caused or made worse by their work, Alistair Millar offered words of advice to farming families:
Many farms will have thought about and planned for the succession of the farm business when the owner dies, but have they also planned for situations where the owner is incapacitated, either mentally or physically? There are several contingency options available to farmers, which may be relevant depending on the type of farming business being operated. Your agricultural solicitor can help you decide on the best plans to make but at the very least, you should have a Financial Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
Tallents was delighted to welcome Vili Chung into the partnership in June. Vili joined Tallents Solicitors in Mansfield in April 2014, bringing a wealth of commercial and residential property experience with her. Vili said:
I’m very excited about joining the Partner Team and being able to utilise my skills in helping Tallents face the challenges of being a 21st century law firm.
Over the last two years, Vili has expanded her knowledge of the complex laws surrounding commercial property transactions to ensure she combines current legal experience with the ability to handle a full range of commercial property needs.
If you own property and have children, then it’s absolutely vital that you make changing your will a priority if you separate or divorce from your spouse/partner, otherwise on your death, your ex-spouse/partner could receive everything you owned under your old will. Or worse, without at will at all, your estate will be distributed by the government according to the Rules of Intestacy.
Partner Vili Chung advised that investment landlords needed to be aware of the Local Authority’s approach to Article 4 Directions with regards to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) thresholds before they invested significant sums in either renovating existing residential properties or before buying HMOs for development and subsequent letting. She said:
Landlords with HMOs in different Local Authority areas may be subject to several different Article 4 Directions, so we would recommend that landlords do not commit to buying a property as an HMO in a designated Article 4 Direction area before permission from the Local Authority has been received in writing. Our conveyancing experts at Tallents are here to help any landlords with concerns about HMOs and Article 4 Directions.
Reporting on gender pay gaps is to become compulsory for private sector and voluntary organisations employing 250 or more people. Earlier in 2016, it was thought that the new regulations were expected to come into force at the end of October 2016, but the Government Equality Office has indicated that the enforcement date will now be April 2017. Large employers will need to calculate their gender pay gap by looking at mean and median figures for pay among men and women. ‘Pay’ includes holiday pay, maternity pay, shift premiums and so on, and bonuses. The first reports must be published by the companies before 30th April 2018 and will focus on the gender pay gap as at 30th April 2017. Annual reporting will be required ongoing by each 30th April.
The government confirmed their commitment to driving up the housing supply in England while also supporting self-build and custom house building. Alistair Millar explained how the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding (Time for Compliance and Fees) Regulations 2016, which if approved, will come into force on 31st October 2016. He said:
They have been written to enable more people to live in homes that were designed by them to meet their specific needs. One thing preventing most people from building their own home is finding a suitable building plot. If approved, the Regulations will be critical to increasing the availability of land for self-building and custom house building in England.
In November, Tallents Solicitors offices in Mansfield and Newark took part in WillAid 2016, offering to draft single and mirror Wills for clients in exchange for a donation to WillAid.
All the allocated appointment slots were quickly snapped up by clients eager to secure peace of mind and help out nine worthy UK charities, including: British Red Cross, NSPCC, Save the Children and Christian Aid.
The pantomime came again to the Newark in December (oh yes it did!). The staff at Tallents Solicitors were delighted to renew their support as Principal Sponsors for the Palace Theatre Newark for another three years and also enjoy a gala performance of Jack and the Beanstalk in the newly refurbished theatre.
Tallents is preparing for a very busy time in the year ahead and looking forward to continuing to serve the people and businesses of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire with great enthusiasm and optimism during 2017.
Jeremy Blatherwick, senior partner, finishes:
Tallents Solicitors has been a successful legal firm in Newark, Southwell and Mansfield for nearly 245 years and our commitment to delivering the best service possible to our clients is just as strong as it was in 1774. The people, businesses and communities of North Nottinghamshire can be assured of our renewed commitment to them and their legal needs for many years to come.
Tallents offers clients advice and support on a wide range of legal services, as this review of their year shows. Follow Tallents on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tallentssolicitors) or Twitter (@TallentsSols) to keep abreast of key legal issues that may affect you or your business, or make an appointment with one of our talented lawyers to discuss your personal circumstances.