January 2019 - MLP Law

Can I leave money to my pet in my Will?

 

It is possible to include provision in your Will for your pet to be cared for after you have died.

 

If you wish to include a pet in your Will then we have listed below 7 things you ought to be thinking about: 

  1. You should consider whether the gift is for the care of your current pet(s) only or, for any pet that is alive when you die.
  1. You should consider who will care for your pet and in particular, who would be willing and able to take on the responsibility. You should also consider whether you want to include a substitute individual, in case your chosen individual is unable or unwilling to take your pet.
  1. If your pet has exceptional care requirements or, if you are particularly concerned about your pet receiving specific care and attention then you may want to prepare a side letter of wishes to be placed with your Will.
  1. You will need to consider if you want to leave an outright cash gift to a particular individual or, if you wish to set up a trust.
  1. It is important to make sure that the financial provision is adequate because ultimately, if the cash gift is insufficient to cover the pet’s maintenance, the beneficiary may be reluctant to accept the gift of your pet or, they may not maintain your pet according to your wishes.
  1. You should consider the costs associated with caring for your pet, such as medication and vet bills which may increase as your pet gets older.
  1. If you do not know of any willing individuals, you may want to explore leaving your pet, along with financial provision to an animal welfare charity.

 

If you want to explore these options further, please give us a call.

Debenhams’ Shareholder Strife – Lessons for your business

As Mike Ashley steps deeper into his shareholder dispute with the Board of Debenhams (see more: here), what can businesses, their owners and directors learn from the events?

Disputes can arise at any point in the life of a company – most often a result of misunderstandings or, misaligned expectations.  These then lead to friction and a break down in relationship that can then lead to a dispute.

Communication is key – and write your understanding and expectations down in a comprehensive agreement.  Between shareholders and owners and also between the board and shareholders (if different).

Review the agreement (and test your ongoing understandings and expectations – they can change over time: if not yours, then the other parties involved in the business).

Ensure stakeholders (senior employees, bank, your accountant) understand the agreement and arrangements you’ve put in place.

An agreement that deals comprehensively with issues such as:

  • how decisions are made;
  • what issues any one party has a veto over (if any);
  • what happens if there is a dispute;
  • what happens if one party falls ill, gets divorced, or dies whilst holding shares in the company; and
  • the future plans of the business and its owners.

Will result in a robust agreement that will give the business and owners peace of mind that the right plans are in place and the affairs will be managed appropriately should difficulties arise.

Reviewing the agreement (with or without your trusted professional advisers involved is also great too – it gives a regular opportunity to check and test the understandings and aims of each party that were in place at the time of completing the agreement, still stand or if they’ve changed, the potential impact that has on the agreement and affairs of all those concerned in the business.

Please speak to our Commercial solicitors and specialists shareholder agreement lawyers on Commercial@mlplaw.co.uk.

Or, if it’s past the point of reaching agreement, please speak to our Dispute lawyers  and specialist shareholder dispute lawyers on Disputeresolution@mlplaw.co.uk.

Alternatively, please call our Altrincham office on 0161 926 9969 or our Liverpool office on 0151 433 6042.

Does my business need a policy on social media use for my employees? #Yes

The ever increasing popularity of social media means that your employees are communicating with the outside world on an almost constant basis. Often this is a formal part of your employees’ roles, using social media platforms to promote your business and its activities. In other circumstances, this may be an unauthorised drain on your resources. Either way, do you know what your employees are saying and are they damaging the reputation of your business?

We have all no doubt seen examples of social media activity by representatives of companies which brings their employer into disrepute. The problem with this is often these comments are made in the company’s name, or the company is at least recognisable from the post. This potentially creates liability on the part of the company, for example, if the comment is offensive or libellous. This is because social media is governed by exactly the same laws that govern comments printed in newspapers.

With more and more businesses realising that social media is a great avenue for building brand and image and developing a loyal customer base, they are unlikely to want to cut back on their online presence simply because of what their employees may say online. Another way of setting standards and managing employee activity online is therefore required. One way of doing this is by laying down ground rules for the use of social media (whether such use is part of the job or otherwise) in a social media policy.

A comprehensive social media policy will typically include guidelines, best practices and tips for employees on their social media, as well as clear guidelines on what to expect if the rules are broken.

As well as implementing a social media policy, educating employees about social media use and the risk of the lines between personal and professional becoming blurred is vital, in order to make employees realise that how they portray themselves on social media can have an effect on them in a professional context.

A social media policy can also give a business a benchmark for enforcement, by giving them the opportunity to set out what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. We would also recommend that a social media policy cover the following:

  • Data governance or security and who has access to the Company’s social media pages;
  • Company’s monitoring of social media;
  • Workplace conflicts and issues should stay offline;
  • Privacy settings;
  • Confidentiality and the protection of the company’s confidential information;
  • Personal posts and social media accounts;
  • Photographs being shared; and
  • Who do Linkedin contacts belong to.

If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this blog, our employment team would be happy to discuss with you further. Please contact us on 0161 926 9969 or by email at employment@mlplaw.co.uk.

One way of laying down ground rules for the use of social media, whether it’s as part of the job or otherwise, is by implementing a social media policy.