February 2019 - MLP Law

MLP appoints Beaumont as first CEO

 

Entrepreneurial award winning regional law firm MLP Law has kick-started 2019 with the appointment of CEO Anna Beaumont, which follows the senior appointment of Stephen Chalcraft last month as Head of Real Estate and Built Environment. Anna joined the firm on 1st February to take up the newly created position and to accelerate the firm’s ambitious growth plans. Anna will focus on building and growing the MLP Law brand.

Anna, who for the last four years held the CEO position at gunnercooke LLP, has a strong track record of delivering fast growth and was a winner of Corporate Leader of the Year at The English Women’s Awards 2018 and is also a alumni of Insider’s 42 under 42 in the North West .  Anna previously specialised in corporate and private equity law, having advised on transactions across a wide range of sectors in addition to also gaining extensive in house experience at £1.2bn turnover Enterprise plc (now Amey).

Stephen Attree, current owner and Managing Director at MLP Law said:

“Appointing Anna as CEO is a significant milestone in our journey. We are an ambitious firm with talented individuals and a loyal client base. This appointment shows we are serious about making our mark on the legal market in the North West. Anna’s experience and knowledge of running a fast growth law firm will be a huge asset for us. We can see the sector is changing and our aim is to be at the forefront of that innovation.

The past two years have seen the firm attain strong solid growth and with Anna on board, we are excited to see what we can achieve together.”

Anna Beaumont said:

“Stephen is incredibly talented both as a lawyer and leader, we’ve known each other for a number of years and we share the same views as to how a law firm should operate. Creating the right culture, recruiting and retaining the very best talent, tailored customer service excellence and continual innovation are visions we both share. The legal profession is facing an unprecedented level of change.  We are well positioned to take advantage and create a corporate and commercial boutique, which also provides for those lawyers that wish to work independently, but with the support of the already established MLP Law offering. Our vision is to create a firm where lawyers have the choice to work in a way that best suits them acknowledging this may change along their with professional life.

I am thrilled and honored to be part of the MLP family and I am looking forward to helping build on the success they have already achieved”.

MLP Law has been on a strong growth trajectory over the past two years having acquired fellow North West firm WH Lill in 2017. The Altrincham-based firm has other offices in Lymm, Media City and Liverpool and has recently relocated their Liverpool office to larger premises at Mann Island.

Known for their specialism in the tech, digital, healthcare and hospitality sectors, MLP reported a 39% increase in turnover in the 12 months to August 2018. Clients include Malmaison, Hotel Du Vin Holdings and Internet Fusion Group.

For more information, please contact Stephen Attree or Anna Beaumont at MLP Law.

Who can Witness a Will?

5 Key Things – Who can Witness a Will?

  1.  Must be over 18
  2.  Must have capacity
  3.  Must not be a beneficiary (or relative of beneficiary) named in the Will
  4.  Can live in UK or abroad
  5.  Does not need to read the Will

 

  Who can act as a Witness to a Will?

We often get asked who can act as Witnesses. The law says that any adult with capacity can act as a witness. It doesn’t matter if the witness lives in the UK or not and the witness does not have to read the Will. However, you should choose your witnesses carefully and your witness should not be a beneficiary, or a spouse of a beneficiary, under the Will otherwise they will lose their gift or entitlement under the Will. The Will would still be valid if a beneficiary, or spouse of a beneficiary, acts as a witness, but the beneficiary would lose their entitlement under the Will.

 


For further information please contact Laura Willis – Wills, Trusts and Probate Associate on 0161 926 1538

 

KNOW YOUR EXPERT EVIDENCE REQUIREMENTS

Hall v Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a medical negligence case. However, it is relevant to all areas of dispute resolution (including construction cases) where expert evidence is required.

The Claimant (C) had permission to adduce the evidence of experts in certain fields.  One of her experts thought evidence in another (related) field was required.  C issued an application for permission to rely upon such new evidence and instructed an appropriate expert even though she did not have permission to do so.  The Claimant did not, before the hearing of the application, communicate with the Defendant as to why the new expert evidence was required.   Indeed, C had already passed the report from her new expert to her existing experts.  The reports of the existing experts had not been helped by the new expert evidence.

In determining the issue of expert evidence, the Court must consider the costs of instructing experts as against the possibility of narrowing issues (which both saves costs and assists the Court) by having relevant expert evidence.

The Court determined that, as there were no elements in the case where the new expert evidence would be relevant, the application for permission to adduce the new expert evidence be refused.  Further, C had to pay for references to the new expert’s report to be removed from the reports of the existing experts and to pay the costs of the application.

There are two important lessons to be learnt from this case.  Firstly, a party should consider carefully whether evidence from an expert in a new field is actually required or is just something that an existing expert desires.  Further, a party which takes steps before a hearing on the basis that an application will be granted runs a very serious costs risk in the event that the tribunal does not grant the application.

 


 For more information, please contact Construction Legal Director – Paul Donnelly  on  0161 926 1507 

 

 

The Importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney

1. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to choose a trusted friend, relative or professional to act on your behalf as an attorney to make decisions about important matters if you lose capacity.

2. Two different types of LPA; one for Health and Welfare matters, and one for Property and Financial Affairs.

3. Greater flexibility for your attorneys to set up direct debits to pay bills, manage bank accounts, deal with investments or deal with the paperwork associated with the sale of a property.

4. Attorneys can only deal with the finances if they have clear instructions from you or if a doctor says you lack capacity.

5. Your next of kin do not have the right to make decisions about your Health and Welfare unless they are appointed as an attorney.


For further information, please call Laura Willis – Wills, Trusts and Probate Associate on 0161 926 1538

5 Key Reasons to have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare

1.Your next of kin does not have an automatic right to make decisions about your Health and Welfare

2.This covers decisions about medical treatment you receive, where/how your receive care, where you live, what you eat/drink and so on.

3.A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare is a legal document that allows you to choose a trusted friend, relative or professional to act on your behalf to make decisions about your Health and Welfare if you lose capacity

4.The LPA includes a specific instruction relating to life sustaining treatment; if there is no attorney appointed, then Doctors could withdraw or continue life sustaining treatment against your wishes without consulting with the Court

5.It has become increasingly difficult for medical staff to check every decision relating to Health and Welfare with family members unless there is a specific attorney appointed


For further information, please call Laura Willis – Wills, Trusts and Probate Associate on 0161 926 1538

Do-it-yourself Lasting Powers of Attorney – The Risks To Be Aware Of

An ever-increasing number of people are adopting a do-it-yourself approach to making their Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), made much easier with on-line forms which can be found on the Government website.

Given the benefits that LPA’s can bring when assisting elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives, the risk associated with LPA can often be overlooked when simply approaching it as a form filling exercise.

Whilst a do-it-yourself approach has the obvious benefit of reducing fees spent on legal advice, a note of caution should always be considered.

An LPA is a very powerful document with significant risks involved for both the Attorney and the person making the LPA (the Donor).

For the Donor, they are enabling other people to make highly significant decisions on their behalf and access highly confidential information about their property, finances and health. The newspapers are frequently filled with examples of Attorneys who have acted to the detriment of Donors especially when it comes to their finances. Attorneys are not subject to routine scrutiny by the Office of the Public Guardian which mainly operates in a reactive rather than pro-active manner when it comes to Attorneys.

Accordingly, if you are appointing Attorneys it is very important to consider the suitability of the people you are appointing, and whether there are safeguards which can be built into the LPA to mitigate any unreasonable risk, and to ensure that your own wishes and preferences are heeded by your future Attorney.

If you are an Attorney, you are accepting a role of great responsibility with potential far reaching consequences if you do not perform the role in an appropriate manner. There is very clear guidance which Attorneys should follow, especially when it comes to finances, and it is not a role which should be entered into lightly or without understanding your responsibilities.

Whilst you may prefer to prepare your own LPA rather than pay a Solicitor to do this on your behalf, at MLP Law we believe it is still very important that you and/or your attorneys obtain some legal advice to ensure you understand the nature of the LPA and Donor/Attorney relationship to avoid potential future problems.

We are happy to provide a single fixed fee appointment to talk you through the options and issues which you should consider, so that you can feel confident for the future decisions which may need to be made on your behalf, or on behalf of someone else.


For further information, please contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate Associate Solicitor Kerry Blackhurst on 0161 926 1533

Government Introduces Major Increase in Fees for Probate Applications

 

When someone has died leaving property, money and possessions (the ‘estate’) it is likely that a Grant of Probate will be needed whether the deceased left a will or not. In the event of an intestacy this authority is known as the Letters of Administration. The Grant of Probate is the legal authority which enables the executor of the will (or estate administrator in the event of an intestacy) to gather in the assets of the estate, pay any debts or liabilities, and distribute the net estate to the beneficiaries.

At present applicants for a Grant of Probate pay a flat £215, or £155 if they apply through a solicitor, on estates over £5,000.

The Government has now put forward controversial plans to increase the fees from a flat fee to one which is based upon the value of the estate as follows:

 

Estates worth less than £50,000 will pay nothing, meaning estates worth between £5,000 and £50,000 will save £215 compared to the current system. 

  • Estates worth from £50,000 up to £300,000 will pay £250, a rise of £35.
  • Estates worth from £300,000 up to £500,000 will pay £750, a rise of £535.
  • Estates worth from £500,000 up to £1 million will pay £2,500, a rise of £2,285.
  • Estates worth from £1 million up to £1.6 million will pay £4,000, a rise of £3,785.
  • Estates worth from £1.6 million up to £2 million will pay £5,000, a rise of £4,785.
  • Estates worth more than £2 million will pay £6,000, a rise of £5,785.

 

Following debate in Parliament on 7th February 2019 it appears that these increases will be going ahead as from April 2019, although there are still opportunities for MP’s to object to what are proving to be deeply unpopular plans.

 

 
Kerry Blackhurst – Wills, Trust and Probate Associate 

 

 

 

What is a protected conversation?

A protected conversation is a way for your employer to have an “off the record” conversation with you and make you an offer to leave the business. The contents of the conversation cannot be relied upon or referred to in an Employment Tribunal at a later date, unless it falls under one of the very specific exceptions.

The main motive for having a protected conversation is usually to allow the employer and employee to have a frank and open conversation with the view to reach a mutual agreement for the termination of the employee’s employment. These conversations have the purpose of exploring whether the employee is interested in agreeing terms in order to end the employment relationship, rather than proceeding with a performance management, redundancy or disciplinary process for example.

Under the rules, an employer can take you aside, ask you for a protected conversation and tell you, for example, that your performance is not as expected, your continued employment is at risk and that they will offer you a payment in return for your agreement to terminate your employment.

As long as there are no allegations of whistleblowing, breach of contract or discrimination, then a protection conversation is off the record.

However, these conversations do not protect improper behaviour on the part of the employer. If they act improperly, for example, by threatening you with dismissal if you do not accept what is being offered, then the conversation is no longer protected.

Your employer cannot dismiss you or tell you that you will be dismissed under the guise of a protected conversation. They can say that if you do not accept the offer then this will start a disciplinary or performance management process, but they should not tell you that this process will lead to you being dismissed.

Your employer cannot discriminate against you in a protected conversation. IF you think you have been selected for the protected conversation due to your gender for example, then the conversation will not be protected. It is not uncommon for employers to attempt having protected conversations with women returning from maternity leave, but this will almost certainly give rise to a claim of maternity discrimination.

What to do if you’re asked to have a protected conversation?

If you are invited to have a protected conversation with your employer, don’t panic. Agree to have one, there is no harm in hearing what your employer has to say and it may benefit you. When you’re in the meeting:

  • Listen to what your employer has to say but do not respond to any offer made. Say you’ll consider what your employer has said and come back to them. You are entitled to take reasonable time to consider the offer being put to you. The ACAS code specifies this should be a minimum of 10 days.
  • Make sure you take detailed notes and ask for any offer to be put in writing to you.
  • Clarify any points which you are not sure of, for example, will you be expected to work your notice period?

Don’t make any decision or agree to any offer before you have spoken to a specialist employment solicitor who can help you. At MLP Law, our specialist employment team regularly provide advice on protected conversations and settlement agreements. We also assist with negotiations around a settlement package and employment tribunal claims.

For more information on protected conversations and what to, or if you would like any further information, 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.