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The George Ide LLP Blog specialises in providing a host of information regarding personal injury claims, what to do in the event of medical negligence, personal grievances and a wide range of other legal matters. From wills and probate to why you should consider an insurance policy, the George Ide blog is designed to provide helpful advice and insight into a number of legal situations.
Blog Added: October 05, 2016 09:15:21 PM
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Deal or no deal? Investors should trust in portfolio quality ahead of an uncertain Brexit

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in March 2017, the pre-referendum campaign had made little mention of the implications for investors. The vote to leave resulted in a significant fall in... The post Deal or no deal? Investors should trust in portfolio quality ahead of an uncertain Brexit appeared first on George...

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in March 2017, the pre-referendum campaign had made little mention of the implications for investors.

The vote to leave resulted in a significant fall in the value of sterling and, in a no-deal Brexit scenario, sterling can be expected to fall again until the markets have adjusted to the new situation.

For all its intransigence, the EU is by no means in a strong economic position and a number of its members are technically bankrupt – in Italy, for example, national debt is greater than total gross domestic product. So should investors be concerned?

It is worth noting that a significant number of companies quoted in the FTSE 100 share index earn a substantial part of their income abroad so, for these businesses, a fall in the value of sterling is not necessarily a bad thing.

It is the uncertainty at the present time that is causing concern, especially in the Conservative party, which has for many years been polarised between Europhiles and Eurosceptics. This was the case in John Major’s government and in part resulted in the Conservatives being out of power for ten years.

Furthermore, because the last general election removed the Conservative majority and left the balance of power with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, Theresa May is unlikely to agree a deal that would fragment the United Kingdom – so what are the prospects of a deal with the EU?

A deal is in the interests of both parties and, although time is now short, a workable deal may still be concluded – after all, it is in no-one’s interest for the situation to be otherwise.

In the meantime investors should trust in the quality of their portfolios, taking time to review quality regularly and taking care to ensure the overall balance of their investments remains appropriate for their requirements. Investments should be spread between low risk such as cash deposits and medium risk such as shares. High risk investing should be avoided.

Those requiring income should take advice because cash deposits are currently yielding returns lower than the Retail Prices Index, which means the possible erosion of capital spending power over the medium term.

For more information about our professional and comprehensive investment advice and wealth management services, call the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

John Atkinson. Chartered Wealth Manager

The post Deal or no deal? Investors should trust in portfolio quality ahead of an uncertain Brexit appeared first on George Ide.



Court puts West Sussex ‘dangerous driver’ behind bars but victim’s fight for injury compensation goes on

For accident victims who have suffered life-changing injury the fight for justice can be a long and arduous process but, despite the constant reminders their injuries bring, most of our clients are focussed positively on... The post Court puts West Sussex ‘dangerous driver’ behind bars but victim’s fight for injury compensation goes on appeared first on George...

For accident victims who have suffered life-changing injury the fight for justice can be a long and arduous process but, despite the constant reminders their injuries bring, most of our clients are focussed positively on getting their lives back – although many find it hard to come to terms with the limitations of the criminal justice system. Too frequently, it seems, drivers who have caused road collisions resulting in devastating injuries are let off lightly by the courts, and even convicted offenders are ultimately able to rebuild their lives relatively unscathed, unlike the injured victims they left in their wake.

It was perhaps heartening, therefore, to hear the outcome of a recent criminal case that may serve as a warning to others. While driving home one summer night last year, our client’s car was hit head-on and smashed into a ditch by a high-powered 4×4 being driven at great speed. Having remained trapped for some time in the smashed wreckage of his car, as a result of the accident our client lost his right leg, amputated just below the knee – the other driver fled the scene and turned up at work the next day with a fabricated story about his car being stolen by an unidentified thief who caused the accident. He maintained this lie for a year until he was forced by the weight of painstaking police forensic evidence finally to admit he was the driver. He eventually pleaded guilty to a number of offences including causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Now that criminal justice has been achieved, the fight for financial compensation goes on and our client, with his cheerful and positive outlook, is continuing to rebuild his life. He is determined to return to his pre-accident activities including football, mountain-walking and cycling and, in a bid to regain as much leg function as possible without adding to the existing pressures on the National Health Service, he is being assessed privately for his first prosthetic limb.

Although dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, especially when they prove reluctant to accept responsibility for making interim payments or to engage in the rehabilitation process, we find that our clients’ inspirational bravery eventually tends to win through.

For more information about personal injury law or for advice and support after being injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Paul Fretwell. Partner, Personal Injury department

 

The post Court puts West Sussex ‘dangerous driver’ behind bars but victim’s fight for injury compensation goes on appeared first on George Ide.



Gifting can reduce your Inheritance Tax bill – but your best interest must prevail

Attorneys and deputies currently have limited authority when it comes to making gifts from a protected party’s estate. By law, they can only make decisions for a person who is no longer able to do... The post Gifting can reduce your Inheritance Tax bill – but your best interest must prevail appeared first on George...

Attorneys and deputies currently have limited authority when it comes to making gifts from a protected party’s estate. By law, they can only make decisions for a person who is no longer able to do so and unlikely to be able to do so in the future.

In general, gifts can only be made to a charity or to a family member, friend or acquaintance on a ‘customary occasion’ such as a birthday, and the gift must be of a reasonable value compared with the size of the estate. Outside these requirements, a gift can only be made with the approval of the Court of Protection.

Increasingly, attorneys and deputies are considering the gifting process as an integral part of inheritance tax planning. Inheritance tax (IHT) mitigation can be a significant factor when making gifts, but this often has to be approved by the Court of Protection.

Earlier this year a Court of Protection judge ruled that IHT mitigation should not be considered an independent factor when deciding a person’s best interest in favour of making a gift. In this case, an attorney applied to the Court of Protection for simultaneous approval of a statutory will and a substantial lifetime gift worth about £7m. The estate was valued at approximately £18.5m, so the arrangement had the potential to reduce IHT liability by up to £2.6m.

The judge had to be persuaded that the gift was in the donor’s best interest according the terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This sets out the criteria for deciding on the principle of best interest, including a consideration of the donor’s past and present wishes, feelings, and beliefs.

In this case, the advance gifting was deemed to be in line with the donor’s wishes as stated in an earlier will in favour of her son and several charities. Aged 74, the donor suffered from dementia and lived in residential care; her life expectancy was estimated at three to five years. Because of the substantial size of her estate, the gift would not jeopardise her ability to meet future care costs – the balancing factors in favour of the proposed gifts outweighed those against it.

If you would like to know more about the implications of inheritance tax, or need advice on a Court of Protection or Deputyship matter, contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Stephen Shine. Chartered Legal Executive. Private Client department.

 

The post Gifting can reduce your Inheritance Tax bill – but your best interest must prevail appeared first on George Ide.



Leasehold property owners, beware! Ignoring your obligations could cost you dearly

Before buying a leasehold property it is important to understand there are fundamental differences between leasehold and freehold property ownership. Buying a leasehold property does give you the right to own the property – but... The post Leasehold property owners, beware! Ignoring your obligations could cost you dearly appeared first on George...

Before buying a leasehold property it is important to understand there are fundamental differences between leasehold and freehold property ownership. Buying a leasehold property does give you the right to own the property – but only for the length of your lease.

Many leases have long lives, up to 999 years in some cases, although where there is a leasehold interest there will also be a freehold interest held by the individual or corporate freehold owner. The relationship between a freeholder and a leaseholder is ongoing – any leaseholder who ignores the obligations placed on them by their lease does so at their peril, risking disaster for themselves and potentially a huge windfall for their freeholder.

A certain Charles McCadden of London recently discovered just this. He purchased a leasehold flat, one of two apartments in a converted house. Significantly, he did not have a mortgage. The other flat was occupied by the freeholder. Charles undertook some substantial refurbishment work in his flat without seeking the freeholder’s consent that was required by his lease. He also failed to pay the maintenance charges due under his lease.

Believing his leaseholder to be in breach of his lease, the freeholder sought a breach declaration from the First Tier Tribunal (Property) then, armed with this declaration, the freeholder applied to the county court to ‘forfeit’ the lease. This type of court ruling can be served on a mortgage lender who, well aware of the risks, would be likely to take steps to ensure the leaseholder acted to obtain ‘relief’ from this forfeiture by putting things right in the property and making any outstanding payments. However, in the absence of a lender and for reasons known only to himself, Charles did not act to obtain relief from the forfeiture – so the freeholder was able to acquire the flat, gaining what amounted to a £600,000 windfall.

The moral of this story? Always take the obligations of a lease seriously and never ignore relevant correspondence. If you do not live in the premises – if, for example, you have bought to let – make sure the freeholder and any agents managing the property know how to contact you. And if you are receiving demands for outstanding payments or are being threatened, take legal advice promptly.

If you would like to know more about landlord and tenant law or need advice and support concerning an issue that is affecting you, contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at: info@georgeide.co.uk.

Ian Oliver

Partner- Dispute Resolution

 

The post Leasehold property owners, beware! Ignoring your obligations could cost you dearly appeared first on George Ide.



Helping ensure access to justice for everyone, one step at a time

Last week almost 100 members of the legal community in Chichester took part in a sponsored walk around the city to raise money for the area’s free-advice agencies. Many local lawyers volunteer regularly to assist... The post Helping ensure access to justice for everyone, one step at a time appeared first on George...

Last week almost 100 members of the legal community in Chichester took part in a sponsored walk around the city to raise money for the area’s free-advice agencies. Many local lawyers volunteer regularly to assist them – for my part I cannot praise highly enough the valuable work carried out by our local Citizens Advice bureau.

Access to justice for everyone regardless of their financial situation is a principle that has for years been a cornerstone of our legal justice system. Sadly, however, these days it is not always the norm.

On Tuesday 11 September, Harriet Harman MP spoke to an all-parliamentary group on legal aid and outlined the impact of legal aid cuts on enforcing human rights. In 1979, 77 per cent of the population was eligible for civil legal aid; that figure has now dropped to 25 per cent. This stark statistic shows how many people in our community now have no possibility of help with legal fees and rely instead on local free-advice agencies.

At inquests and public enquiries I often see those who have lost their loved ones having to cope unrepresented, in contrast to a person or organisation that may have had a part in causing their loved one’s death being represented by top barristers. Mrs Harman talked about the importance of ensuring equality of arms, offering the example of the inquest into the 2009 fire at Lakanal House in the London borough of Southwark. She said that the people who had been in the neighbouring block, who had to watch their neighbours’ children in body bags and put their own children to bed every night in an identical block, had no legal aid so no financial support for legal representation. They sat in the coroner’s inquest and heard safety issues talked about, but had no voice.

That may be an extreme example, but it shows how legal advice could have made a huge difference to those affected – debt, homelessness or employment issues are other situations in which people so often struggle alone.

If you are in need and do not know which way to turn, do not forget about your local branch of Citizens Advice and, if you are able to support their valuable work, please do what you can.

For more information, help, and advice on the full range of legal matters, talk to the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Claire Watson. Partner & Head of Personal Injury

The post Helping ensure access to justice for everyone, one step at a time appeared first on George Ide.



The Civil Liability Bill – a tilt too far for our legal playing field?

Members of the public might consider that, on returning from their long vacation, our MPs will set about the most urgent tasks. You might not consider that one of the first matters that they will... The post The Civil Liability Bill – a tilt too far for our legal playing field? appeared first on George...

Members of the public might consider that, on returning from their long vacation, our MPs will set about the most urgent tasks. You might not consider that one of the first matters that they will be dealing with is the Civil Liability Bill. The Government, following many years of insurance company lobbying and discussion, is seeking to impose a tariff on whiplash damages and increase the low-value claims limit in the county courts to £5,000 for motor accidents and £2,000 for employer and public liability claims. Such a tariff would significantly reduce the compensation for cases in which the effects of a claimant’s injuries last up to two years.

Previously, damages awards have been subject to the scrutiny and discretion of a judge with access to previous cases for guidance. In future, it seems, should you be unfortunate enough to suffer a motor accident that is not your fault, you are likely to receive a much-reduced amount in compensation for exactly the same injuries.

The proposed increase in the small claims limit would effectively mean that more than 80 per cent of motor accident claims will in future be dealt with in person by the claimant, while a significant number of public liability claims will also have to be dealt with by litigants in person.

British justice has always required the law to provide a level playing field. To that end, the suggestion that has been made is that claimants – injured accident victims – will be able to attend their local court office for help and assistance. But many regional courts, including in Chichester, are earmarked for closure. As a litigant in person, injury claimants are up against a powerful insurance company with deep pockets and experienced legal teams. The insurer’s lawyers will, for example, have access to desk-top and on-site investigations, fraud identification and triage, and have tried and tested methods to predict their opponents’ strategy using sophisticated claimant behaviour tracking systems. Hardly a level playing field, then, for a litigant in person who, as well as facing the legal process alone, is likely to have had to travel many miles to attend the court hearing.

The bill is still being discussed in Parliament so, if you would like to make your voice heard on this important matter, you can speak directly to your MP. In the meantime, if you would like advice on an injury claim, please contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668, or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Garry Sleet. Personal injury department

The post The Civil Liability Bill – a tilt too far for our legal playing field? appeared first on George Ide.



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