MyLawyer Personal Blog

Comment and updates on personal law

Hands off its mine!!! An update on the legal status of prenuptial agreements

Sarah-Varani-150x150Currently couples can make nuptial agreements before or during their marriage or civil partnership to set out how their property and finances will be dealt with if they were to separate or divorce.

Although the courts in the UK have begun to recognise the validity and importance of prenuptial agreements in “the right circumstances” following the landmark case of Katrin Radmacher and Nichols Granatino in 2010 (where the Supreme Court said that their prenuptial agreement should be given “decisive weight”), there is no guarantee that such agreements will be upheld creating uncertainty for both parties.

However, the Law Commission published a report, Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements on 27 February 2014 and recommended amongst other things that prenuptial agreements should be legally enforceable after the needs of the parties and any children have been met.

The report includes the draft” Nuptial Agreements Bill” which if passed will make “qualifying prenuptial agreements” legally binding.
Continue reading “Hands off its mine!!! An update on the legal status of prenuptial agreements” »

“That was my first instinct — to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was a greater need to protect myself…….”

Sarah-Varani-150x150You’ve written your will and are happy that you have protected your nearest and dearest after you have passed away but what about looking after yourself during your lifetime?

A lasting power of attorney is specifically designed to protect you during your lifetime should you ever lose capacity due to accident, illness, infirmity or old age (or if you just can’t be bothered with the hassle of managing your own affairs at some stage in the future). Whilst we all hope the worst will never happen unfortunately one of those events is likely to happen to most people.

By 2025, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. One in five people over 85 already suffers from it, with rates significantly higher among women than men.

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) should be seen simply as a piece of insurance providing protection that you may need at some stage in the future and something that protects your wishes it is very important if you are a couple but is absolutely vital if you are single.

There are two different types of lasting power of attorney:

•    health and welfare
•    property and financial affairs

It is up to you whether you decide to make one type or both but you must be 18 or over and have mental capacity – the ability to make your own decisions – when you make your LPA(s). You may need a court-appointed deputy instead if you’re not able to make your own decisions.
Continue reading ““That was my first instinct — to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was a greater need to protect myself…….”” »

“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray…”

Sarah-Varani-150x150You’ve worked hard all year, done all that preparation and packing  and been looking forward to sunning yourself on a beach, a spot of sightseeing or even a more active holiday , so it’s extremely aggravating when that holiday does not live up to your expectations for one reason or another. Where a holiday has not lived up to the standards you anticipated because of a fault on the part of for example the travel company, airline or accommodation provider, it may be possible to claim not only for the cost of the holiday, but compensation for the loss of enjoyment. Continue reading ““The best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray…”” »

The ‘right to die’ debate: an update on the legal position

Debbie-Haskell-150x150The Universal Declaration of Human Rights can occasionally be seen as giving rise to controversial discussions particularly once the basic tenets are interpreted and re-interpreted, especially with regard to unique circumstances. One such matter is the emotive debate considering the ‘right to die’ which regularly appears in the media today. It may surprise some to know that this is not a new or modern debate; views on the right of an individual to end their own life have been recorded from at least the classical era, and the views and reasoning expressed are not dissimilar to those of today.
Continue reading “The ‘right to die’ debate: an update on the legal position” »

“We live we die and the wheels on the bus go round and round”

Sarah-Varani-150x150“Empires collapse, Civilizations disappear, Health deteriorates, bodies turn to ash, but life will always go on”

A bucket list of 50 things to do before you die might include sky diving and swimming with dolphins but bearing in mind the above musings one of the items on the list should probably be making a Will. A Will is much more than a means of distributing your property when you’re gone especially if you have children. Even if you already have a Will you should make sure it is kept up to date, for example if you remarry then an existing Will is revoked. Continue reading ““We live we die and the wheels on the bus go round and round”” »

Lost Luggage – Your Rights

Debbie-Haskell-150x150Summer is (finally!) here and it’s time to slip on your holiday shoes and get away from the rat race for a short time. Your bags are packed and the sunscreen’s on but when your feet set down at your perfect holiday destination your bags don’t!

Your airline has lost them and so begins the merry go round. You’ve waited patiently by the carousel for your luggage only to realise that it is not there, then you queue up to a desk to speak to a member of staff to report the loss. There may be forms to fill and you may have to ring them every day to see where they are and your perfect break is ruined. Continue reading “Lost Luggage – Your Rights” »

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Sarah-Varani-150x150However in both instances you can do some forward planning by drawing up a Will and consulting an accountant. In a digital world though, a Will may not be enough to safeguard your treasured digital possessions. There are numerous legal, cultural, and technical issues that could prevent access to these records, and if you don’t take steps to make them available to your nearest and dearest, your digital legacy could be lost forever.

Currently, your personal representatives (executors appointed under your Will or administrators appointed by the court if you were to die intestate) have the legal authority to deal with your affairs. They are obliged amongst other things to collect in and protect any assets including any digital assets you may have, settling any debts and expenses and distributing in accordance with your Will or under the intestacy rules. Digital assets have value, sometimes sentimental, and sometimes an intrinsic monetary one, just like a boxful of jewellery.
Continue reading ““In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”” »

What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine… or is it?

Debbie-Haskell-150x150Family lawyers have been watching the case of Prest v. Prest with keen interest over the last five years but particularly this month when the Supreme Court was asked to intercede between Mrs Prest and Petrodel Resources Limited. This case was unusual, not just because it was a high profile big money case but because it was not the actual division of the marital assets which was in dispute but rather how it was to be paid and from whose assets.

The husband was a man of substantial means, estimated by the court to be in the region of £37.5 million although his wife suggested to the court that he was worth considerably more. On divorce the wife was awarded £17.5 million in addition to £24,000 per annum plus the children’s school fees. As Mr Prest was not co-operative the original judge, Moylan J, concluded that it was unlikely that he would comply with the courts decision, an order was made requiring that several different offshore companies transfer the properties into the ex wife’s name as part payment. This was based on the wife successfully arguing that the properties were in effect wholly owned and controlled by Mr Prest.
Continue reading “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine… or is it?” »

Are property laws for unmarried couples unfair? The myth of the common law wife

Debbie-Haskell-150x150As I blogged recently, the number of cohabitating couples has steadily increased in the past years however it is still not uncommon for unmarried couples to ask about their common law rights.

Unfortunately even though a couple may have been living together for many years as husband and wife and perhaps even had children together, the law still treats co-habiting couples differently to married ones and no rights are acquired based on the length of the relationship. As such there is no express legislation that separating couples can refer to if their relationship breaks down; instead they have to rely upon a mixture of trust, property and contract law. Continue reading “Are property laws for unmarried couples unfair? The myth of the common law wife” »

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

Sarah-Varani-150x150Researchers at The University of Leicester published a paper on the association between sedentary time in adults and the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death. They collected data from 18 individual studies and concluded there was a 112% increase in the relative risk of diabetes, a 147% increase in cardiovascular events and a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality.

The risk seemed independent of how much activity you were doing outside the sedentary time. Even if an individual went to the gym for 1 hour, it’s what they did with the other 23 hours that seemed to count as well.
Continue reading “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…” »

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