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SPRING CLEAN! Have a legal tidy out.
The daffodils are out on Marine Parade, and the pavements of Leigh Broadway and Rectory Grove are full of coffee drinkers. Even the bars in Old Leigh, and along Leigh Road have started to see the early evening socialites spreading outside. So Spring is definitely in the air, and that means time to tidy up our act. I like to call it a Legal MOT.
There are some things in life that we replace when they break; a washing machine, a car, or a boiler. Annoying and expensive, but essential. There are other things that we update when they look old fashioned or shabby; our clothes, the wallpaper, or a kitchen. But it is not so much fun to decide to spend the time and the money on updating your will, your employment contracts, or the lease of your property. But not doing some of these things could mean that they become much more expensive in the long run, and definitely to say that they are annoying is an understatement.
Think of not taking up to date Inheritance Tax advice, and then your family having a far heavier tax bill when you die than had you taken the advice. Or put another way, your parents openly promising you an inheritance that they are proud to pass on to you, and this is reduced by the advice not being taken in time. Or the will being wrongly drafted so that there is more tax to pay, or even, the wrong beneficiaries receiving monies or property. Think of not putting that Power of Attorney in place, and then needing it urgently.
Not taking pre-nuptial advice because it is more fun to choose outfits and cakes, could lead to serious financial detriment for your own children if you are marrying for the second time, or if you are parents who have made significant gifts to your child as one party to the marriage, you could lose out if advice is not taken.
Living in a leasehold property is great whilst it lasts: there is a freeholder responsible for ensuring that all common parts are kept in a certain way, that the insurance is covered etc. However, if you take your eye off the ball, your lease could be reducing in length so that your property becomes difficult to sell.
Those of us who run businesses often find ourselves chasing around busily building up the business, and it can grow bigger than initial dreams. Whilst this is fantastic and can produce great profits, your employment contracts, terms and conditions of business need regular review to protect the business against time consuming, expensive claims as well as ensuring that your business continues to thrive or is an attractive commodity for a buyer.
And finally, if you think that you have a valid claim against someone for something that they have done wrong, do not leave it too long before seeking proper legal advice. The clock ticks, evidence can be lost and your claim could become more difficult to prove.
So my advice is that just as you replace things at home before they break, take your legal advice before you are desperate. Live Tidy, and Die Tidy, for your family’s sake!
This editoral is by Melinda Giles at Giles Wilson Solicitors.
For legal advice please call 01702 477 106 or visit one of Giles Wilson's offices: 1711 London Road Leigh, 54 Leigh Broadway, 5 Roche Close Rochford