Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Legal

A care home in Tameside has been named as one of the top 20 in the North West after a string of positive reviews from residents’ relatives and friends.

Auden House, on Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, scored 9.9 out of 10 in reviews posted on the www.carehome.co.uk website.

It is one of just five in Greater Manchester and the only one in Tameside to feature in the website’s Top 20 Care Home Awards for 2019.

Auden House, which has 24 beds and 28 staff, is owned by Dr Judith Stockton and John Evans, who bought the business in 2006. The two-storey building, built in the early 20th century, has been extended to provide more beds and a conservatory communal area.

Judith and John have also introduced a range of green measures, including the installation of solar panels and solar collectors which give hot water, and an air source heat pump system which heats the building.

Rainwater harvesting will soon be introduced. Rainwater will be collected from the roof and used to flush the home’s toilets and to do the residents’ laundry.

Judith said: “We are delighted to feature as one of the top 20 care homes in the north west. It’s recognition of our efforts to ensure Auden House provides exceptional care in homely surroundings, and for our friendly staff who strive to fulfil the golden years for all our residents.”

Auden House is a long-standing client of Tameside law firm Bromleys.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell said: “We have acted for Judith and John for many years, originally advising on their acquisition of Auden House and then the extension to the property.

“Auden House has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere which is held in high regard.

“More recently, we acted for the couple on their acquisition of the Woodlands Care Centre, which is a fantastic 23-bed care home in Macclesfield.

“Expansion plans are already under way for Woodlands, to include additional
en-suite bedrooms and another communal lounge area that will add to the relaxation space for residents.

“It is great to see investment in this sector in what have been difficult times, with continued pressure on fees and the regulatory backdrop.”

Among the reviews of Auden House posted on carehome.co.uk were ones saying:

  • “I have been visiting my friend for several years. When she first came here, I assured her that this would be the nearest place to heaven on earth that could ever be. This opinion has never changed. My friend is extremely happy here.”
  • “I find this home a great place for my mother. She is well-treated, the home is very clean, great caring staff, and mum loves the food.”
  • “My mother-in-law has recently gone to live at Auden House. I am amazed at how happy and settled she is, all the staff are so caring and supportive. It is a big relief to know that she is safe and well cared for and, even more importantly, that she is happy and treated with dignity.”
  • “My Nanna has settled into Auden House very well, mainly due to the care and attitude of all the staff. Nothing is too much to ask, and all staff are friendly and happy and treat all the residents with great respect and humour. We are very lucky my Nanna is living somewhere she feels safe and comfortable.”

 

Bromleys’ Laura Stansfield has been appointed as a governor of award-winning Tameside College.

Laura, who is the head of Bromleys’ wills, probate and planning for the future department, said she aims to assist the college by using her skills, experience and insight to help improve the life chances of its students.

Tameside College, which operates from four sites in Ashton-under-Lyne, has 6,500 students and 360 staff.

It is led by principal Jackie Moores, who said: “We are delighted to welcome Laura as a college governor.

“Our governing body already includes people who work in education; human resources, local government and finance, and we were seeking someone with legal expertise to expand the skill base.

“We approached Bromleys because the firm is a key local employer with whom we have worked in partnership for a while.

“Staff from Bromleys have been guest speakers at our careers events, and we have seen how the firm makes a great contribution to the area in other ways.

“Laura fits the bill perfectly to be successful as a governor and hopefully she will enjoy her role and see it as a positive way of giving back to the community.”

Speaking about her role, Laura said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to be a board member and play a role in strengthening the local economy.

“The college not only provides education but also prepares students for the workplace. There is a big difference between knowing how to do something on paper and being ready to go out into the world. The college works hard with local businesses to develop the skills necessary for its students to be ready to take on a job.

“I feel very privileged to be part of this and be able to give something back to the local community.

“I have been very fortunate to have a good education and career and would like to use the skills I have to help others where I can.”

 

The Ministry of Justice has initiated a programme of closing down regional probate registries and moving the service under one roof.

It is understood that some staff at the 10 remaining sites across England and Wales have been told of intentions to scale back their operations and eventually close down the sites.

These changes come as part a wider modernisation programme costing £1bn to upgrade the courts and tribunals service. It is hoped the service will be improved by bringing together shared expertise.

There is however a concern amongst practitioners that the changes will lead to a removal of face-to-face service for work that often requires familiarity with and trust in those administering it. Questions are being raised asked about why probate services are being cut when the government plans to increase fees.

The eventual plan is to move probate services to the Courts and Tribunals Service Centre in Birmingham, with some administrative work taking place at a second site. A spokesperson for HM Courts & Tribunals Service said that ‘no staff have been put on notice of redundancy and the department is ‘working hard to ensure it stays that way’.

Documents issued last year by the judiciary revealed court reforms could result in the loss of 6,500 jobs by 2022.

Meanwhile, the proposals to create a banded structure for probate fees, based on the size of the estate, remain uncertain due to the current Brexit-related turmoil in parliament. Under the proposed scheme estates worth £2m or more would pay £6,000 instead of £155.

The new fee structure is expected to bring in additional income of £145m in the next financial year and is seen as a ‘stealth tax’.

When the new fee structure comes in, it will be difficult for many families to navigate along with negotiating Inheritance Tax and the different allowances available and there will be further delays in applying for probate, when district registries close, which you must do before being able to administer the estate and cash in assets.

How we can help

Contact Laura Stansfield, Sue Darlington or Susanne Furness in our Wills, Probate & Planning for the Future department to discuss how one of our team of experts can help guide you through this process.

Email: lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk; sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk sfurness@bromleys.co.uk

Tel: 0161 330 6821

 

The Government has announced new legislation to overhaul divorce and reduce family conflict.

Divorcing couples will no longer need to blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage following an announcement by the Justice Secretary David Gauke.

The proposed legislation will update the 50-year-old divorce law which has been shown to exacerbate conflict. The current laws are excessively harsh and demand that the Petitioner proves fault as a ground for divorce: unreasonable behaviour; adultery; desertion or to prove a period of separation to show that a marriage has broken down irretrievably.

At present, a small minority of cases are defended, which is a practice misused by abusers choosing to contest a divorce to continue their coercive and controlling behaviour.  The new legislation will bring an end to defended divorces.

The new proposals for changes in the law will include: –

  • Retaining the irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground for divorce.
  • Replace the requirement to provide evidence of fault with a requirement to provide a statement of irretrievable breakdown.
  • Retaining the two-stage legal process currently referred to as decree nisi and decree absolute.
  • Creating the option of a joint application for divorce, alongside retaining the option of one party being able to initiate the process.
  • Removing the ability to defend a divorce.
  • Introducing a minimum timeframe of 6 months, from the petition stage to the final dissolution [20 weeks from the petition stage to decree nisi; 6 weeks from decree nisi to decree absolute].

The 20 week timeframe is designed to allow the parties to have a meaningful period of reflection and the opportunity to change their minds.  The 20 week period will also enable couples to reach agreement on practical arrangements in the future.  The new legislation will enable divorcing couples to separate with dignity and less conflict.

How we can help

Should you need any advice in relation to divorce or relationship breakdown, or any matters arising from those,  please do not hesitate to contact our expert family team on  0161 330 6821 or email:

Keith Bull – kbull@bromleys.co.uk

Denise Pinder – dpinder@bromleys.co.uk

Kristie Fawcett – kfawcett@bromleys.co.uk

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

Davis Blank Furniss has promoted property lawyer Jennifer Smith to partner and Lewis Thompson, private client solicitor, to associate solicitor.

Jennifer joined the firm in 2013 and handles all aspects of commercial and residential property, including commercial property sales and acquisitions, advising on business tenancies for landlords and tenants, and sales, purchases and re-mortgages of residential properties.

Lewis Thompson was appointed in March 2017 and works in the firm’s Glossop office. He specialises in all areas of private client work including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Court of Protection matters and Probate.

Also, Charlotte Tyrer has been admitted as a solicitor in the Family and Private Client Departments following the successful completion of her training contract.

Kate Oldfield – managing partner – said: “Both these promotions are incredibly well deserved. Jennifer and Lewis have worked extremely hard and have shown tremendous commitment and energy to our clients and are central to the firm’s future. We are also delighted that Charlotte is continuing her career at Davis Blank Furniss and I have no doubt that she will be an outstanding addition to the team.”

Jennifer added: “Being promoted to partner is a real milestone in my career, but my focus will continue to be on adding value to my team, the wider business and our clients.”

 

Two staff members at Bromleys Solicitors have qualified as mental health first-aiders as the firm enhances the wellbeing services it offers to its team.

Associate solicitor Laura Stansfield and legal cashier Hailie Applegate undertook a two-day Mental Health First Aid course with training provider St John Ambulance.

Mental Health First Aid, which was launched in England by the Department of Health in 2007, is a training scheme which teaches people practical skills to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue in a non-judgmental and confidential way, and to offer advice and guidance on where they can seek the right support.

Louise Nolan, practice manager at Bromleys, said: “These qualifications demonstrate our commitment to enhancing the services we provide to staff which focus on their well-being, and we are looking at ways to improve this further.”

Laura, the head of Bromleys’ wills, probate and planning for the future department, said: “Mental health is less the taboo subject that it used to be, but there is still very much a general lack of understanding and support.

“Our role is to help anyone who might have a problem and to be a first port-of-call.

“Through our training, we have been given resources that we can refer on, and guidance on how to help people seek the professional help they may need.

“We are not here to judge or diagnose, only to assist people.”

Hailie, who works in the accounts department, said: “I hate the thought of anybody feeling completely lost and like they have nobody to turn to, so when the opportunity arose I really wanted to be involved.

“Life can be overwhelming at the best of times. There are occasions when people feel unable to cope or they don’t know where to turn in a mental health crisis.

“We hope to be that ‘safe place’ for everyone at Bromleys, by giving advice regarding coping strategies for stress, signposting towards professionals or simply being a non-judgmental ear.”

Nationally, mental health issues cost employers an estimated £35bn a year in sickness absence, reduced productivity and substituting staff members who are off work, according to MHFA England

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that, in 2016, 15.8 million work days in the UK were lost due to mental illness, while NHS England says approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health illness each year.

Hailie, (left) and Laura are pictured with their certificates.

Davis Blank Furniss and Capstone Financial Management to stage free Inheritance Tax & Estate Planning event

Glossop firms Davis Blank Furniss and Capstone Financial Management are joining forces to stage an exclusive evening event that will tackle the complex issues around Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning.

The event, which is free to attend, will take place at Glossop Golf Club on Thursday 25th April.

Topics will include how the value of a property can leave home owners vulnerable to inheritance tax and the ways you can plan to mitigate this tax.  Guests will also be given essential up-to-date information regarding Wills, Trusts, Lasting Power of Attorney and how they can be used to plan for later life care fees and reduce the potential worry for your family and beneficiaries.

Andrew Williamson – Executive Director at Capstone Financial Management – said: “Families are now paying more in inheritance tax than ever before so it is essential everyone knows the facts about what they can and can’t do in terms of their estate planning.”

Lewis Thompson – Associate Solicitor at Davis Blank Furniss – added: “Inheritance tax and estate planning are incredibly complex so our focus will be on cutting through the jargon and providing relevant information that guests can apply to their own situations.”

Places at the event can be confirmed by contacting Holly Smith on 01457 601 608 or via email: hollys.capstone@sjpp.co.uk 

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) conceded on 27th March that the planned changes to probate fees, which could see some rising by more than 3,000%, will not come into force on 1 April as originally intended.

A spokesperson for the MoJ confirmed that the statutory instrument (SI) bringing the revised fee scheme into force would not be laid this week and that Brexit matters had taken precedence.

The plans mean that probate charges would be linked to the size of the estate. Estates valued at more than £2m would be charged £6,000. At present there is a flat fee £155 for those applying through a solicitor (or £215 for a personal application).

Usually, a SI passes unchallenged unless there is a formal objection – all that is required is that the name of the SI is read out before the House and for no-one to shout ‘object’.

It has however been indicated there will be objections. There is no date for when the SI will be laid. If and when the SI is passed it usually takes 21 days to come into force so there is no chance of it being ready for 1st April.

How Bromleys can help

Contact Laura Stansfield, Sue Darlington or Susanne Furness in our Wills, Probate & Planning for the Future department to discuss how one of our team of experts can help guide you through this process.

Email: lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk; sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk sfurness@bromleys.co.uk

Tel: 0161 330 6821

Supreme Court has recently decided on a case (Regency Villas Title Ltd and others v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd and another) that raised the issue of whether a right to use sporting and recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool, tennis courts and gardens (amongst others), can form the basis of an easement (a valid enforceable right over another person’s land) under the test set out in the case of Re Ellenborough Park.

At the centre of this case was a development of timeshare apartments in the early 1980s. The development consisted of a country estate that was subsequently divided between Elham House, which comprised the 26 timeshare apartments, and Broome Park, where the sporting and recreational facilities were located.

When the estate was divided, the transfer of the timeshare apartments contained for the respective owners a right from “time to time . . . to use the swimming pool, golf course, squash courts, tennis courts, the ground and basement floor of Broome Park Mansion House, gardens and any other sporting or recreational facilities . . .”

The facilities were also used in common by members of the public, and it was intended that the income generated from them would cover the ongoing maintenance costs. The transfer of the apartments did not contain a clause requiring the owners to contribute towards the maintenance of the facilities.

The facilities began to fall into disrepair and the owners of the apartments made voluntary payments towards the upkeep and maintenance. In approximately 2000, the outdoor pool was filled in and an indoor pool was built in the basement of Mansion House (forming part of the Broome Park estate).

The owners of the apartments subsequently sought a declaration that they were entitled by way of an easement to the free use of all of the sporting and recreational facilities that may be provided at Broome Park.

This case worked its way through the High Court, Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court, where it was held that the right to use sporting and recreational facilities as granted in the transfer in the early 1980s could form an easement.

Moving forward, this means that the grant of purely recreational rights over land could be capable of forming an easement provided that the four-point test in the Re Ellenborough Park case could be met.

This case is important as the Supreme Court has extended the law to recognise a new type of easement, and has tried to accommodate the common law to new types of property ownership and new ways of enjoying land.

It has significant implications for owners of an estate subject to recreational rights, or for developers considering granting such rights, as it may prohibit what the owner of an estate may be able to do with it in future. Estate owners and developers should therefore carefully consider the contents of any conveyances and transfers granting such rights to determine the extent of those rights and the repairing obligations/requirements for contributing towards repairs.

How we can help?

For advice relating to rights and easements, or indeed any other property law matters, please contact Paul Westwell at pwestwell@bromleys.co.uk or Martin Blaylock at mblaylock@bromleys.co.uk or on 0161 330 6821. Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries – no appointment necessary.

 

The head of Bromleys’ family law team has achieved a milestone by becoming the only solicitor in Greater Manchester to be accredited by the Resolution organisation in four different specialist areas.

Resolution is an organisation of family lawyers and other professionals who are committed to constructive, non-confrontational ways to resolve divorce, separation and other family-related legal issues.

Keith Bull already held Resolution accreditations in the fields of domestic abuse, finances and private children matters.

Now he has also been accredited as an expert in cohabitation disputes relating to land and financial issues.

He is one of just five lawyers in the Manchester area to be recognised by Resolution for the cohabitation specialism.

Mark Hirst, senior partner at Bromleys, said: “Keith’s latest accreditation strengthens his position as one of the region’s leading experts in family law.

“It’s a significant achievement because Resolution’s accreditation scheme is immensely challenging and is a quality mark which sets Keith apart from his peers.”

Keith said: “I am delighted to be recognised by Resolution as a specialist in four areas after passing rigorous assessments of my knowledge, abilities and the manner in which I deal with family law cases.

“Upholding the Resolution code of practice is at the heart of the work I do and I’m proud to be part of an organisation working to transform the way that family law is practised.”

 

For more information visit www.bromleys.co.uk