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  • What is a Settlement Agreement?
    A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between an employer and an employee, usually used to resolve disputes or end the employment relationship on agreed terms. It typically involves the employer providing financial compensation to the employee in exchange for the employee agreeing not to pursue any further claims against the employer.
  • Can an Employee Negotiate The Terms of a Settlement Agreement?
    Yes, employees have the right to negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement. They can propose changes to the terms offered by the employer, such as the amount of compensation, the wording of confidentiality clauses, or any other provisions they feel are necessary.
  • What Should Be Included in a Settlement Agreement?
    A settlement agreement should include details such as the amount of compensation or payment to the employee, any terms regarding confidentiality, a waiver of claims, and any other relevant provisions. Both parties should seek legal advice before signing to ensure that their rights are protected.
  • What Happens if an Employee Breaches a Settlement Agreement?
    If an employee breaches a settlement agreement, such as by disclosing confidential information or pursuing further legal action against the employer in violation of the agreement, the employer may have grounds to take legal action to enforce the terms of the agreement. This could include seeking damages or other remedies through the courts.
  • When Are Settlement Agreements Used?
    Settlement agreements are often used in situations such as redundancy, dismissal, discrimination, or other employment disputes where both parties agree to resolve the matter without going to court or tribunal. They can also be used to terminate employment on mutually agreed terms.
  • Can a Settlement Agreement Include Non-Financial Terms?
    Yes, settlement agreements can include non-financial terms, such as agreements regarding references, announcements about the termination, non-disparagement clauses, or agreements to return company property.
  • Are Settlement Agreements Legally Binding?
    Yes, settlement agreements are legally binding contracts once signed by both parties. However, for the agreement to be valid, the employee must obtain independent legal advice from a qualified advisor, usually a solicitor, who signs a certificate confirming that advice has been given.
  • Can I Apply To Become a Deputy For Someone Who Already Has a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
    Generally, if someone already has an LPA in place, there is no need to apply for deputyship. The appointed attorney(s) under the LPA will have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the person lacking capacity. Deputyship is typically considered when there is no valid LPA in place.
  • Can I Be Removed as a Deputy?
    Yes, a deputy can be removed or replaced if the court finds that they are no longer suitable or are not fulfilling their duties properly. This could happen if the court receives complaints or concerns about the deputy's actions, mismanagement of funds, or failure to act in the best interests of the person lacking capacity. The court has the power to revoke the deputyship and appoint a new deputy if necessary.
  • Can I Be Reimbursed For Being a Deputy?
    Yes, deputies are generally entitled to claim reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their duties. This can include expenses related to travel, postage, telephone calls, or any other costs directly related to acting as a deputy. However, deputies cannot charge for their time or services unless the court has specifically authorised it.
  • What is a Deputyship?
    Deputyship in the UK refers to a legal arrangement where someone is appointed as a deputy to make decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. This typically occurs when someone has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and becomes unable to make decisions due to an illness, disability, or injury.
  • How Can I Become a Deputy?
    To become a deputy, you need to apply to the Court of Protection. The court will assess your suitability to act as a deputy and may require you to provide certain information and documentation. The process involves completing application forms, providing supporting documents, and paying the necessary fees.
  • Can You Sell a Property If You Have Deputyship?
    Yes. They will need to obtain an order from the Court of Protections granting authority for the sale.
  • Can I Apply To Be a Deputy For More Than One Person?
    Yes, it is possible to apply to be a deputy for multiple individuals. However, each application will be assessed separately, and the Court of Protection will consider your capacity and ability to fulfil the responsibilities for each individual. It's important to ensure that you can adequately manage the affairs of each person and provide the necessary care and attention required.
  • What Is The Difference Between a Deputy and an Attorney?
    A deputy and an attorney are both legal roles related to decision-making on behalf of someone lacking mental capacity, but they differ in how they are appointed. A deputy is appointed by the Court of Protection when no Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is in place, while an attorney is appointed by the individual through an LPA when they have mental capacity. Deputies are subject to more oversight and reporting requirements compared to attorneys.
  • Can a Deputy Make Decisions About Medical Treatment For The Person Lacking Capacity?
    Deputies have the authority to make decisions about a person's health and welfare, which may include decisions about medical treatment. However, certain medical treatments or interventions may require specific legal authorisation or involvement from healthcare professionals or the court. It's important to consult with medical professionals and follow appropriate procedures when making decisions about medical treatment as a deputy.
  • What Are The Responsibilities of a Deputy?
    As a deputy, you have a legal duty to act in the best interests of the person lacking mental capacity. Your responsibilities may include managing their finances, making decisions about their healthcare and welfare, and handling their property and affairs. You are required to keep detailed records of your decisions and financial transactions.
  • Is My Will Automatically Valid After I Create It?
    For a Will to be valid, it must meet certain legal requirements. It must be in writing, signed by you in the presence of two witnesses who are both present at the same time, and the witnesses must also sign the Will. If these requirements are not met, the Will may be considered invalid. It's advisable to seek professional guidance to ensure your Will is legally valid and properly executed.
  • What Should Be Included In a Will?
    A Will typically includes the following elements: Your personal details: Full name, address, and date of birth. Executors: People responsible for administering your estate and carrying out your wishes. Beneficiaries: Individuals or organizations you wish to inherit your assets. Assets and possessions: A detailed list of your assets, including property, investments, bank accounts, and personal belongings. Guardianship: If you have children who are minors, you can appoint guardians to take care of them. Funeral wishes: Your preferences for burial or cremation, as well as any specific funeral instructions.
  • How Do I Create a Will?
    To create a Will, you have a few options. You can consult a solicitor who can guide you through the process and ensure that your will is legally valid. It's recommended to seek legal advice to ensure it meets all legal requirements.
  • Who Is The Next Of Kin When Someone Dies Without a Will?
    This will depend on a number of circumstances: whether there is a surviving married or civil partner, whether there are children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. If you are not married and you don’t have children, your parents are considered first, followed by your siblings, nieces or nephews, and extended family members.
  • Can An Executor Of a Will Also Inherit?
    In short, yes, an executor can be a beneficiary of a will, in fact, it's quite normal for that to be the case. The only people who cannot be beneficiaries under a will are those who witnessed the will when the deceased signed it.
  • Who Is Your Next of Kin If You’re Not Married?
    If you’re not married and don’t have a will, your children are first in line to inherit your estate. This only includes your biological or adopted children. Foster and stepchildren are generally not considered next of kin in the eyes of the law. If you want them to inherit assets from your estate, you must have a valid will.
  • Can I Change My Will Once Its Created?
    Yes, you can change your will at any time as long as you are mentally competent. This can be done by creating a new will or making a codicil, which is a legal document that amends specific provisions of an existing will. It's important to keep your will up to date to reflect any significant life events or changes in your circumstances.
  • What Is a Will and Why Do I Need One?
    A Will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets and possessions to be distributed after your death. It allows you to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of. Without a will, your estate may be distributed according to the intestacy laws, which may not align with your preferences.
  • Who Distributes The Money From a Will?
    Executor: After someone dies, someone (called the deceased person's 'executor' or 'administrator') must deal with their money and property (the deceased person's 'estate'). They need to pay the deceased person's taxes and debts, and distribute his or her money and property to the people entitled to it.
  • Can I Still Issue Section 21s To Existing Tenants In Wales?
    Section 21 notices no longer exist in Wales, rendering any currently served S21 notices invalid. If you are still within the timeframe of your initial converted contract, which began as a periodic contract on December 1st 2022, you may use form RHW17 up until 31st May 2023 to give two month's notice. From the 1st June 2023 you will need to use form RHW16 to give six month’s notice.
  • How Long Do You Have To Give Tenant Notice in Wales?
    Under Renting Homes (Wales) Act notice periods have changed drastically. Landlords must now give 6 moths ‘’not fault’’ evictions notice period and there cannot be served for the first 6 months of the new occupation contract.
  • What Are My Obligations As a Landlord In Relation To Smoke Alarms In Wales?
    Under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act, it is now mandatory for you to place interconnected fire and smoke alarms, connected to the mains, on each floor of the property. The legislation provides a grace period until 1st December 2023 for existing tenants who resided in the property before 1st December 2022 to comply with this requirement.
  • Can My Tenant Withhold Rent Due To a Fitness For Human Habitation Dispute?
    It depends on your contract. By default, there is a supplementary term allows the contract-holder to refrain from paying rent if the property is not suitable for human habitation. However, this supplementary provision is subject to modification or removal. Even in the absence of this clause, contract-holders have the option to pursue legal remedies and seek compensation if the property is deemed unsuitable for human habitation.
  • What Are My Obligations as a Landlord In Relation To Carbon Monoxide Sensors in Wales?
    By the 1st December 2022, you are required by law to furnish a battery-operated Carbon Monoxide detector in each room that contains a solid fuel-burning device. The provision of these detectors must be completed on 1st December 2022, with no allowance for a grace period. In the event that a tenant interferes with or removes the batteries from the detector, you are not obligated to replace the batteries or repair the detector.
  • Is There a Deadline For Ensuring My Properties Meet Fit For Human Habitation Requirements Wales?
    Under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act your property needs to have the designation of Fit For Human Habitation from 1st December 2022. This means the property cannot be deemed unfit due to any of the 29 identified issues (similar to HHSRS hazards). Additionally, you are required to have carbon monoxide alarms installed in each room with a fuel-burning appliance, obtain an electrical installation condition report (EICR) for the property, and ensure mains-wired interlinked smoke alarms are present on every floor of the property. If your current contract-holders moved in before 1 December 2022, then you are given until 30th November 2023 to fit the smoke alarms and have an EICR done.
  • Do I Need To Serve The Notice About Landlord Address (RHW2) In Wales?
    Your contract says that you must provide information of the Landlords address and it suggests that it should be done separately. There is a prescribed form called RHW2, specifically designed for new contracts. This form must be submitted within 14 days of occupying the premises. For existing contracts that converted on 1st December 2022, you have until 31st May 2023 to issue this information using the RHW2 form.
  • What Is Residential Conveyancing?
    Residential conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a residential property from the seller to the buyer.
  • What Is The Role of a Conveyancing Solicitor?
    A conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer handles the legal aspects of the property transfer, including conducting searches, preparing legal documents and ensuring a smooth transaction.
  • What Searches Are Conducted During The Conveyancing Process?
    Common searches include local authority searches, environmental searches and water and drainage searches. These searches provide information about the property and its surroundings, such as planning permissions, environmental risks, and utility connections.
  • What Is The Difference Between Exchange of Contracts and Completion?
    Exchange of contracts is when the buyer and seller sign and exchange the legally binding contracts. Completion is the final step where the balance of the purchase price is paid, and the property ownership is transferred to the buyer.
  • What Are The Typical Costs Involved In Residential Conveyancing?
    The costs of residential conveyancing typically include legal fees, search fees, Land Registry fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. The total cost can vary depending on the property value and the complexity of the transaction.
  • How Long Does The Conveyancing Process Take?
    The conveyancing process typically takes between 12 to 16 weeks, although it can vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of the transaction and the parties involved.
  • What Is The Difference Between Freehold and Leasehold Property?
    Freehold property means you own the property and the land it sits on outright, while leasehold property means you have a lease agreement with the freeholder to occupy the property for a specified period.
  • What Is The Importance of Exchanging Contracts In The Conveyancing Process?
    Exchanging contracts is a crucial step where the buyer and seller become legally bound to complete the transaction on a specified date. After exchanging contracts, both parties are committed to the purchase or sale of the property.
  • How Does Divorce Affect My Pension Rights?
    Divorce can have implications for pension rights. The court considers pensions as marital assets and may include them in the financial settlement. It is possible to split pension assets, either by sharing or offsetting their value against other assets.
  • What Is The Process of Obtaining a Financial Settlement During a Divorce?
    During a divorce, both parties are expected to disclose their financial information and assets. The court considers factors such as the length of the marriage, financial needs, earning capacity, and contributions made by each party. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court may make a financial order that outlines how assets, property, and debts should be divided.
  • How Does a No Fault Divorce Work?
    To apply for a divorce under the no fault divorce law, you simply need to make an application including a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown’. This is essentially a statement saying that your relationship has broken down to the point that the marriage cannot continue. You can either apply by yourself (a sole application) or together with your spouse (a joint application). How To Get a No Fault Divorce In The UK The basic process for securing a no fault divorce in England and Wales is: File an application (either by yourself or with your spouse) The court ‘issues’ the divorce (this is a formality that legally starts divorce proceedings) Service of the application (for sole applications only, the court will send a copy of the application to the other spouse, referred to as the ‘Respondent’) Acknowledgement of Service (for sole applications only, the Respondent will need to complete an Acknowledgement of Service form to confirm they have received a copy of the application within 14 days of receipt) Conditional Order (a minimum of 20 weeks after the divorce was issued by the court, you can apply for the Conditional Order which confirms that the court sees no reason the divorce cannot go ahead) Final Order (6 weeks after the Conditional Order is granted, you can apply for a Final Order, which legally ends your marriage) RJM Solicitors will be happy to advise you on the no fault divorce process and the issues you need to consider when divorcing, particularly those around finances.
  • What Are The Legal Grounds For Divorce?
    The legal grounds for divorce are as follows: Adultery: Your spouse has committed adultery, and you find it intolerable to live with them. Unreasonable behaviour: Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. Desertion: Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of at least two years. Two years' separation with consent: You and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of at least two years, and your spouse agrees to the divorce. Five years' separation without consent: You and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of at least five years, and your spouse does not need to give consent for the divorce.
  • What Is a No Fault Divorce?
    The new divorce law simplifies the process of divorce and removes the option to contest the divorce. The main changes are detailed below: The parties need only produce a statement of irretrievable breakdown – no blame will be apportioned An application for divorce can be made jointly or by a sole applicant The option of contesting the divorce has been removed There is now a period of reflection – a minimum of 20 weeks – from when the application for divorce is made to when a Conditional Order can be made. This provides a period of reflection for the parties to consider their decision.
  • How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce In The UK?
    The time it takes to get a divorce in the UK can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case and the cooperation between the parties involved. On average, an uncontested divorce (where both parties agree to the divorce) typically takes around 4 to 6 months. However, if the divorce is contested and goes to court, it can take significantly longer, sometimes more than a year.
  • What Are The 2 Types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
    There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – a health and welfare LPA and a property and financial affairs LPA.
  • Can I Change or Revoke a Lasting Power of Attorney?
    Yes, you can change or revoke an LPA as long as you still have mental capacity. You can do this by completing a revocation form and notifying the Office of the Public Guardian. It's also possible to make amendments or add additional attorneys by creating a new LPA or using a separate form to add a supplemental LPA.
  • Can I Make An LPA For Someone Else?
    No, you cannot create an LPA on behalf of someone else. Each individual must create their own LPA while they still have the mental capacity to do so. If someone lacks mental capacity, an application for a deputyship order may be required instead.
  • What Happens If I Don't Have An LPA and Lose Mental Capacity?
    If you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA in place, decisions regarding your financial affairs and welfare may be taken by the Court of Protection through a deputyship order. This process can be time-consuming, costly, and may not align with your preferences.
  • When Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Come Into Effect?
    An LPA can only be used when it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Once registered, it can be used immediately or specified to be used only if you lose mental capacity.
  • Can I Have More Than One Attorney?
    Yes, you can appoint multiple attorneys to act on your behalf. You can specify whether they should make decisions jointly (unanimous agreement required) or jointly and severally (they can act independently or together).
  • What Does a Lasting Power of Attorney Allow You To Do?
    A lasting power of attorney ( LPA ) is a legal document that lets you (the 'donor') appoint one or more people (known as 'attorneys') to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions for yourself due to mental or physical incapacity.
  • How Do I Choose The Right Attorney(s)?
    Choosing the right attorney(s) is crucial. You should select someone you trust implicitly, who understands your wishes, and is capable of making decisions in your best interest. It could be a family member, friend, or a professional such as a solicitor.
  • What Decisions Can My Attorney Make On My Behalf?
    The decisions your attorney can make will depend on the type of LPA you have created. There are two types: a. Property and Financial Affairs LPA: Your attorney can handle financial matters, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, or selling property. b. Health and Welfare LPA: Your attorney can make decisions about your daily routine, medical care, living arrangements, and consent to or refuse medical treatment.
  • Can An Executor Be Removed or Replaced During The Probate Process?
    Yes, in certain circumstances, an executor can be removed or replaced during the probate process. If an executor is not fulfilling their duties, mismanaging the estate, or acting against the best interests of the beneficiaries, it may be possible to apply to the court to have them removed. However, there must be valid grounds and evidence to support the removal or replacement of an executor.
  • What Happens If Someone Challenges The Validity of a Will During Probate?
    If someone challenges the validity of a will during probate, it can lead to a contested probate proceeding. The court will review the evidence and arguments presented by both sides to determine the validity of the will.
  • How Is Inheritance Tax Calculated And When Is It Payable During Probate?
    Inheritance tax is a tax on the estate of a deceased person. It is calculated based on the value of the estate and any applicable exemptions or reliefs. Inheritance tax is generally payable if the estate's value exceeds the inheritance tax threshold, which is subject to change. The tax is typically paid before probate is granted, and it must be settled before the estate can be distributed to beneficiaries.
  • What Does Probate Actually Do?
    Probate is the entire process of administering a dead person's estate. This involves organising their money, assets and possessions and distributing them as inheritance – after paying any taxes and debts. If the deceased has left a Will, it will name someone that they've chosen to administer their estate.
  • Can An Estate Go Through Probate If There Is No Will?
    Yes, an estate can go through probate even if there is no Will. In such cases, the estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which are legal guidelines that determine how assets are divided among the deceased person's closest relatives. The probate process in these situations involves appointing an administrator (instead of an executor) to handle the estate administration.
  • What Are The Duties and Responsibilities Of An Executor During The Probate Process?
    An executor is responsible for managing the deceased person's estate during the probate process. Their duties may include identifying and valuing assets, paying debts and taxes, distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the Will or intestacy laws, and fulfilling any other legal obligations. Executors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.
  • What Does Probate Mean?
    Probate is the legal right to deal with someone's property, money and possessions (their 'estate') when they die.
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