Brighton and Hove Pride 2018 is only a month away and we are pleased to announce our renewed support to the festival for the next 3 years.  This will be our 4th consecutive year of support for Pride, and we are proud to say that MW Solicitors reflects the culture of equality and diversity that Pride represents within our own workforce.

MW Solicitors have over 25 offices across the South Coast and South East of England with offices in Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne, Worthing and Bognor Regis to name just a few and we provide the public with a wide range of consumer legal services including family law and private practice, property conveyancing, civil and criminal litigation and clinical negligence and personal injury practices.

In addition to supporting and sponsoring Brighton and Hove Pride each year, MW Solicitors are proud to provide The Brighton Pride Organisation with its legal services each year.

Supporting equality of opportunity and access to justice are at the core of what MW Solicitors strive to deliver to the communities of Brighton, Hove and all along the south coast as we continue our proud association and support of Brighton and Hove Pride.

Join us at our Free Legal Seminar on 17th July 2018

As well as being involved over the Pride weekend in August both in the Park with our own stand and with our open top bus in the Pride Parade, MW Solicitors are also hosting a free legal seminar open to anyone covering topics such as Surrogacy, Adoption, Pre Nuptial and Cohabitation Agreements and Wills and Declarations of Trust along with other topics of interest.

This will take place at Club Revenge on Tuesday 17th July at 6.30pm and will last around 90 minutes. There will be plenty of time for questions and we will have a broad range of our legal team on hand in support so please do come along to hear where the law and legal processes stand on these important topics, refreshments will be provided.


The Injury Department at McMillan Williams Solicitors have been supporting the bold and colourful Headscapes Art Exhibition at the Jubilee Library in Brighton over the last month, collecting donations, recruiting volunteers and spreading the word of the incredible work the Headway East Sussex brain injury charity do for our community.

The exhibition displayed artwork created by people who have brain injury, many capturing the beauty of Brighton and the South Coast in an adventurous and vibrant style. Art and therapy stimulates many different parts of the brain on both the right and the left sides, which can work to improve the links between the component parts of the brain in order to make it stronger. Headway East Sussex offer art sessions where attendees are able to explore the feelings and emotions that they are experiencing due to brain injury and then express them through art. The sessions are inspired by accomplished artists and art therapy volunteers.

The volunteers from MW received an incredible response to the artwork; children were in awe and adults were fascinated with the influences and visions behind the artwork.

The purpose of the exhibition was not only to provide enjoyment through art form for the Brighton Hove community and beyond, but to raise awareness about the many pathways that Headway East Sussex is able to offer people with brain injuries and their families in their road to recovery.

The exhibition was a huge success and the Injury Department at MW were enthused by the support and great work that the charity and the exhibition have achieved. Working with individuals every day in our specialist teams at MW who have suffered brain injury, we understand the importance of expert rehabilitation and support for our clients and their families which is why we work so closely with Headway East Sussex.

If you would like to find out more about the vital work that Headway East Sussex does, please visit: www.headwayeastsussex.org.uk

We Can Help

The MW team is here to provide expert support and guidance in what will be difficult and challenging times and put you in touch with other organisations that can help such as HEADWAY.  Based on our wealth of experience we will  seek to achieve a financial result that makes a real difference to your long-term security.

If you would like to talk to us about your brain injury case call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us page

 

After many, many months of organising,Thursday 31st May 2018 saw the Chestnut Tree House Charity Quiz Night take place at The Tally Ho Lounge Bar in Eastbourne old town.


Jessica Shale
Jessica Shale
Associate - Private Client Services

After attending a fantastic charity quiz night back in February hosted by my fellow private client colleagues at MW Hove in aid of The Rockinghorse Charity, I was inspired by their success and decided I would set myself a challenge to organise a quiz night of my own.

It was an easy decision to raise money in aid of Chestnut Tree House, a fantastic local charity dedicated to caring for children who are unlikely to live until adulthood and their families. They offer respite, crisis and end of life care at their hospice building near Arundel and in families’ own homes across East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire.  Their care costs are over £3.5 million each year and they receive less than 7% of their funding from central government and so they rely heavily on local fundraising events. 

The Team at MW Eastbourne maintain a great relationship with Chestnut Tree House and I have been to a number of their networking events which are not only a great way for me to make business contacts but also incredibly educational and inspiring.  It was at these networking events that I learnt of how Chestnut Tree House needs people like us to keep them going. 

Chestnut Tree and MW

The support I received from the community was second to none, with 10 teams made up of local businesses eager to donate or provide raffle prizes for the event.  Special thanks to Quizmaster Ryan who agreed to donate his time to the evening and kept all the guests entertained with his enthusiasm for the evening remained apparent throughout.

I was blown away by the response I received from the local community and soon had over 30 raffle prizes generously donated by a variety of businesses in the area.  We sold over 700 raffle tickets sold and I was absolutely delighted to announce that the grand total raised was almost £850.  We even managed a last minute auction for a raffle prize won by one of the Close Brothers’ team who decided that the charity deserved the money more!

I would like to thank each and every agent and business that participated in the evening and made it possible for us to raise such an amazing amount of money for such a fantastic charity.  I would also like to thank my colleagues at the MW Eastbourne for their ongoing support and help, especially Danielle Hemming and Lisa Treleven who took time out of their day and evening last Thursday and helped make sure that the evening was a success.

Thanks to the participating teams from MW Eastbourne, Chestnut Tree House, Close Brothers, Arbonne, Protea Financial Services, Lodestone Financial, APlan, Suchila Pang, Homesprite and Robbins Financial.

Thanks to everyone who donated Raffle prizes including; Medikids, Polegate Podiatry & Health Clinic, Scarlets Beauty Rooms, Relax Therapy, Annie Cheadle Yoga, IKlean Domestic Services, K9 Connect, Beauty Ninjas, Arbonne, Love Yoga & Massage, Younique, Creature Comforts, Two Bulls Steakhouse, Pacific House, Mr & Mrs B’s Seriously Buzzin Hot Sauce, The Secret Wardrobe, The Daisy Clinic, Amethyst Light, Hastings Adventure Golf, Pebbles & Paintpots, Halo, Hpynotix Hypnotherapy, TAG Cards & Crafts, Jo Kilmartin Mobile Hairdresser, Melanie Wight Hair Stylist, Suchila Pang, The Beauty Boutique, True Nails, Anthea Pienaar and Cale Sinfield.

After such a successful evening, I can honestly say that I am very much looking forward to arranging further charitable events in aid of Chestnut Tree House in the future.

Subsidence Houses

 

Houses are usually the most expensive purchases anyone ever undertakes and therefore we would encourage our clients to be as thorough as possible in respect of their due diligence including taking out searches, full surveys and not simply relying on mortgage lender valuations.  Where properties are in certain areas it is always recommended that a buyer takes out extra searches and/or insurance for specific risks associated with those areas


Dan Carter
Dan Carter
Partner & Head of Professional Negligence

My first Professional Negligence claim involved a transaction where the coal mining search came back clear.  

So far so good you would think, but this property was in Cornwall and the correct search (which can be done) is for tin mining and this would have shown a risk which could have been insured against.  When the garden subsided it became a Professional Negligence claim against the Solicitor.  Whilst this claim was ultimately successful without litigation it caused considerable unnecessary stress for the homeowner whose property was condemned and ended up living in alternative accommodation in her advanced years.

What is an Insured Event?

An Insured Event is any accidental, unexpected or unforeseen event which is be insured against under your Home Insurance.

The type of subsidence damage described above is an “insured event” and there may be a third party, such as the National Coal Board (or its successor), who can be held liable for the damage.

In these circumstances your insurer will deal with your claim and look to recover what it pays out under your insurance policy by bringing a claim against the third party.

Sinkholes, Soluble Rocks and Solution Features

In our previous article Subsidence - Getting to the Root of the Problem I described how in heavy clay soils tree roots may cause a problem for homeowners.

However, in areas where soluble rocks such as limestone or chalk exist a “solution feature” (an erosion of the underlying soil that results in an underground cavern) may occur which eventually gives way and may cause subsidence to your property.

These collapses are often triggered by an escape of water or a rise in the water table. The first sign is usually a small hole appearing at surface level and needs to be dealt with promptly.

If the cause of the escape of water is due to mains pipes then you should put the Statutory Water Authority (SWA) on immediate notice of the problem and have them remedy the same.  If the nuisance is not stopped then any damage that occurs after the point at which the SWA might reasonably have stopped the nuisance becomes recoverable in law.

The simple step of communicating with the SWA in time could prevent later difficulties.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including homeowners who are worried that their home is suffering or might be at risk from subsidence. If you believe that your property is suffering subsidence damage, it is important to act quickly.

We can help homeowners whose property is damaged through the actions of a third party.  We will explore every legal avenue and our experts in MW’s are not just experienced in the law regarding these matters, but also in the underlying geological and biological causes.

We can advise if you are entitled to bring a claim for the recovery of your insurance excess and any repairs costs and we will act on behalf of your insurer should you wish to instruct a local firm.  We can assist you with any discussions and negotiations with third parties in order to resolve any dispute.  We are keen advocates of mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and we will do all we can to resolve your dispute in a sensitive and cost effective way. 

If you are worried that your home is at risk from subsidence or you need to make a subsidence claim don't delay.  Call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

 

By Allan Lee from Auckland, New Zealand (Coronation Street) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



Fans of the ITV Soap Opera Coronation Street will no doubt be familiar with the current inheritance storyline following the tragic suicide of Aidan Connor.  Whilst Coronation Street is a fiction, it has to be assumed that the bigger, more sensational storylines are researched thoroughly to ensure a true depiction before it reaches the homes of millions. 


Wendy Rixon
Wendy Rixon
Associate – Estate & Trust Disputes Specialist

Coronation Street's Depiction of an Inheritance Dispute

Aidan Connor left a Will which was found by family friend Michelle when the family was sorting out his possessions after his suicide.  The Will purportedly leaves Aiden’s share of his business to his business partner Alya who had helped Aidan rebuild the business after it had previously gone bankrupt.  Until recently, the terms of the Will have been concealed from the wider family and from Alya herself.

After the Will was made, but before Aidan's death, Carla Connor had given Aidan her share in the business in order to assist Aidan in a new venture.  This was against the background of Aidan donating his kidney to Carla to save her life.

Michelle originally held back the Will and didn’t show anyone; but then showed it to Carla after she witnessed Carla’s "bullying" treatment of Alya and she also told Jenny, Aidan’s stepmother. 

Everyone was outraged and promptly headed to the local solicitor (Adam Barlow) to get some legal advice.

The Fictional Legal Advice

Adam's initial advice was that the Will appeared to be valid and it would be difficult to challenge. 

However, the three women were not satisfied with this answer and urged him to “think again" referring to the fact that he, previously, had not always acted by the book.  That episode ended with him saying he would have a rethink.  While in the solicitor's office, Jenny started to attempt to destroy the Will by tearing it up, but was prevented from doing so.

Adam has since suggested that the family could challenge the Will for lack of mental capacity; this is based on Aidan’s depression and subsequent suicide. 

The story now hangs in the balance and we will have to wait, in true soap land style, for all the threads to come together before we see any outcome in relation to Aidan’s affairs.  In the meantime, I will set out the facts of the scenario so far:

Legal Facts in this Fictional Scenario

Is the Will Valid?

The Will will be deemed valid as long as Aidan had the necessary mental capacity to make the Will and was not unduly influenced to do so, and so long as it was signed by him and witnessed by two independent witnesses who were both in the presence of Aidan at the time he signed the Will (as per Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837).  This can be challenged if there is strong evidence to support such challenge. It is unlikely that depression would be a sufficient reason to allege lack of capacity.

If the Will is deemed to be valid it is the duty of the executors to administer the Will in accordance with the terms of the Will.  In the case of Aidan's Will, it is not clear who the executors are or what other provisions were made, but certainly insofar as the business is concerned, Alya is entitled to Aidan’s share.

What Happens if the Will gets Destroyed?

It is illegal for anyone to destroy or otherwise conceal the existence of a Will.  If Jenny had succeeded in destroying the Will it would have been a criminal offence. 

However, if the existence of the Will had not been found and brought to the attention of Alya (or any of the family) then it would be assumed that Aidan did not leave a Will and the estate will be administered under the Intestacy Rules.  In this case, Aidan did not leave a spouse so his estate would go primarily to any children of his. He recently fathered a child with Eva (Susie) but none of the family know this about Susie so the assumption would be that his estate would be shared between his closest relatives.  He has a sister, Kate and father Johnny.  Also a half sister, Carla.  In this scenario everything would go to Johnny.

What about Susie Barlow?

If Eva comes clean about Susie, Susie will be entitled to the whole estate under the Intestacy Rules.  However if the Will is not destroyed, and deemed valid, Susie will have a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 as a child of the family who was not left reasonable provision.  As a minor child in all the circumstances. she could have a very strong claim.  However if Susie is formally adopted by Toyah and Peter, she will not have recourse under this Act.  Therefore, if Eva is going to acknowledge that Aidan is Susie’s father, she needs to act quickly before Susie loses her right to any claim once the adoption process is complete.

Does Carla Connor have a Claim?

Carla may be able to bring a claim for a share of the business, given the monies she invested but if that money was deemed to be a “gift” to Aidan then this will no doubt be the subject of the litigation.

What about Alya Nazir?

If the Will is ‘lost’ she may have a claim to a share of the business if she invested money in it.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who find themselves in a similar situation to those of the fictional characters of Weatherfield.  Whether you are part owner of an up and coming knicker factory or a minor beneficiary about to be adopted there are avenues that can be explored to help you. 

Our team of experienced and specialist Inheritance Dispute Solicitors are here to help.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

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