Legal articles

Business protection wills

If you own business assets or are unsure of the best way to leave your assets it is possible to retain flexibility for your spouse/partner or your children to administer your estate in the most tax efficient manner according to the circumstances at the date of your death. Business protection wills are flexible and potentially the most tax efficient form of will.

Are prenuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?

Prenuptial agreements were recognised as enforceable under British divorce law for the first time in the case of Katrin Radmacher and Nicholas Granatino. Before Katrin Radmacher and Nicholas Granatino married in 1998, the wealthy German heiress ensured that her husband signed a prenuptial agreement promising to make no claims on her fortune if the marriage failed. Katrin Radmacher was a wealthy woman with shares in a family company worth around £50 million and further assets of around £55 million all of which were inherited before her marriage. At the time of the breakdown of the marriage Mr Granatino was earning £30,000 as an academic at Oxford University.

Bankruptcy and a trustee's interest in the matrimonial home

One of the criticisms of the old insolvency regime was that a trustee in bankruptcy, who had failed to immediately realise their interest in a bankrupt’s family home, was able to recover this interest several years after the date of discharge of the bankruptcy order. In most cases, this interest would have increased substantially in value due to recent spiralling property prices. Amendments introduced by the Enterprise Act 2002 seemed to address the balance more in favour of the bankrupt.

What to do if your relative dies with assets abroad

A second home in the UK presents administrative and logistical challenges but at least within a familiar tax and legal regime. These challenges escalate with a foreign property, particularly in relation to succession law and tax issues. In both France and Spain there are fixed succession rules whereby local law provides for an automatic entitlement of a certain proportion of your estate to your children, unlike English law which allows you to leave your property as you wish.

Share incentives for unlisted companies

Managers and key employees who acquire shares in the business they work for can do so in a variety of different ways. At Wright Hassall we provide specialist advice on the most appropriate form of share incentives for companies with the aim of helping our clients to maximise the value derived from them. Some of the ways in which the incentives may be structured are outlined below.

Obtaining Interim Payment in Litigation - the use of settlement offers

Court action to obtain payment can sometimes be a lengthy process and adjudication is not always available or appropriate. However the court rules (known as the Civil Procedure Rules, or “CPR”) lay down specific grounds for allowing a claimant to apply for an interim payment in respect of his claim, before trial. This can be an attractive option for a claimant, particularly if there are cash flow problems.

The Defective Premises Act 1972

The Defective Premises Act 1972 (“the Act”) imposes important obligations on both contractors and consultants involved in the design and construction of a dwelling. A dwelling can include a house or flat, and the Act applies both to new build dwellings as well as conversions or enlargements of dwellings, but does not apply to repairs. The Act imposes some onerous obligations.
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