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If you are looking to buy a second home, or if you are in the market for a buy-to-let property, then you should consider the new rules that have been announced which will apply from April 2016. This provides for a substantial increase in duty. If you think you will be affected, please contact us. There are also tighter rules on the way for payment of Capital Gains Tax - which will need to be paid within 30 days of completion and tax relief against profits have been restricted. You may need to check your position with your accountants.
If you own a property abroad then you should consider reviewing your Will following new EU laws which came into force last summer. The new rules mean that on death, the starting position is that the laws of succession of the "habitual residence" of the deceased at the time of their death apply. Although the UK has opted out of the new regime (known as "Brussels IV" the rules are complex and those with properties in other parts of Europe could still, in practice, be affected -especially of course if they are habitually resident in one of the relevant EU states.
The Family Court is taking a much tougher practical approach to enforce its orders, punishing those who wilfully commit non-disclosure and refuse to engage in the court process. In the case of Sarah Kimura Al-Baker and Abdul Amir Al-Baker, the husband refused to engage with any of the disclosure orders issued against him. The Judge said he was not only satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt that the husband had failed to comply with the disclosure orders but that the husband was defiant in his refusal to do so. The husband has been sentenced to a 9 month custodial sentence.
The Supreme Court Judgments in the cases of Sharland and Sharland and Gohil and Gohil have been handed down on 14th October. This concerns 2 similar cases in which 2 wives who had reached a financial settlement in divorce with their husbands later found out that the Husbands had misrepresented their finances. The Supreme Court Judgment means that the wives should be allowed to set aside the Order. This has also resulted in a review of the procedure for "setting aside" orders.
If you park your car in a private car park, you are now entitled to a 10 minute grace period after your ticket has expired. This covers both free parking and paid for parking.
After 1st December 2015 if you have not recorded an organ donation decision (opt in or opt out) on the NHS Organ Donation Register, you will be treated as having no objection to donating your organs. Your decision can be changed at any time. You should be sure to tell your loved ones of your decision so that they can make sure it is respected.
From 1st October 2015 it is illegal in England and Wales to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under the age of 18 present. Drivers who break the law could face a penalty fine of £50.
Recent Court of Appeal decision over-rides mother's Will. Ilot v Mitson (2015) EWCA Civ 797. Following a decade-long battle, the Court over-rode Melita Jackson’s Will that left £500,000 estate to animal charities even though she expressly stated she did not want her daughter to receive anything.

If you think this may affect you, please contact us for advice.
These forms are changing from 1st July 2015.  There are two types  –  property and financial  and health and care.    No changes are being made to Enduring Powers of Attorney at this time.
There is a duty to provide full and frank disclosure to the Court in financial proceedings and without this, there is a risk that the settlement may not be fair and reasonable.

On 10th June 2015, the Supreme Court considered the issue of non-disclosure in the cases of Sharland v Sharland and Gohil v Gohil. In both of these cases the wife is applying to overturn the original settlement alleging that their husband has not been honest in disclosing their financial position which will have affected the divorce settlement. The Judgment is awaited.

If you do not have a properly concluded clean break order, please contact us for advice.