Father’s will is valid despite disinheriting two of his children

A father’s will has been declared valid despite a challenge from his daughter who was disinherited.

The father had two sons and a daughter. After his wife died he went to live with one of his sons and his daughter-in-law. He transferred the proceeds of the sale of his house to his son.

He later made a will leaving everything to the same son. He wrote two letters explaining his reasons for disinheriting his other two children.

Retiring husband must pay ex-wife lump sum for ‘clean break’

A man has been told to pay his ex-wife a lump sum so that he can stop making annual payments once he has retired.

The case involved a couple who had been married for 22 years before getting divorced in 2005. Both were qualified accountants, but the wife left work to raise their children.

When they got divorced, the wife received the family home, and an annual maintenance payment of £90,000, which was later increased to £150,000.

Male workers win sex discrimination claim over equal pay

A group of male maintenance staff have won a sex discrimination claim after discovering that their female counterparts were being paid more than them.

The situation arose when the Swansea Metropolitan University (SMU) merged with the University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD). The eighteen men were originally employed by the SMU on a weekly contract of 45 hours. After the merger, their contracts were reduced to 37 hours, but they were assured that they would still be given 45-hour working weeks, with the excess being classed as overtime.

Will your hard earned money be lost to inheritance tax?

The rising value of houses could turn inheritance tax into a major issue for thousands of families across the UK.

The problem is that the inheritance tax threshold has been frozen at £325,000 until 2018; by that time, house prices are expected to have risen by 25%  

It’s likely therefore that many people will find they own properties and other assets which take them above the £325,000 threshold. It means that when they die, much of the wealth they have worked hard for all their lives could go to the taxman instead of their families.

Stricter new mortgage rules come into effect

New rules to prevent people taking out mortgages they can’t afford have now come into effect.

One of the key changes is that in most cases, people will need to get help from an adviser before taking out a mortgage.

This will help borrowers to better understand whether they can really afford their mortgage, both now and when interest rates rise.

It’s also been confirmed that there will be no return to self-certification mortgages, and lenders will always have to check a borrower’s income.

How to avoid the pitfalls when setting up a new business

Many people dream of setting up a new business and being their own boss. For those who succeed it can be a hugely rewarding experience that changes their lives forever.

For those who fail, however, it can prove costly and demoralising.

You can improve your chances of success by doing your homework before starting work or investing any money.

Test your great idea

Construction firm’s failings amounted to breach of contract

A construction firm’s repeated delays when building a road amounted to breach of contract and entitled the customer to withdraw from the deal, a court has ruled.

The firm was employed to design and build a road outside an airport. Construction work was slow and repeatedly delayed because of bad weather and unexpected issues.

The main interruption was because of soil and groundwater contamination on site. When already two years behind schedule, the construction firm stopped working on the road in December 2010 so that further tests on the ground could be carried out.

Break clause invalidated by failure to follow letter of the law

A business tenant has failed to apply a break clause in its lease because the notice document didn’t follow the letter of the law correctly.

The tenant had a 25-year lease and wanted to activate the break clause. The clause stated that any notice exercising the right to break “must be expressed” as being given under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 s.24(2). 

The tenant complied with all aspects of the clause including serving notice within the appropriate time period before terminating the lease. However, it didn’t specifically state its intention under s.24(2).

Cross-border debts should become ‘easier to recover’

The European Parliament has voted to bring in new measures that will make it easier for companies to recover debt across national borders.

Up to one million small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Europe fail to recover cross-border debts. The average amount of debt written off by these companies is €600. This means that €600m is lost to cross-border debts every year.

Due to the relatively small figure that the average SME is owed, they often find it more trouble than it’s worth to pursue complex lawsuits in foreign countries.

Several employment law changes now coming into force

Several new employment regulations affecting businesses and their employees have come into force in April and May.

This is a brief summary of the main points:

ACAS and Tribunal claims

Employees wishing to bring claims before the Employment Tribunal must first contact ACAS, which will offer a conciliation service. The measure, effective from 6 May, is designed to help the claimants and employers reach an agreement without having to go to a tribunal. 

Penalties for employers