New intestacy rules in force on 1 October 2014

The intestacy rules (which deal with the estate of a person who dies without a Will) have recently changed, but many people feel these changes do not go far enough.

What does intestacy mean?

When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their assets must be distributed according to specific rules and a person who dies without a Will is said to have died intestate.

What has changed?

Berry Smith act in Inimex sale

Berry Smith recently acted in the sale of Cardiff-headquartered Inimex Genetics, a supplier of stud bull semen, to National Milk Records (NMR).

NMR, which manages information on the milk quality, yield and fertility of cows across the UK, purchased the share capital of the business.

Inimex is a £1.4m-turnover company and was formed more than 25 years ago. It has secured contracts to exclusively supply stud bull semen from across the globe to the UK market.

Judge was wrong to let mother take daughter abroad

A judge was wrong to grant permission for a mother to take her daughter abroad, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The case involved an estranged couple who had dual British and Iranian citizenship. They had a three-year-old daughter who lived with the mother. The father had unsupervised access.

The mother wanted to visit Iran for a holiday. She was granted a specific issue order by a County Court judge allowing her to take her daughter with her.

Golf club bar manager was unfairly dismissed

A manager of a golf club bar has won an unfair dismissal claim after his bosses said he had falsified weekly bar statements.

The manager was suspended from his job when annual accounts showed a deficit of around £5,300. His bosses claimed that the deficit was due to him making handwritten alterations and deducting the ‘chip and pin’ amount before the total cash was banked.

The manager denied the accusation. He said that he had been told to deduct the chip and pin amount by the treasurer, who signed the statement every week.

Court settles disagreement over care of elderly mother

The Court of Protection has helped a family to settle a disagreement about the best way to care for their 84-year-old mother.

The mother suffered from dementia and lived in a care home. She lacked the capacity to make the decision for herself about where she should live.

As her condition worsened she moved into a local home that specialised in helping elderly residents with dementia. Her children visited her regularly but couldn’t agree on the best way to look after her.

Law Society stresses importance of using professionals

The Law Society has launched a media campaign to highlight the importance of using a professional solicitor when seeking legal advice.

‘Use a Professional. Use a Solicitor’ is the tagline, and adverts will be appearing on numerous media outlets including television, railway stations and public buses.

In recent years, various unregulated advisers and do-it-yourself legal services have emerged, particularly online.

Wife granted Supreme Court appeal against lying husband

A woman whose millionaire husband lied about the extent of his wealth during their divorce has won the right to take her case to the Supreme Court.

Alison Sharland was married for 17 years to Charles Sharland, the founder of AppSense, a successful software company which was valued at £47.25m at the time of the divorce.

It was agreed that Mrs Sharland would receive half of the husband’s share in the company. This would provide her with a £10m settlement. Mr Sharland would receive £5.64m and retain shares in the company.

One in five businesses ‘will struggle if interest rates rise’

More than 20% of businesses would be put under considerable financial strain if interest rates were to rise by one percentage point, according to a recent survey.

The Business Distress Index was conducted by insolvency trade body R3, which interviewed decision makers at 500 businesses. The findings showed that 16% of businesses would be in “some difficulty” if interest rates were to rise.

The report also revealed that 6% of businesses would be in “serious difficulty”.

Company prevents employee joining rival for 12 months

A company has been granted an injunction to prevent a former employee from going to work for one of its competitors for 12 months.

The employee had worked for the company for a number of years but became unhappy when he was given a new role. However, he continued to work there while he looked for opportunities elsewhere.

He later handed in his notice and informed the company that he was joining one of its rivals.

The company asked him not to leave for another 12 months but he refused.

Subcontractor gets paid despite dismissal before work started

A court has ruled that a subcontractor should be paid for its involvement in a large project despite being dismissed before work got under way.

The case involved an oil company that was hired to carry out development work in Iraq. It then decided to outsource some of the work to the subcontractor. The entire deal was worth $75m.

The Iraqi company made two non-refundable payments to the oil company, a 15% advance for the work and 7.5% for set-up costs.