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Are you looking for high quality legal advice? You have come to the right place.

We regularly write about different legal topics and welcome your comments on our posts. If you would like more information on our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?

Martin King
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Many of us will be familiar with the above refrain and recall the music hall tones in which it was sung by Paul McCartney. Many of the generation that first heard that song, 50 years ago, are now likely to be well over 64 themselves, some in their 70s and...

"What do we say to the Lord of death?"

Martin King
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According to George RR Martin “not today" – A Game of Thrones It is perhaps not surprising that generally, as a nation, we do not like to discuss the issue of death. Probably because it is a sad time. Although, as sad as it may be, if we...

Danger! DIY wills!

Leah Woodnott
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Only a few weeks ago, the Law Gazette highlighted the importance of seeking professional legal advice when drafting a will, to ensure that a person’s wishes are truly reflected and the correct procedures are carried out. With today’s online...

Can a parent who gives birth be named as a father?

Lisa Collins
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In England and Wales, the law has always required the parent who gives birth to be registered as a mother. This is now being challenged by a transgender man. He was born a woman but had legally become a man before giving birth to his child.    ...

Essex Pride week & wills

Katey  Stephenson
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As it’s Essex Pride week, it is important to reflect on the laws that have provided equal legal footing for LGBT families. The introduction of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004...

How can collaborative law be used to help same sex couples separate?

Francesca Cozens
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Collaborative law offers same sex couples a chance to come to a mutual agreement about their separation.  In the collaborative law process, a couple instructs a solicitor each, but instead of negotiating with each other via letters, on the phone or in...

I'll be there for you: life interest trust wills

Zara Fletcher
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This scenario may sound familiar… Ross and Carol were married and had one son, Ben. After 8 years of marriage Carol met Susan for whom she started to have feelings. Subsequently, Ross and Carol divorced with a clean break, and Carol and Susan later...

The 14th annual Essex Pride

Melanie Loxley
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The 14th annual Essex Pride is fast approaching this Saturday in Central Park, Chelmsford.  It comes not long after the Genderquake season on Channel 4, where a series of programmes explored gender fluidity and continued to educate and enlighten the...

Grenfell disaster and the effects of dementia.

Claire Read
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I was watching the news last night and saw that one family is still awaiting accommodation a year on from the Grenfell tower disaster. The report stated that the process had been slowed because unfortunately the leaseholder had Alzheimer’s and did...

What happens to your partner if you don't have a will?

Zara Fletcher
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It’s so important as an LGBT+ couple to make sure your partner is provided for adequately in all circumstances. Here is an example of how a cohabitation can go wrong without an appropriate will: Mr Smith and Mr Jones have been in a relationship for...

Marriage or civil partnership?

Philip Hoddell
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Section 1 of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 is only seven words long, but it represents a milestone in the way in which same sex couples are treated by the law: “Marriage of same sex couples is lawful” reads the section. The act was...

Cohabiting couples - is the LGBT community at higher risk?

Francesca Cozens
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Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family model in the UK. Cohabitation remains the most popular family model for same sex couples in the UK. If you have or are thinking of moving in with your partner what do you need to know? Are we common law...

Facts about wills and civil partnerships or marriage

Claire Read
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Entering into a civil partnership or marriage revokes a will. From the moment that you have signed the register you will no longer have a will and the automatic laws of intestacy apply  UNLESS:   You made a will in anticipation or expectation...

Great friendly service in plain English, whoever you are.

Claire Read
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On more than one occasion when writing wills and giving tax planning advice, my LBGT clients have said to me; ‘We were very nervous and thank you for being so friendly and understanding’. I found this comment unusual, not because I am not...

Prenuptial agreements - will they stand up in court?

Philip Hoddell
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This was the question faced by the High Court in the recent case of KA v MA. In it the Judge analysed the existing law on prenuptial agreements and made decisions about how that law should be applied to the specifics of the current case.  By...

Farming and cohabitation

Katie Gibson-Green
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Cohabitees do not have the same rights as married couples in life or on death, and this is a concept that is largely overlooked when people live together as ‘husband and wife’ but do not enter into a legal arrangement. There have been two...

Child arrangements during separation

Harriet Whiteside
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The recent statistics released by CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, show that last month was the highest demand in April for 4 years regarding the amount of applications in private law child cases. Below is an explanation...

Dying matters week: Interesting funeral wishes

Claire Read
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Dying Matters is an important week and there are many serious articles and things that everyone should consider. However, I thought I would share some interesting funeral wishes and sayings. Some familiar sayings:   To kick the bucket: There...

Meghan and Harry - happily ever after

Claire Read
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Did you know that marriage revokes a will?  Not a lot of people know that (to coin Peter Sellers’ impression of Michael Cain). Whilst a marriage, such as Meghan and HRH Prince Harry’s at the weekend, can bring lots of joy, it can sometimes...

Will the supreme court grant Mrs Owens her divorce?

Philip Hoddell
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Later this week, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Owens v Owens, where, after 37 years of marriage, Mrs Owens issued divorce proceedings based on her husband’s unreasonable behaviour. Mr Owens did not want to get divorced (some have suggested...

Dying Matters Week: jargon buster

Claire Read
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The area of wills, trusts and probate is littered with difficult and technical jargon. At Birkett Long, we are aware how confusing the terminology can be and this blog explains some of the common words or abbreviations used. Here is a quick breakdown of some...

Divorce: through the eyes of a lawyer

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With new BBC series, ‘The Split’, following a group of (fictional!) London divorce lawyers , we asked some of our divorce and separation specialists about life as a lawyer, how realistic the series is and the impact of how divorce is portrayed...

Inadequate commercial lease ruling

Daniel Sturman
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The Court of Appeal has recently ruled on the inadequacies of a commercial lease, which has sent a message to all landlords and tenants about the risks of an improperly drafted lease. In the case of J N Hipwell & Son v Szurek , Mrs Szurek, the tenant,...

In divorce, when will early sale of the family home be ordered?

Philip Hoddell
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This was the question that the High Court had to deal with on an appeal from a decision made by a district judge in Newcastle. The answer might be a surprise though.   After a 25 year marriage, the original divorce court was confronted with a...

Fail...change...fail...change...learn!

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If you fail, you change, if you fail again, you change…fail…change…fail…change…fail…change…learn! This has been the constant process that I have been learning over the past 2 years - if something...

New changes to personal injury claims

Molly Frankham
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On 17 April 2018, Lord Keen delivered a keynote address on civil justice reform at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers conference. Among other topics, he spoke about the hotly debated whiplash reform programme, due to come into effect next year. ...

We are Dementia Friends!

Daisy Murfin
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This week, seven colleagues and I trained to become a Dementia Friend. The session was run by one of the firm’s partners, and Dementia Champion Liz Jones.    Before starting the training I had very little knowledge of what it is like to...

FOR HOW LONG SHOULD SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE BE PAID?

Philip Hoddell
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This remains one of the most difficult questions to answer when dealing with divorce but a recent Court of Appeal decision may have shed some light on the current trend, at least in the more senior courts.  Mr and Mrs Waggott were both unhappy with the...

Why should I pay child maintenance when we have equal shared care?

Philip Hoddell
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Ever since the Child Support Agency was introduced in the early 1990s it has had a bad press, often for the inability of the complex systems used to take account of what happens in the real world. The Child Maintenance Service, which has replaced the CSA in...

Millionaire's partner left nothing in will!

Leah Woodnott
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Millionaire, Wynford Hodge died aged 94 last year, leaving nothing to his long-term partner Joan Thompson, aged 79, who he had been cohabiting with for 42 years leading up to his death. Wynford had an estate worth more than £1.5 million when he died...

Junior tour of the Mendips national series

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After my 10th place in the first round of the Junior National Series I was hoping to get another solid result. This round consisted of three stages over two days; a short prologue, a short rolling stage with a prominent climb, then the final stage was a...

Personal budget for care costs - are affected?

Rachel Leech
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It has been announced in the news this morning that personal budgets for care costs will be rolled out to 350,000 people. When the local authority agrees to pay for someone’s home care needs, personal budgets allow people to be in charge of their care...

Birkett Long continues to assist Healthcare Homes Group's expansion with latest acquisitions

Tracey Dickens
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Birkett Long LLP has helped Healthcare Homes Group boost their portfolio of residential and nursing homes to 37 homes, following the acquisition of two care homes in February and March 2018 under two separate transactions. Healthcare Homes Group provides...

Family Arbitration

Muntech Kaur
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In my earlier blog of 1 February 2018 , I discussed available alternatives to the family court process.    Family arbitration is one form of alternative dispute resolution to using the family court process, which often court users can find...

Bankruptcy and the Family Courts

Philip Hoddell
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In an anonymised judgement the High Court has upheld the terms of an original agreement between husband and wife in divorce, even when the husband’s intervening bankruptcy has had a significant effect on the outcome of the case. The original divorce...

Diving into Mediation

Melanie Loxley
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It has been revealed by the Ministry of Justice that the number of cases starting mediation in the period October to December 2017 were 15% lower than for the same period in 2016 and that new mediation cases are at their lowest number since the Legal Aid...

How can I make sure my disabled child is looked after when I die?

Lorna Boorman
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If you are the parent or carer of someone with a disability, then the frightening and daunting thoughts of what will happen to them when you can no longer support them, either through your own ill health or demise are sadly all too common.  We at...

How will a divorce affect my pension?

Harriet Whiteside
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A study recently run by Prudential showed that those who get divorced can expect a retirement income that is nearly £4,000 per year less than non-divorcees. Why are divorcees worse off in retirement?  It could be that divorcees feel secure...

Auto-Enrolment - Minimum pension contributions increase

Charlotte Holman
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Under the Pensions Act 2008, the minimum pension contributions by both employers and staff are required to increase over time.  Currently the employer’s minimum contribution rate is 1% alongside the staff contribution rate which is set at 1%....

"The Countryside at a Crossroads" report

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Since the Brexit referendum, political attention has been almost entirely focussed on the future of farming and, in particular, the subsidy regime. In that context, the recent report by the Lords Select Committee – “The Countryside at a...

Honesty is the best policy

Philip Hoddell
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The family court has sent a clear warning to divorcing couples that are lying about their assets can lead to severe repercussions.   In a recent case, the judge had to consider whether to make normally confidential divorce papers available for...

Can the court save me from a falling property market?

Philip Hoddell
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That was essentially the plea made to the High Court by Essex based Mrs A (the parties were given confidentiality during their divorce). She and her husband had been married for nearly 30 years and were wealthy as a result of the successful construction...

Interview with Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association

Emma Coke FALA
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Interview with Emma Coke, as she achieves The Agricultural Law Association Fellowship Emma Coke is an Associate Solicitor in our Agriculture & Estates Team, who has recently become a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association. What is the Agricultural...

Planned development of specialist 'dementia village'

Lorna Boorman
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In an effort to transform the lives of those suffering from dementia, plans are underway for a specialist ‘dementia village’ to be built near Canterbury, Kent. Developer, Corinthian, has plans for some 4,000 homes, of which 250 of these will...

Child contact intervention - what is this?

Yolande Millar
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Child Contact Intervention may be recommended by Cafcass in disputes regarding children. Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) is asked by the court to work with families. Their role is to safeguard and promote the welfare of...

The Last Laugh

Martin King
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Comedians of a certain generation are famous for their mother-in-law jokes and tales of “her indoors”.  Ken Dodd was one of those whose act often included such stories. His passing earlier this week will be mourned by many. The Notty Ash...

Objection!

Leah Woodnott
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The Office of the Public Guardian’s annual report has stated 57,702 deputyship orders were being supervised as at 31 March 2017. Of that 57,702, they received 5,327 safeguarding referrals during 2016/2017. When a person has lost capacity and they can...

Residential property specialist joins leading law firm

Jasmin Patel
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Jasmin Patel, solicitor and residential property law specialist has joined leading Essex law firm Birkett Long, adding experience to a growing South Essex team. Jasmin, 28, completed her training contract with an Essex law firm and qualified as a solicitor...

Essex Digital Awards finalists!

Jennie Skingsley
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Last month we were thrilled to find out that we are finalists in the 2018 Essex Digital Awards in the Best Website category. We are particularly proud of our website, not only because we think it looks good and offers a good visitor experience, but because...

Adopted son is cut of his natural father's will

Leah Woodnott
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It was announced recently that Charlie Gilmour, adopted son of Pink Floyd’s guitarist, David Gilmour,  has been left out of his natural father, Heathcote Williams’, will. Heathcote Williams, who died last year aged 75, changed his will in...