Stick or Twist – Is it a gamble to change solicitor?

As a specialist team with over 40 years experience in getting our clients the support and compensation that they deserve. We have seen a nervousness about asking for a second opinion. Whilst it has become the norm to change car insurer if you can find better cover, we are sometimes less confident about checking that we are getting all that we are entitled to when pursuing a claim for injuries suffered through no fault of our own.

Changing solicitors is as simple as calling a member of our team for a chat. If we can support you to get the best result possible, then all that needs to be done is to complete a simple transfer form with you and we will sort the rest.

Why would you need to consider changing solicitor? Here are some of the reasons we have seen:-

  • You have never met your solicitor.
  • Your solicitor doesn’t take your calls.
  • The firm you are using is closing down.
  • The person dealing with your claim appears inexperienced.
  • The solicitor acting for you doesn’t believe you can win.
  • You don’t feel that you are listened to – You feel part of a process rather than the effects of your injuries and losses being considered in the unique way that they should be.
  • You feel you are being ‘pushed’ to settle before you are fully recovered.
  • Your solicitor was chosen for you by your insurer, as you have legal expenses cover.

There is nothing to lose by speaking to us, there is no charge and you are not committing yourself to anything. The examples set out below may reassure you that we can, as your local solicitors, with specialist knowledge help you to sort out your claim.

John, a local factory worker, was involved in an accident that made back problems he had always suffered from much worse. As he had accident cover with his house insurance, those insurers chose a solicitor from a national firm for him. Unfortunately, they ignored his previous back problem and kept calling him to get him to agree to settle for £4,000, on the basis that his back symptoms were a new problem, ignoring his concerns. John called into our office and after discussions completed the form that enabled us to get his file which showed that he was right to question the advice that he had been given. With more detailed medical investigations, and after getting John some physiotherapy we were able to negotiate a settlement for his injuries and losses at over £10,000. John has continued to turn to Harold Stock & Co for all of his legal needs and says:

“Kirsty and the team treated me as a person, not a number. She was available at times that suited my shifts. She was quickly able to sort things for me and got a great result.”

John has referred family members and friends to Harold Stock & Co, having confidence in the service we provide.

Sharon, a company director, had suffered really poor treatment at her local hospital which affected her health and her ability to work. She decided that it was important to make a claim as she didn’t want others to go through the same trauma and pain that she had experienced. She initially chose a solicitor by responding to an advert on the TV. She never met her solicitor and became concerned when her calls were not returned, and when she did speak to her solicitor he didn’t seem to understand how her deteriorating health had affected her work. Sharon knew a member of our staff and met up with our medical negligence specialist, Debra, who got all the financial issues sorted with the assistance of an independent accountant. She also prepared detailed evidence so that the full effects of the delayed diagnosis, that the hospital accepted was its fault, were clear to everyone. Her settlement was nearly 12 times the amount that it had been suggested she settle for before the transfer. Sharon commented:

“Thank you for all your hard work in getting the settlement. It is very much appreciated and you have restored my faith in solicitors and the legal system”.

If you would like a second opinion in relation to your current claim, please contact Debra Woolfson or Kirsty Dunn on 01457 835597 or email info@haroldstock.com


Mossley Hollins Futures Event 2018

Headteacher, Stuart Marshall with Kirsty Dunn (R) and Alex Newman (L)

 

Former pupils, Kirsty Dunn and Alex Newman went back to school this morning to take part in the Mossley Hollins High School Futures Event. This is the 4th year running that Kirsty and Alex have assisted the school by leading their Year 10 pupils through a mock interview scenario. 

The interviews are structured to be as true to life as possible and constructive written feedback is provided by the interviewers to the pupils. 

Once again, Kirsty and Alex have commented on how confident the students are in the interviews despite their nerves. 

 


How Ken Dodd Avoided Inheritance Tax

Last month, the UK said goodbye to a national treasure, as singer and comedian Ken Dodd passed away after a severe chest infection. Two days before his passing, however, he and his partner of forty years, Anne Jones, decided to marry. It has been said that Dodd has “had the last laugh” as doing so would ensure that Anne doesn’t lose £2 million in inheritance tax.  It is important to note that Ken Dodd made a Will leaving his estate to Anne.

What is Inheritance Tax and how much is it?

Inheritance tax (IHT) is a tax on the estate of whoever has died. There are a few circumstances IHT is not paid, such as if the value of your estate is below the threshold of £325,000, you leave everything to your spouse or civil partner or if you leave everything to an exempt beneficiary such as a charity. If the value is above the nil rate band (NRB) of £325,000, then part of your estate above this will be liable for the tax rate at 40%, which is fixed until 2021.

The home allowance, or RNRB, has recently been introduced. This is on top of the nil rate band. In order for this to apply you must pass your home or a share of it to your children or grandchildren.

Given certain conditions are met, the home allowance gives you an additional allowance to be used to lower the IHT against your home. At the moment, the home allowance is £125,000 but is set to rise to £175,000 by 2021 and will be in line with the consumer price index from then on.

Valuing your Estate

To value an estate you must first devise a list of all assets and calculate their value at the date of death, and deduct any debts and liabilities. It is important to keep record of how you calculated it, such as estate agents valuation. HMRC are entitled to request a viewing of the records up to twenty years after IHT is paid.

Assets include banked money, property and land, valuable possessions, insurance policy pay-outs and jointly owned assets. Gifts must also be included, such as cash or other assets, if they were to be given away in the seven years before the individual has passed.  Gifts given to the deceased before this period must also be included if they continued to benefit from it, such as if they were to give their house way but continue to live in it up until death. These are also known as “gifts with reservations of benefit.”

Who Pays Inheritance Tax?

If there is a Will, it will be the executor who arranges to pay the IHT. If not, it will come down to the administrator of the estate. IHT is normally paid from funds within the estate, or from sales of assets if the estate has no cash. There are also times where the deceased has left money in the estate to pay this tax, or may have arranged for a life insurance policy to cover the bill.

When do you pay Inheritance Tax?

IHT must normally be paid within six months of the person’s death. After that there will be an interest charge from HMRC, regardless of if the executor chooses to pay by instalments over the years. If the Asset is sold before IHT is paid, the executors must ensure all instalments and interest are paid by then.

If your estate is likely to incur IHT, it’s ideal for the executor to pay some tax within the first six months of death to avoid paying interest for late payment.

Using Life Insurance to pay Inheritance Tax

Taking out a life insurance policy to pay some or all of your IHT bill can give you peace of mind you’re not passing down a big tax bill to your family and friends when you pass away. If you choose to do this, it is important to ensure you take advice before making any decisions. You will only reduce IHT on your estate if your life insurance policy is written in trust during your lifetime. If not then the policy proceeds will count towards the value of your estate and be liable to IHT on your death.

The importance of having a properly drafted Will

If you die without making a Will, you will die intestate. In these circumstances, your estate may not automatically pass to your spouse in its entirety. The rules relating to inheritance tax are therefore different and your loved ones may end up paying more tax than they would have to had you had a properly drafted Will.

If you have not yet had a Will drafted or your circumstances have changed since your Will was drafted, our specialist Wills & Probate Solicitors can advise you in relation to your Will and the planning of your estate. Should you be unable to travel to one of our offices, Claire and Ivana will be happy to visit you at home. 

Claire Atkinson
Solicitor for the Elderly
1 Anthony Street
Mossley
OL5 0LN
01457 835597
ca@haroldstock.com

Ivana Bailey, Solicitor
56-58 Pole Lane
Failsworth
M35 9PB
0161 682 2400
ib@haroldstock.com


Harold Stock & Co supporting mental health in Tameside

Harold Stock & Co. are proud to sponsor local mental health charity,  The Anthony Seddon Fund‘s annual charity night for the fourth consecutive year.

The Anthony Seddon Fund is based in Ashton-under-Lyne. The charity was founded by Donna Thomas and her husband, Brian following the death of their son, Anthony in 2013.

Anthony Seddon

Anthony was a lovely, warm young man with a brilliant sense of humour and a smile that could light up a room. He was popular, energetic and intelligent, but sadly struggled with bi-polar disorder from the age of 18. After a 12-year battle with the disorder, during which he was constantly in and out of hospital, sometimes struggling to cope with the debilitating side effects of strong medications, Anthony died by suicide on 31st March 2013. He was just 30 years old.

Anthony’s family were determined that something positive would come from Anthony’s death and founded the charity in his name. The charity helps people who are in a similar situation to that of Anthony and his family as well as aiming to educate the wider community about mental health.

The charity has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and the money raised by their charity night is vital to them if they are to continue to provide the support and services to the community.

The services provided by The Anthony Seddon Fund include a daily drop-in, a Suicide Bereavement Group, The Talk Shop – a drop-in for 9-19 year olds and much more. Full details of the services provided by The Anthony Seddon Fund can be found on their website www.tasfund.org.uk or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/theanthonyseddonfund

Tickets for the event can be purchased from The Anthony Seddon Fund shop at 1 Market Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, The Anthony Seddon Fund Centre at 12 George Street, Ashton-under-Lyne or from their website www.tasfund.org.uk/anthony-seddon-annual-fundraiser-2018 

The Annual Fundraiser


Important security information: Fraudsters are hacking into emails and diverting house purchase payments

We want to make you aware that fraudsters are currently hacking into email chains, for important security information, between a house buyer or seller and their solicitors.  The fraudster monitors the communications using malware that looks for key words like house purchase, deposit, buy and payment – and then they make their move. Continue reading…


Vacancy – Residential Conveyancer/Solicitor

Harold Stock & Co. Solicitors is looking for an experienced Residential Conveyancer/Solicitor to join our thriving team based in our Mossley office.

You will be experienced in handling a caseload of all types of transactional work, including but not limited to purchases, sales, remortgages, transfers, equity releases, shared ownership transactions, and dealing with registered and unregistered properties.

This post is open to qualified Solicitors, Licensed conveyancers and experienced non-qualified conveyancers.

Salary negotiable dependent upon experience.

Full details of the role can be found on the attached job description

To apply for this position, please forward your CV together with salary expectations to our Practice Manager, Mrs Alexandra Newman via email to an@haroldstock.com


We’re Hiring!

We currently have a vacancy for an experienced Legal Secretary to work at our Stockport office on a permanent full time basis. You will be working primarily within our Personal Injury and Wills & Probate Department but will be required to assist other departments as and when necessary. The successful candidate will have previous legal secretarial experience and will have excellent IT skills including the use of a case management system and digital dictation software. 

For further details of the role, please refer to the job description – Legal Secretary Job Description

To apply for this role, please forward your CV together with salary expectations to our Practice Manager, Mrs Alexandra Newman – an@haroldstock.com 

This role is full time and is available immediately based at Oak House, 483 Buxton Road, Stockport, SK2 7HE.

CVs will not be accepted from agencies.