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Half of wills in the North of England are out of date

Posted: 29th March 2022

Half of wills in the North of England are out of date

CLAIR DUNKERLEY Solicitor For the Elderly (SFE) accredited solicitor calls for residents to review their wills ahead of “Update Your Will Week”

Research commissioned by SFE has revealed that almost half (45%) of people living in the North of England who have a will haven't updated it for more than five years, meaning nearly half of wills made in the area are likely to be out-of-date. Of those, over a third (34%) haven’t updated it for over 7 years, and over a fifth (22%) haven't dusted it off in more than a decade.

Having an up-to-date and well-drafted will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are carried out in the way you’d like when you die.

This year, SFE, a membership body representing over 1,600 solicitors specialising in working with older and vulnerable people, has launched “Update Your Will Week” (28th March – 3rd April) in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of updating your will regularly.

Local SFE solicitor Clair Dunkerley recommends that a will be reviewed and updated every five years, or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, new birth or even death in the family. SFE’s research has revealed that almost a third (31%) of people in the north with a will have had significant changes to their lives and circumstances since they drafted it.

Clair Dunkerley has warned that an unchecked and outdated will could cause severe implications for your loved ones after death – including missed inheritances and higher inheritance tax fees: “Many people assume that once you have drafted a will you don’t ever have to review it and that your wishes will be carried out as you wish them to be posthumously – but unfortunately, that’s far from true.

“If you remarry, for example, your will gets revoked. Or if you marry into a family and have stepchildren that you’d like to inherit your assets – this won’t happen automatically unless you stipulate it in a new will. All these details are crucial to avoid family disputes – which we know can be very distressing for your loved ones.”

 In fact, SFE’s research revealed that:

  • Only 16% of Brits realise that remarrying invalidates a will.
  • Less than a third (31%) of people realise stepchildren won't be included in your will unless you stipulate that separately.

  • 17% of people wrongly think you can update your will by making changes to the original document and initialling them.

The findings have also revealed that 59% of people in the North don’t have a will in place at all – a worryingly steep figure. Clair Dunkerley has highlighted that one in ten British families (11%) have been caught out by a ‘bad will’ – a will that is out of date or badly drafted – for example missing out on inheritance or their childhood home being sold without their knowledge.

Clair Dunkerley: “It’s great to see that many northerners have a will in place – but we need to see a higher will uptake, and for those that have a will in place, it’s paramount that they review these frequently. “I’d strongly recommend that people in the area look for their local SFE accredited solicitor.”

New Divorce Law

Posted: 22nd March 2022

The new divorce law is to come into effect from the 6th of April 2022.

The main changes in divorce law are: -

  • A joint application for divorce can be made.
  • There is no longer an option to contest/defend a divorce.
  • There is no need to use blame to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • A minimum timetable of 26 weeks is proposed for the divorce to be finalised.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us to book a free half an hour appointment to gain advice and support about applying for divorce as well as other matters such as child arrangements and finances.

Article by: Nicholl Fitzgerald, Trainee Solicitor.


Posted: 8th March 2022

Each year the government set national minimum rates of pay. The National Minimum Wage affects employees aged 22 and under, and the National Living Wage affects employees aged 23 and over.

Currently, the National Minimum Wage starts at £4.30 for apprentices and increases on a sliding scale with age. The current National Living Wage is set at £8.91.

The rates are set to increase from 01 April 2022:

 Age 23 and over  £9.50
 Age 21 to 22  £9.18
 Age 18 to 20  £6.83
 Under 18  £4.81
 Apprentice  £4.81

If you have an employment-related query then please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team directly on 0191 586 5711 for advice and assistance.


Posted: 24th February 2022

As family lawyers, we have been notified by the digital portal we use to apply for divorce applications that the Divorce Service is to close ‘soon’ due to reforms in divorce legislation.

The new no fault divorce is scheduled to come into force on the 6th of April 2022.

We are unsure whether HMCTS will accept divorce petitions as a paper application rather than electronic applications during the time that the digital portal is closed.

We are also unsure of when the cut off will begin and end.

We advise that if you are wanting to issue a divorce petition based on fault you should file your petition urgently to avoid using the no-fault divorce applications as well as being delayed in applying for your divorce by the HMCTS digital portal cut off.


Article by: Lisa Channon and Nicholl Fitzgerald

Five steps to using the online Official Injury Claim Service

Posted: 18th February 2022

A new, simplified guide has been published by The Ministry of Justice on how to use the online Official Injury Claim Service. 

This is to assist people who suffer whiplash injuries from a road traffic accident and how to submit their own personal injury claims. If the claim is going to be over £5000 or you are not sure, then you should seek legal advice.  

To get in touch with us regarding whiplash injuries or any personal injury claim, please contact Lyn Ryan




EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE: Mandatory vaccination regulations set to be revoked

Posted: 9th February 2022

As discussed in our earlier article, COVID-19 vaccinations were made mandatory In November 2021, for those working in care homes who did not have a valid exemption.

It was also announced that the Government intended to extend the mandatory vaccination regulations to those working in “other regulated activities” including most forms of health care services provided by the NHS and private organisations such as personal care, dentistry and surgery.  The regulations would affect all roles that involved face to face patient and/or service user interactions.

The regulations were scheduled to come into force from 1 April 2022.  A 12 week grace period was introduced, detailing the key dates by which unvaccinated workers must have their first and second vaccination.  The deadline for the first vaccination was 3 February 2022.

On 31 January 2022, the Government announced that it is looking to revoke the legislation that would have brought those changes into effect.  Employers are now being advised not to issue notices of termination to unvaccinated staff.  The Government has also announced that it intends to revoke the regulations that came into effect in November 2021, which will hopefully see care home employers, being able to re-employ unvaccinated staff.

This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in place of specific legal advice.  If you have an employment query, please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.

Landlord and tenant update: Prevention from illegal eviction

Posted: 6th January 2022

As discussed in earlier articles, a landlord must follow strict procedure to regain possession of their property from a tenant. The procedures followed will depend upon the type and term of the tenancy that the tenant has for the property.

A landlord must serve a valid notice on a tenant If the tenant fails to vacate the property after the notice period expires, a landlord can only legally evict them with a court order.

A landlord can not use force to evict a tenant. Landlord can not change the locks to the property without a court order. To do so, could result in the landlord being found guilty of illegally evicting their tenant. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence.

Most tenants are protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 which protects tenants against harassment and illegal eviction by landlords.

The Police and Local authorities have enforcement powers to tackle illegal evictions and can investigate offences of harassment and illegal eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. 

This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in place of specific legal advice.  If you have a landlord and tenant-related query, please do not hesitate to contact our litigation team for advice and assistance.

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