Questions answered by Darren Sylvester at DJS Law Solicitors on the monthly legal corner at Hayes FM
I recently read that a decision of a mother who did not leave anything to her only daughter in her will was overturned by a court, so that the daughter received a sum of money. I was thinking of updating my will in light of changing family circumstances. Would the Court have the power to override my wishes after death?
I was involved in a Road Traffic Accident about six months ago and suffered a minor injury to my knee, which seems to have got worse over time. Am I able to pursue matters?
Three months ago I bought a new Sony TV online with a 12-month warranty. It has already become faulty and the online retailer is refusing to engage with my complaint. What are my rights?
My son has recently left his house-share at the end of his tenancy having graduated this year. He and his other housemates each paid a £750.00 deposit at the start of the tenancy, which the landlord is refusing to return on the basis that the deposits are being retained for “essential repairs and cleaning”. How can my son recover his deposit from the landlord?
My 86-year-old mother suffers from moderate dementia and in the opinion of my two brothers is no longer able to make sound financial decisions. My mother has property, savings and other investments. How can we protect her interests?
My return flight from JFK to London Heathrow was delayed by 9 hours recently. The reason given was due to a technical fault with the plane. I am about to write a letter of complaint due to the inconvenience the delay caused me, but wondered if there was any legal basis for requesting compensation?
I have been bullied and harassed by my employer for a number of months to the extent that going to work became unbearable and I resigned last Friday. Can I now lodge a claim for constructive unfair dismissal?
As a car driver, I often see cyclists jumping red lights and cycling on the road without lights. Do cyclists have the same responsibilities while on the road as motorists?
I work full time and want to take up some part-time freelance work at the weekend. What is the most I can earn before I pay 40% tax?
My friends and I recently had a meal at a restaurant. The service was poor, but to avoid any animosity we reluctantly paid the service charge. If the service received at a restaurant is poor is there any legal obligation to pay a service charge?
I read in the press recently that employers can read my personal emails that I send on my work PC during my lunch break. Is this not an invasion of my privacy?
Having been in a conveyancing chain, we exchanged contracts and completed two weeks ago. Despite leaving our home clean and tidy, the vendor whom we bought from left her house in a dirty state and it needed professional cleaning before we could unpack our belongings. Can I send the Invoice for the professional cleaning on to her?
I married for the second time but have children from my first marriage. My second husband and I own our home jointly, but on my death, I would like to leave my share of the property to my children, while allowing my husband to live in the house until he dies. Can this be done?
I recently signed a separation agreement with my spouse. Is this legally binding and could I remarry in the future?
I was involved in road traffic accident a couple of weeks ago. My insurance company want to appoint a solicitor's firm under my legal expenses insurance to progress my claim with the third-party driver. Do I have to use the solicitor's firm appointed by my insurance company?
My grandmother has left me and my sister as executors of her will. The Estate is likely to be complicated, will take time to administer and, besides, I do get very nervous whenever I have dealt with minor legal matters in the past. I think this is a task too big for me. Do I have to be one of my grandmother's executors even though I am named in her will?
I am buying a business which has a lease that has four years left to run. Can the landlord remove me as a tenant once the four years are up?
I am in a civil dispute and at the last hearing the judge recommended that the matter is suitable for mediation? What exactly is mediation, and do I have to go through this process?
I have received a Statutory Demand. What do I do?
A fairly large sum has been withdrawn from my current account which I did not authorise. My bank is refusing to refund the money. What is my next step?
I am getting married in August. What impact will this have on my existing will?
After 8 years with my current employer, I have been told that the company is being sold and that all employees are to be transferred to a new company. Do I have to work for the new company?
I would like to convert my garage into a bedsit to rent out. Would this be possible?
My partner and I own our property as tenants in common. If we changed this to a joint tenancy, would that benefit us in terms of minimising inheritance tax?
In April this year I renewed my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), is this still valid given that the UK has voted to leave the European Union?
My car insurance policy expired, and I genuinely thought that my insurance was on auto renewal. The police stopped me, impounded my car and I am looking at 6 points on my driving licence and a fine. Can I challenge this?
Do unmarried couples have the same rights regarding their children?
Last weekend I bought a new printer online but am not happy with the quality of the printing. Even though I have used it a couple of times, can I return it and get a refund?
I have been living together with my boyfriend for 5 years. After what period of time do we become 'common law husband and wife'?
The recent Uber decision held that Uber drivers were "workers" and entitled to holiday pay, rest breaks and the national minimum wage. What is the difference between a worker and an employee?
Is it possible to avoid care home fees by selling my house or gifting it to a member of my family?
I booked a 14 days Caribbean cruise over Christmas four months ago. I am due to leave on 15 December 2016 and the agent I book with has informed me that two of the destinations I was meant to be visiting have changed to alternative ones. I am very disappointed as the two destinations where the ship will not now be visiting is where I have family whom I wanted to meet with when the ship docked on those islands. What are my rights?
About 7 years ago we erected a conservatory without planning permission. As we want to now sell the house, we have managed to obtain retrospective planning approval from our local authority, but not building regulations approval. Is this likely to jeopardise a sale?
I have an "SP30" endorsement on my driving licence. How long do penalty points stay on your driving licence for?
I found out that my husband is having an affair. I have also started having an affair. Could I start divorce proceedings as my husband's affair started first?
I signed a gym contract for 18 months last January. 11 months have elapsed, but the gym is not the same. New management have taken over, the gym is always dirty, and I no longer believe I am getting value for money. Could I simply cancel my monthly direct debit? Would the gym pursue me for the remaining 7 months' payment under the contract (£210.00)?
My son is in his final year of a sociology degree at university. With rising house prices, I am concerned that he may be unable to get on the property ladder. Even if he does find a good job after graduating, he will have student debts to repay and it will take a long time for him to save for a deposit for a house or a flat. Can I transfer my Buy-to-Let property to him to move into once he graduates?
I have a dilemma. I will shortly be booking a quite expensive cruise. Do I pay part of the cruise fee on my credit card (to get protection) and pay 2.5% in credit card fees to the cruise company or should I pay the whole amount by debit card (with the risk of not getting any protection), but avoiding a 2.5% credit card fee? Your advice would be appreciated.
I read in the newspaper that some time ago there were new rules to stop landlords unfairly evicting tenants. Can you explain what the new rules cover?
I have my own house, but helped my mum buy a flat through the right to buy scheme. My mother was named as the owner of the property for about six months and then ownership of the flat was transferred into my name. If and when the flat is sold, will I have to pay Capital Gains Tax?
I have been summoned for Jury Service and although I work for a reasonably large company, I manage a small team. My company do not seem keen on agreeing for me to be on Jury Service. What should I do?
What happens if I don't have a will when I die?
I suffered a personal injury as a result of a holiday in Spain last year. Both my insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver seem to be disputing the "applicable law". I can see matters dragging on, which I do not want. As I was not at fault for the accident is there a way that matters could be expedited?
We have had a recent bereavement in our family and read that the probate fees are due to increase in May by some considerable sum. As probate is needed to deal with the estate of a deceased person, what happens in the event that there are substantial property assets in the estate but limited cash assets to pay the probate fees?
My wife and I are having some building work done at our home and my neighbour told me that I should have provided him with a Notice specifying the intended works as it may affect the Party Wall. As we get on fairly well, is this really necessary?
I often see the phrase "This does not affect your statutory rights" in shops. What exactly does this mean?
My friend recently suggested to me that I could transfer my house to my son and still live in the property to avoid a large inheritance tax bill on my death. How would this work?
I booked a flight to South Africa and then became severely unwell and my GP advised against travelling. My travel insurance reimbursed the cost of the flight but said that the airline tax had to be claimed directly from the airline. While I would like this money back is it likely to be a long-winded process?
Between leaving university and starting work in 2013, I was self-employed for one year. I filed a tax return for 2012/2013 and assumed that that was the end of it. While I was due a rebate for the previous tax year (2011/2012), when I logged in to my HMRC online account I saw that HMRC have added penalties and interest that now entirely wipe out that rebate. How can I challenge this?
I am buying a property and have a mortgage offer that expires in November 2017. The developer has said that the flat will be ready in July 2017. Am I able to defer exchange of contracts until closer to completion as money I have in my fixed-term ISA matures in September 2017?
I am going through a divorce. It has already taken 2 years. The house is in my husband's name. He pays the mortgage and I pay the bills. Although we have a Declaration of Trust that says we are 50:50 tenants in common, my husband keeps telling me that only he can put the house up for sale. I really want to move on with my life but can't until the house is sold and I have received my share. My husband is deliberately dragging matters out. Is there anything I can do?
I have a spare room in my house and am thinking of taking in a lodger. What are the tax implications to this?
My solicitor has decided that he will take on my personal injury claim on a "No Win No Fee" basis. I have been given a lot of paperwork, with lots of legal terminology, but it is all a bit too complex for me to take in. Can you assist?
I ordered a new table and chairs online for £850.00 for my dining room. When it was delivered, I noticed that four of the chairs did not fit under the table correctly due to the way the table was designed (it had two diagonal beams under the table). My husband and I decided the table was unsuitable and called the company to collect the table and chairs. In a telephone conversation, one of the staff mentioned a cancellation charge of £325.00, which took me by surprise. Is such a fee allowed to be charged?
My mum has opted to take out an equity release on her mortgage. I am 25 and still reside at home and my mum’s mortgage company have sent me an Occupier’s Consent Form to sign. Is this a mistake as I am not part of the mortgage?
My neighbour’s tree branches are overhanging into my garden. My neighbour’s house is currently unoccupied at the moment and has been for a couple of months. If I am unable to contact him about the situation, what are my rights?
I was having my back garden landscaped by a garden company who sent me an invoice for their final payment. I paid over £4,000.00 by online bank transfer to what I thought was the landscape garden company did not receive the money, due to the company’s computer systems being intercepted and the money being sent to a bogus/fraudulent bank account. What rights do I have in this situation?
I have changed my name by deed poll. Do I have to register my change of name anywhere?
My husband and I have separated. How can I get him out of the home?
I need to get an Oath for Probate of my sister’s estate Sworn. What does this entail?
I listened to one of your previous shows and recall you answering a question about marriage revoking an existing will. Does a divorce do likewise?
Two months ago I was flying from Kuala Lumpur to London with Malaysia Airlines. Upon arrival at the airport I found out that my flight was delayed by 5 hours. Needless to say that I arrived at London Heathrow well over 4 hours after I should have done. I am in the process of complaining and wish to be reimbursed for my expenses, however, some of the template letters online are confusing. Could you advise if EU Regulation 261/2004 is the right thing to mention in the letter?
My father made a Power of Attorney in 2005, appointing me (as his daughter) as his attorney. I have read that there have been changes to Powers of Attorney since 2005, so would my father (who is still in his senses) have to make another one?
What are the laws regarding bonfires?
I have booked a holiday and have received an ATOL Certificate. What is this for?
I recently accepted an offer on my house. I stood to make a fair amount from the sale that I booked an excellent holiday that would be covered by the sale proceeds. Recently, just before exchanging contracts, the buyer reduced her offer significantly. If I do accept this reduced offer, I will not have enough money for my holiday. What can I do?
Is it true that that NHS will, in certain circumstances, pay for nursing home fees? My grandmother needs nursing care and lives in London, so can the NHS pay for the care fees?
I am self-employed and pay both class 2 and class 4 National Insurance contributions. I am shortly to reach state pension age and I read (somewhat surprisingly) that upon reaching state pension age I can stop paying class 2 National Insurance contributions but would have to continue to pay class 4 National Insurance contributions. Is my understanding correct?
I have recently been appointed a trustee of a fairly large charitable trust. While I am excited about being a trustee, I am also concerned about being held personally liable should the charity or the other trustees do anything wrong? Is there a risk of being held personally liable as a trustee?
I recently had an away break and before booking the hotel, I enquired if the hotel had a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi on the premises that I could use. I was told that they did and proceeded to book the hotel and paid the fee. I later discovered that the jacuzzi was out of use (and had been for many weeks before). Even though I did use the sauna and steam room, is there anything I can do as I did want to use all three facilities, and if I had known that the jacuzzi was out of operation I would have chosen another hotel to stay at?
I am in my early 50s and was recently giving thought to my pensions. I have had pensions with at least four employers, but only have details of the last two pension schemes with the companies I worked for. What happens to the pension contributions I made over the years with my first two employers?
I was recently driving on a poorly maintained road and hit a deep pothole that severely damaged my nearside front tyre of my car. Aside from the inconvenience, the garage repair costs were £85.00. I do not feel that I should have to incur this cost, so how can I get reimbursement or compensation?
My husband and I recently went through the process of updating our wills. We were shocked to find out that the draft wills of my husband and I were sent in error to my daughter (who is a beneficiary). We find this highly unprofessional. Is there anything that can be done?
In the recent snow and icy weather I have noticed that in my area none of the roads and pavements have been gritted. Is there not an obligation on the local council to do this?
I left a bag of clothes and other items outside the door or a charity shop at about 7.30pm last Thursday evening before I went shopping. On passing the charity shop about 45 minutes later (having done my shopping) the bag of clothes had been removed (despite the charity shop being shut). While in hindsight I should have taken the clothes to the charity shop during working hours, can a third party just walk away with these clothes and other items?
We have a shared driveway with our neighbours who are having building words done at the moment. A skip has been placed on the driveway that is preventing us from reaching our garage at the back of the property. Our neighbours did not warn us about this. What can we do?
My energy supplier whom I have been with for 3 years recently sent me a bill for an astronomical sum (£1,800) for the period 1.12.2017 to 28.2.2018. This is obviously a mistake. I pay by direct debit and do not want the £1,800.00 taken from my account. What are my rights here?
I was renting a property with 3 other people 4 years ago and paying rent to my landlord on a monthly basis. I have now received a council tax demand for a sum over £2,000.00. I don't have any paperwork from my time at this property, so how can I challenge this? I don't have £2,000!
I booked a holiday to Greece using a well-known website. I selected flights, accommodation and transfers and a deposit was paid through the website. The hotel is no longer available. What can I do?
I have lived with my partner for 22 years, but never married as we have never felt the need to. A friend mentioned to me recently that there are tax advantages of getting married, but he did not go into any detail. Please can you advise on the tax advantages available to married couples?
Am I entitled to kill a burglar if they break into my home at night?
I have read in the papers that property fraud is very common. As a homeowner, what steps can I take to prevent this?
I am the membership secretary of a local club. Would the new GDPR data rules affect our club as the only data that is held is members’ names, postal addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers. These are held purely for administration purposes, not for marketing?
Can a will made in the UK be used to obtain probate in another Country?