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June 2020 Newsletter

Our office is open!

After the announcement of lockdown, our office had been closed but our services available by zoom and telephone. However, we know that some of our clients prefer face to face meetings.

Following government guidelines, we are offering face to face appointments again at our office 26 Mill Street, Bedford, MK40 3HD.

The safety of our clients and staff is our priority so we have a number of measures in place to ensure this is the case.

All rooms are thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis. All our meeting rooms provide 2-meter distances between all attendees of the meeting. We also have transparent separating screens in the meeting rooms.

All clients are required to wear face masks. If you do not have a face mask, we have disposable masks available in the office. Hand sanitisers are available and signs around the office to remind all clients and staff members to stay clean and safe.

We appreciate that not everyone will want to come for face to face meetings so we ensure our clients know that we are more than happy to continue with zoom or telephone meetings if desired.

We provide FREE 30 minute consultations, so call us today to book your appointment or use our online form.

Settlement offer from your employer

Many people are undergoing changes at work due to the current pandemic. You may have been offered a ‘settlement offer’ from your employer, but what does this mean? Is the offer a good offer? Should you accept or deny? Shaar Bridge Solicitors can answer all your questions.

What is a settlement offer?

A settlement offer is a proposal made to try and resolve an outstanding issue/problem. This proposal is usually in the form of monetary value. For example, if you filed a grievance with your employer and because of this, they may try to put the issue to bed by offering you £1,000.00 (this is just an example).

What does a settlement offer mean for you?

The settlement offer means that you will take away the money they have offered you but this is full and final. Therefore, you will not be able to raise it again if you later decide you do not feel the amount given was fair. This is why it is essential that you ensure the amount offered is valued correctly.

How do you know if the amount offered is fair?

It is important that you do a schedule of loss, and if the amount offered is valued a lot lower than what you calculated, you should negotiate with your employer. This is not always easy as your employer may suggest your calculations are incorrect, or you may feel pressured to accept the offer at hand.

What can Shaar Bridge do to help?

Shaar Bridge Solicitors are experts in employment law and drafting a schedule of loss is second nature to us. We always maximise the amount our clients should be awarded as much as possible. We can discuss the issues with your employer so there is no pressure on you, and your employer will also see that we are professionals in this area, hopefully agreeing to the higher figure we offer as an alternative to what they have offered.

We suggest that if you have been offered a settlement from your employer, that you seek legal advice before accepting as you could be entitled to a lot more.

Remember we offer free 30 minute consultations so call us to book an appointment today or use our online form.

A Battle over a Will: Entering a Caveat or Issuing an Inheritance Act Claim?

Will disputes (i.e. contested probate) have become more common over the last few years because of the increase in more complex family arrangements and the increase in property values that makes a successful challenge more valuable.

Broadly speaking, there are two bases upon which the disposition of an estate under a will can be challenged claiming (1) that the will itself is invalid and/or (2) that the will does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’.

1. Challenging the Validity of the will – Entering a Caveat

Wills are most commonly challenged on the following grounds:

  • Lack of due execution: invalid wills
  • Revocation
  • Lack of capacity 
  • Lack of knowledge and approval
  • Undue influence: fraudulent wills

If you have a doubt on the validity of the will, you can enter a caveat to the probate registry with a fee of £20 to prevent the issue of a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Once a caveat is in place, the Personal Representative will not be able to administer the estate until it has been removed.  A caveat will only remain in place for 6 months (but it can be renewed on expiry) so you should use this time to investigate your claim and try to resolve any issues or concerns.

2. What if the will does not give reasonable financial provision – Inheritance Act Claim

Even if the will is valid, certain relatives and dependants can challenge the division/disposition of the estate under the will (or the rules of intestacy), by claiming under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act) alleging that it does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for them. The claim must be made within 6 months from the date of a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration. The categories of those who can make a claim are:

  • a spouse or civil partner
  • a former spouse or civil partner 
  • any person cohabitating with the deceased as ‘husband and wife’ for at least two years immediately prior to the deceased’s death
  • a child of the deceased
  • a person treated by the deceased as a ‘child of the family’: a step or foster child

There are statutory guidelines the court must take into account when considering a claim under s.3 of the 1975 Act. These are:

  • the financial needs and resources of the beneficiaries and applicant(s)
  • any obligations and responsibilities the deceased had towards any applicant or beneficiary
  • the size and nature of the estate
  • any disability (physical or mental) of any applicant or beneficiary and any other matter, including the conduct of the parties

In the case of an application by a spouse or civil partner, the court will also have regard to the age of the applicant and the duration of the marriage or civil partnership, and the contribution made by the applicant to the welfare of the family of the deceased. The maintenance standard is applied and the standard of provision is ‘such provision as would be reasonable in all the circumstances to maintain the applicant’. 

Something a bit different… Riddles!

1.) Only one colour, but not one size, Stuck at the bottom, yet easily flies. Present in sun, but not in rain, Doing no harm, and feeling no pain. What is it?

2.) What English word has the same pronunciation, even after you take away four of its five letters?

3.) My tongue is long, my breath is strong, And yet I breed no strife; My voice you hear both far and near, And yet I have no life. What am I?

4.) A boy has as many sisters as brothers, but each sister has only half as many sisters as brothers. How many brothers and sisters are there in the family?

5.) What word starting with BR, that with the addition of the letter E, becomes another word that sounds the same as the first?


1.) A Shadow
2.) Queue
3.) A Bell
4.) Four brothers three sisters
5.) Braking becomes Breaking

Thank you for reading!

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