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Latest News

What can you do if you suspect abuse of a power of attorney?

With more people in the UK now living into their 80s and 90s, an increasing number of us are choosing to make a lasting power of attorney. This is a legal document under which we appoint someone we trust to make important decisions about our finances, and health and welfare, should we reach a point where we can no longer make these decisions for ourselves. The attorney(s) that you appoint must always act in your best interest.

However, each year there are a small number of cases where someone appointed as an attorney abuses their position of trust by making inappropriate decisions.  If you are a relative or a co-attorney who is concerned that this may be happening, then we recommend that you take prompt legal advice to limit the potential damage that this may cause. 

Challenging a dubious will where you suspect coercion

We all generally have the right to leave our money and property to whoever we please when we die, but the decisions we make must be arrived at freely and without undue influence from family, friends or others who hope to secure an inheritance.

Unfortunately, with elder abuse and oppression of the vulnerable on the rise, there are hundreds of cases every year where people are coerced into writing a will that does not reflect their wishes. Usually, they have been persuaded by someone they know and trust.

Options for dealing with a problem landlord

According to the Hamptons Letting Index there has been an increase in first-time landlords entering the buy-to-let sector, with many enticed by the stamp duty holiday and low interest rates. Unfortunately, some property investors think being a landlord is a way to make easy money and either do not understand or do not take their obligations and responsibilities seriously.

If you rent your home and are having problems with your landlord’s actions, or lack of action, then it is important that you know what your legal options are. 

The rights of a beneficiary with concerns about a trustee

If you are the beneficiary of a trust and you are dissatisfied about the way in which an appointed trustee is acting, then it is important for you to understand your options for holding them to account.  Your concerns may relate to the mismanagement of trust assets, the preferential treatment being shown to other beneficiaries, the unlawful disposal of trust property, the unacceptable dissipation of trust funds or even the suspected misappropriation of trust income.

As Nick Timmings, Partner with Petersfields LLP explains, ‘There are a number of steps that you can take to have your concerns about a trustee addressed.  These range from asking them to explain their actions and provide certain information, to applying to the court to have them forcibly removed from their position and replaced with someone else.’

However, it is vital that you consider your options carefully and take specialist legal advice in order to achieve the best outcome and prevent a disagreement escalating into a formal dispute.

My neighbour has taken part of my garden. What can I do?

What might have started out looking like a small and innocuous plant to your neighbour can soon grow into a substantial hedge that extends well beyond their boundary, albeit innocently, reducing the amount of land which you can enjoy.  On the other hand, it is not unknown for neighbours to deliberately erect a fence or build a wall beyond what you believe to be the agreed boundary line.

‘If you think your neighbour has encroached onto land belonging to you, then there are a series of steps you can take to determine whether this is in fact the case,’ says Dawn Kiddy, dispute resolution lawyer with Petersfields LLP in Cambridge and Haverhill, who outlines the steps you can take to achieve a resolution by claiming the land back or securing appropriate compensation.

A neighbour has caused my property to flood. What can I do?

The risk of flooding in England and Wales is increasing year on year and exposing millions of homeowners to the possibility of property damage and the consequent misery that this causes.  In some cases, there is nothing you can do but try to claim on your insurance, assuming that you have managed to get cover in place.


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Ely Road
Milton, Cambridgeshire
CB24 6WZ

Haverhill office
6 Hamlet Road
Haverhill, Suffolk