Solicitors High Wycombe, Author at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP

High Wycombe solicitor warns that commercial lease negotiations can be “make or break” for small businesses

High Wycombe solicitor warns that commercial lease negotiations can be “make or break” for small businesses

A High Wycombe solicitor has warned that the outcome of commercial lease negotiations can have such a wide-ranging effect on small businesses that they can effectively be a “make or break” moment.

Graham King, Senior Partner at Easton Street-based Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, issued the warning against a background of challenging times for high streets across the UK, with many businesses that are closing placing the blame on onerous terms in their leases.

He said: “Commercial lease agreements are complicated, which means small differences in the terms can lead to big differences in outcomes for small business tenants.

“For instance, including a break clause that allows you to terminate the lease prior to its expiry can offer vital flexibility that allows a business to move to more suitable premises, should commercial conditions change.

“Likewise, providing for security of tenure will give you the right to renew your lease in the future on the same terms as the existing lease, meaning you reduce the risk of losing your premises in the future.”

He said that there is a range of other considerations that businesses need to take into account during lease negotiations, including repairing obligations and temporary rent reductions.

“Getting commercial lease negotiations right can be make or break for small businesses and it is always advisable to seek the advice of an experienced solicitor with knowledge of the local market,” said Graham.

High Wycombe law firm reminds local people of the need to keep their Wills updated

High Wycombe law firm reminds local people of the need to keep their Wills updated

A leading High Wycombe-based law firm is reminding local people of the need to keep their Wills updated to reflect any changes in their wishes or circumstances.

Lawyers from Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, which has offices on Easton Street in the town centre, say that people risk leaving loved-ones with nothing if their Will is not up-to-date and validly drafted.

Roderick McCulloch, a Partner at the firm and Head of the Private Client department, said: “A Will is the only way that a person can determine what happens to their wealth, assets and possessions after they are gone.

“However, it is easy to forget how quickly circumstances change and how that might have a bearing on your wishes or even on the validity of your Will.

“Perhaps the most important life event that can have a bearing on your Will is marriage, because a Will made before you marry ceases to be valid after your wedding.

“There are other circumstances too that can have a major impact on your wishes, such as the birth of a child or grandchild or the death of a beneficiary.”

He said that people should keep their Wills under regular review throughout their lives and especially after any major life events.

Roderick added: “Failing to keep your Will under regular review and up-to-date can have perverse consequences, such as seeing large parts of your estate bequeathed to an ex-husband or wife, rather than your children or a new partner.”

Where a person dies without having a valid Will in place, their estate becomes subject to the intestacy rules, which will automatically distribute the estate amongst certain relatives.

Businesses and individuals to benefit as High Wycombe law firm appoints two partners

Businesses and individuals to benefit as High Wycombe law firm appoints two partners

Businesses and individuals from across Buckinghamshire stand to benefit from the appointment of two new partners at a High Wycombe law firm.

Reynolds Parry Jones LLP has promoted Charlotte Kerns and Kalbir Gill to become partners of the firm.

Charlotte Kerns works within the firm’s Private Client department, specialising in matters relating to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and the Administration of Estates.

Charlotte Kerns said: “Reynolds Parry Jones LLP has a strong reputation in High Wycombe and beyond for the personal service we offer our clients, enabling us to offer advice that is tailored to their specific needs.

“I am looking forward to continuing to develop our Private Client services in my new role as a partner of the firm.”

Kalbir GillKalbir Gill said: “Our strong local knowledge means we are able to offer an excellent level of client service in commercial property transactions.

“It is wonderful to have been appointed as a partner of the firm and to be able to build on our existing commercial property services.”

Graham King, Senior Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, added: “We are delighted to welcome Charlotte and Kalbir to the partnership. I know that our clients value their advice and input.

“Charlotte and Kalbir’s promotions underscore our ambitions as a firm.”

High Wycombe law firm says firms need to have clear polices on sexual harassment in the workplace

High Wycombe law firm says firms need to have clear polices on sexual harassment in the workplace

A High Wycombe law firm has cautioned that businesses need to have clear policies in place on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Robert Hill, a Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP made the comments following allegations against a number of high-profile employers.

Profits have taken a tumble at fashion retailer Ted Baker after staff made allegations of inappropriate behaviour against founder Ray Kelvin, who has now taken a voluntary leave of absence while investigations take place.

The news follows hard on the heels of allegations of harassment against Topshop boss Sir Philip Green, with employees claiming he threatened and humiliated them.

Alongside this, the Big Four accountancy firms have dismissed dozens of partners for behaviour that has included bullying and sexual harassment, according to figures recently released by the firms, after the chief executive of Deloitte spoke out. David Sproul revealed that 20 partners had been dismissed from Deloitte over a four‐year period, saying that rather than hide away from the negative aspect of such figures, he wanted to be transparent and demonstrate a commitment to a fair and inclusive working environment.

Robert Hill said: “This sort of open attitude is increasingly important for all organisations. Share prices rely on companies creating the right culture and abuse of privilege or power will no longer stay out of sight as staff, quite rightly, are finding ways to get their voices heard. But it’s not just about big business, as corporate reputation can take a hit whatever your size, so you need to ensure you are facing up to any such issues, improving the workplace culture where necessary, to safeguard employees.”

Employees are protected in the workplace by the Equality Act 2010, which makes it unlawful for an employer to allow any job applicant or employee to be subject to any harassment, whether of a sexual nature, or other intimidating behaviour. It is the employer who is responsible for preventing such behaviour, as they are liable for any harassment suffered by their employees in the workplace.

He added: “Every business should have a clear policy, in writing and shared with both management and staff, with a clear pathway and a safe environment for handling any complaints. Too often it’s a more senior member of staff who is doing the harassing, and that can lead to worries about what will happen if a report is made. Allegations made by staff in the Ted Baker case set out that their concerns were ignored or discounted by the HR department.

“It’s important that everyone is clear what is acceptable nowadays. Making rude jokes, innuendo, or gender‐based comments are likely to be found offensive or humiliating, and management needs to demonstrate a zero tolerance to such behaviour, however large or small the company.”

High Wycombe lawyers to host discussion on what Brexit means for commercial property

High Wycombe lawyers to host discussion on what Brexit means for commercial property

Lawyers from a prominent High Wycombe-based law firm are to host a discussion later this month on what Brexit means for the commercial property market.

Members of the team at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP will host the discussion at the January meeting of the firm’s Commercial Property Club as businesses and individuals across the country wait to see how the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 29 March will affect them.

As well as Brexit, various recent legal developments relating to the commercial property sector will also be on the agenda at the meeting, which starts at 9am on Thursday 31 January 2019 at High Wycombe Cricket Club.

Graham King, Senior Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, said: “Trust and confidence in what the future holds is crucial to any investment and particularly so when it comes to commercial property, so it is no surprise that Brexit is looming large over the sector.

“The next meeting of our Commercial Property Club will be a great opportunity for people working in the sector in any capacity to discuss what Brexit will mean for the market both locally and further afield, hopefully enabling them to clarify their thinking.

“I would urge anyone involved in the sector to sign up for the meeting today.”

First visits to the Commercial Property Club are complimentary and anyone wishing to attend can book their place by visiting: https://www.rpj.uk.com/events/.

High Wycombe lawyers collect a ‘sleigh-load’ of presents and hundreds of pounds for local children with Christmas breakfast

High Wycombe lawyers collect a ‘sleigh-load’ of presents and hundreds of pounds for local children with Christmas breakfast

A High Wycombe-based law firm has collected a ‘sleigh-load’ of presents as well as hundreds of pounds for local children with a Christmas breakfast event attended by businesses from across the local area and the town’s MP.

Reynolds Parry Jones LLP held the event on Friday 7 December at its Easton Street offices, raising more than £400 in the process.

The firm will pass the gifts to St Andrew’s Church to distribute to local children this festive season.

Graham King, Senior Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, said: “We were delighted to be snowed-under with so many donations, each of which will make a real difference to a child in the local area this Christmas.

“It was great to welcome so many of our colleagues from the local business community and Steve Baker MP to our offices.

“I would like to thank everyone who donated for their generosity, which has helped us collect a ‘sleigh-load’ full of presents.”

The firm has held its annual Christmas Charity Breakfast for a number of years now, each year helping ensure that local children receive presents at Christmastime.

Rising fees set deadline for executors and estate planning, say High Wycombe solicitors

Rising fees set deadline for executors and estate planning, say High Wycombe solicitors

Controversial court fees which have been branded a stealth tax on bereaved families are expected to prompt a surge in probate applications before the increase takes place, according to professionals from High Wycombe based law firm, Reynolds Parry Jones LLP.

The new banded fee structure will see the cost of probate increase by thousands of pounds for higher value estates.

The current flat fee is £215 for a personal application for probate, or £155 when handled through a solicitor, but this is to be replaced by a tiered set of fees. While the fees have been reduced from the original proposal last year, which would have seen charges of up to £20,000, the largest estates will still pay £6,000 in court fees.

The fees are payable to the court when the executors apply for formal authority to act in the administration of the estate, once they have identified and itemised all the assets owned by the person who has died. This follows submission of the inheritance tax return for the estate and payment of any inheritance tax that is due.

Until the application for a Grant of Probate or Letters of administration has been approved by the court, the executors are unable to collect the assets of the estate. Banks will not release the funds held in bank accounts, the proceeds of shareholdings cannot be handed over and property cannot be sold until probate has been obtained.

As no funds can be distributed until the Grant has been issued, except for payment of funeral costs and inheritance tax, there are concerns that families will struggle to pay the probate fees before they can access the money locked in the deceased’s estate.

Those estates that comprise high value property, but are short on liquid assets, may find themselves paying high court fees without any expectation of cash to offset the cost. This could be the case where a husband or wife has died and the survivor needs a grant of probate to transfer the property into their sole name.

Roderick McCulloch, a Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, said: “For executors who are already in the process of administering estates, especially larger ones where the increased fees will be more of a problem, it’s worth reviewing the position to see if they can get the estate ready to apply for probate sooner rather than later.

“It’s currently expected to be April when the change is made to the tiered fee structure, but it could be earlier and there will be just 21 days from the announcement until the new fees commence.

“Looking to the future, if you expect your estate is going to be affected, it’s worth getting advice. There are only limited ways in which to tackle the amount of fee that will be due, but there are other ways in which you can ease the burden for your executors, including taking out a life insurance policy and putting it in trust.

“If made over in this way for the benefit of a family member, or other beneficiary, the proceeds will not be included within the estate and can be accessed on death before the Grant of Probate.”

In addition, leading property to a surviving spouse by means of a trust rather than an absolute gift will reduce the value of the surviving spouse’s estate for the purposes of the court fee calculation when he or she dies.

Roderick added: “The important thing when estate planning is to make sure you understand all the implications and check that what you’re planning will solve the problem and not create a new one. You need to get specialist advice as these are technical areas.

“For example, the taxman is taking an increasingly forensic approach to investigating transfers of property made before death. Growing numbers are handing over property to family but continuing to live there, which is known as a ‘gift with reservation of benefit’ and gives rise to potential tax liabilities.

“It’s good practice to regularly review your estate and tax planning, as things are always changing.”

New probate court fees from April 2019:

Estates with a value of less than £50,000 will be exempt. Above that, the fees will be on a sliding scale from £250 to £6,000.

Estate value Fee

 

Up to £50,000 or exempt Nil

 

£50,000£300,000 £250

 

£300,001£500,000 £750

 

£500,001£1m £2,500

 

£1,000,001 £1.6m £4,000

 

£1,600,001 £2m £5,000

 

Over £2m £6,000

 

Receptionist at High Wycombe law firm graduates with Law degree

Receptionist at High Wycombe law firm graduates with Law degree

A receptionist at a High Wycombe-based law firm has graduated with a Law degree.

Nicola Humphreys, who works at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, graduated with an LLB degree in Law from the Open University on 17 November 2018.

She has studied for the degree by distance learning over the course of the last four year, studying topics including contracts law, property law and criminal law. Nicola also took part in a pro-bono law clinic as part of her studies.

She said: “I am delighted to have graduated with my Law degree. I have always had a keen interest in law and find it fascinating.

“On returning to work after having my family, I decided that law was the route I wanted to take.”

Graham King, Senior Partner at Reynold Parry Jones LLP, added: “All of us here at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP would like to congratulate Nicki on her achievement, which is all the more impressive as she studied around her work commitments.”

High Wycombe lawyers say that options are available to small businesses hit by the scourge of late payments

High Wycombe lawyers say that options are available to small businesses hit by the scourge of late payments

Late payments are a major problem for small businesses across the UK, affecting cash flow to such an extent that it is one of the biggest causes of small businesses going under.

However, professionals at a High Wycombe-based law firm say that there are steps that small businesses can take to recover their cash when things go wrong and customers fail to pay them on time for the goods or services they have provided.

Lawyers at Reynold Parry Jones LLP say that businesses should not be afraid to consider their options when it comes to taking action.

Robert Hill, a Partner at the firm, said: “A solicitor’s letter can often be the prompt that a late payer needs to settle the debt. This is a cost-effective way to reduce the chances of problems escalating.

“Where a debtor doesn’t pay up after a letter, there are then a variety of options that can be considered, depending on whether that debtor is a business or a private individual and the value of the debt owed.

“These options can range from seeking County Court Judgments to Winding-Up Orders or Bankruptcy proceedings.

“Often the threat of action will lead to a satisfactory resolution and experienced lawyers will be able to advise on the most appropriate and cost-effective courses of action.

He added that seeking legal advice at an early stage is key and can help avoid mistakes that could undermine a case.

“Where matters do come to court, it can be possible to recover the debt with interest, compensation and costs,” he added.

High Wycombe lawyers say careful planning can make the difference in old age ahead of International Day of Older Persons

High Wycombe lawyers say careful planning can make the difference in old age ahead of International Day of Older Persons

Ahead of UN International Day of Older Persons on Monday 1 October 2018, professionals at a High Wycombe law firm have said that careful planning can be the key to a good later life.

The Older Client team at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP have said that careful planning with the input of an experienced legal advisor is one of the most important things that people can do as they enter the later decades of their lives.

Roderick McCulloch, a Partner at Reynolds Parry Jones LLP, said: “As more people are living longer lives, so too are more families dealing with the challenges that old age brings.

“Whether it is the loss of mental capacity of or care needs, planning for these eventualities can make a major difference to people’s quality of life.

“Putting Lasting Powers of Attorneys in place means that a person can be confident that their wishes will be adhered to, should they become incapacitated.

“Similarly, planning for care fees can save the heartache of having to sell the family home.”

Roderick added that older age can be a time of big changes and so it is also important that documents prepared some time ago remain up to date.

“Wills should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they reflect any changes in circumstances, such as births, deaths and marriages, as well as changes to the Inheritance Tax (IHT) rules.

“LPAs should also be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they reflect a person’s latest wishes and that those appointed to make decisions on their behalf remain appropriate,” he added.

“Getting these plans right and keeping them up to date can make a profound difference to a person’s later years.”

To help people plan for old age and to ensure their plans remain up to date, Reynolds Parry Jones LLP offers a dedicate Later Life service, which includes the preparation and review of key documents for a fixed annual fee.

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