At Blackhams we aim to resolve your dispute with your best interests at the heart of the matter.
We understand what a stressful time disputes with a friend, business partner, family member or contractor can be. We can ease the situation for you. We aim to provide an efficient and skilled service to resolve your matter as quickly and as cost-efficiently as possible.
We have a detailed understanding of the Civil process and appreciate that sometimes Court proceedings are inevitable. We ensure you have the best team to take you all the way to a final hearing. Your matter will always be dealt with by a Solicitor who will be assisted by the best barristers and experts specialising in your matter.
If you have concerns about the last Will of a deceased, you can register a Caveat against the estate. This will prevent anyone from administering the estate whilst investigations are ongoing. Our team can assist you with this for a fixed fee of £300 plus VAT as well as the £20 Court fee for the application.
A Caveat is most commonly used under the following circumstances;
If you feel the deceased was not of sound mind to make the Will it can be challenged and set aside on this ground. Our team can assist with obtaining medical records and experts’ opinions on the deceased’s capacity.
Lack of knowledge and approval
A person must know and approve of the content of their Will. They must understand what they are signing. The Will is usually contested on this ground if the Will was prepared by one of the beneficiaries and then signed by the deceased. The deceased can be of sound mind and still not understand or approve what they have signed.
Lack of proper formalities
Under the Wills Act 1837 all Wills must follow certain formalities for them to be valid. They must be written, signed and witnessed correctly. Our team have successfully challenged homemade Wills and those drafted by professionals with no legal training due to them failing to follow the formalities.
If a person is coerced into making their Will this can be challenged. Undue influence can take many forms such as bullying, intimidation or even criticising a third party to cause someone to change their Will.
Forgery or fraud
If the signature on the Will is forged, then the Will can be set aside. We can appoint a handwriting expert who will provide a report on whether they agree that the signature has been forged or not.
A Will can also be contested on this ground if it was not signed in the presence of the Witnesses.
The Will can also be set aside if it has been tampered with. We as Solicitors ensure that our Wills are sealed to avoid the chance of anyone interfering with the Will once it has been signed however if someone does tamper with a Will this if forgery.
Sometimes, clients’ wishes are not actually reflected in their Will. A clerical error such as the wrong name being inserted, or a paragraph being missed can cause upset for the beneficiaries. We can obtain the original Will file and then apply to the Court to fix any mistakes. Under these circumstances those responsible may have to pay the legal costs involved. Please see the information on Professional Negligence regarding this.
If you have been left inheritance but have concerns about how the Executors are handling the management of the estate, we can help you to resolve this. We can obtain a copy of the Will and provide you with advice and assistance to ensure you receive your entitlement. We can also apply to the Courts to remove an Executor who is not acting in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries.
We are living in changing times; many people now choose to live together and not marry. Second marriages are also more frequent which can leave some children with no inheritance. Unfortunately, the law on intestacy is yet to catch up with modern day practices. If you are living with someone and are not married, you will not inherit anything unless they make a Will. This can cause severe financial hardship for some individuals. We can assist you by bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. The act allows you to bring a claim if:
When assets have been placed on Trust it can be a huge responsibility for the Trustees. Trusts must be managed very carefully in order to ensure that the beneficiaries’ interests are protected.
Managing trusts can result in trust property being transferred into the name of the trustees. This can sometimes lead to problems for the beneficiaries of a Trust. Many other problems can also arise from Trust management such as:
Our team can help you navigate through Trust disputes. We also have experienced senior Solicitors who can be appointed as Trustees should you need to remove existing Trustees.
With the ageing population one of the ever-increasing risks is that those managing the affairs of the elderly and vulnerable are not acting in their best interests. Without a Power of Attorney in place an individual should not be managing the finances and bank account of anybody. Unfortunately, not all clients make Powers of Attorney. Sometimes those who do have already been the victims of financial abuse at the hand of those they trusted as their Deputies/Attorneys. We can assist you with applications to the Court of Protection to recover assets and protect you from any future abuse.
Taking responsibility for someone’s finances can be a huge task. It can also cause a fall out in the family. We can represent Attorneys and Deputies against any claims being made against them by disgruntled family members.
If you feel that the instructions given to a professional for their services have not been followed or they have failed to advise you on critical steps you may have a claim against them. The negligence can be a Solicitor not meeting deadlines which results in serious consequences to your case or a surveyor failing to report on a vital matter.
It is very important to get advice early on in these circumstances. These cases are sometimes dealt with very amicable as the professional should have insurance to cover their loss.
Going into business with someone can be a difficult situation, if there are only two of you what happens if you cannot agree. Who shares the losses and profits? Most of these questions will be adequately covered in a written Partnership Agreement however for those who have not entered into a Partnership Agreement they will be at the mercy of the Partnership Act 1890. Navigating legislation such as this can be very complex. Our team aim to use mediation to help you resolve your disputes. We also speak in a language you understand. We can simplify the legal jargon for you, so you know exactly where you stand.
Construction projects can be very complicated due the very nature of the work involved; the projects must be managed very carefully to ensure all those involved are able to complete their work on time.
We have successfully acted for major property developers in the Midlands and construction companies who have not been paid for their work due to the mishandling of projects. Our team will review any contracts in place and help you to find a resolution with the assistance of the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes.
If you are a Landlord and have difficult tenants who are not paying the rent or have breached the tenancy agreement, then we can assist you with their eviction. We take a very commercially practical view to such matters as we understand that finances can already be a strain when you are receiving no rent for a property. We offer a flexible arrangement to ensure you have the assistance when you need it.
The first stage of evicting a tenant is to serve them with a Section 8 or Section 21 notice. If they still refuse to leave you will have to take the matter to Court. The Judge will then issue a date for them to leave if the Judge feels it is appropriate to do so. If they still refuse to leave you will need to instruct the Courts Bailiffs to assist.
We can offer assistance on such matters on a fixed fee basis. Please contact our team for further information.
Many clients will successfully obtain a Judgement for someone to pay them money but do not know what to do once they have this. Our team can assist you in enforcing this Judgement. You have various options available depending on who your debtor is. Some of these options are:
If the debtor owns their home, you can apply to put a charge on their property. This is possible for Judgements over £5,000. If the property is sold you can recover your money. You can also enforce the sale yourself by applying for an Order for sale.
Order for Sale
You can apply to the Court for an Order to sell the property which you have a charge against.
Attachment of Earnings Order
If the debtor is working you can ask the Court to make an Order for you to take a certain percentage from the Debtors salary every month.
Warrant of Control
This is where High Court Enforcement Officers will take possession of the debtors’ goods to sell at auction. This money will then be passed to you to satisfy the debt.
Third Party Debt Order
If the debtor has money held with someone else the Court can order the third party to pay the money to you.
Bankruptcy & Winding Up
If the debt is more than £5,000 against an individual and more than £750 against a company, you can pursue insolvency proceedings.
A contract can be in writing or verbal. If you feel that the other party to an agreement has not held up to their side of the bargain, please contact us for assistance. A common example of this is when we instruct builders to carry out work to our property, we do not always have a written document. In such circumstances if the work is not carried out with reasonable care and skill, we can help you to resolve your matter. We can offer an initial appointment at a fixed fee of £100 plus VAT with a member of our experienced team.
The vast majority of our dispute resolution work is charged at the hourly rate of £235 plus VAT per hour. This involves a Solicitor with over 7 years’ experience working solely on your matter.
Annam qualified as a Solicitor in 2013 having graduated from the University of Leicester in 2010 with an LLB (Hons). She now specialises in all areas of Dispute Resolution work having previously been appointed as the Head of Civil Litigation at a reputable Midlands practice. Her work includes successfully representing Landlords, Executors, Beneficiaries, Contractors and Business Partners.
Annam has a particular interest and expertise in contentious probate matters. Her experience in administering estates as well as contesting them means she can offer client’s a detailed insight on protecting estate assets and conflict resolution.
Annam prides herself on reaching the best commercial outcome for her clients. Her straightforward approach allows clients to be guided through the complex legal process and formalities with ease.
Outside of work Annam enjoys keeping busy with amateur boxing, history and adventurous travels.
Laura joined Blackhams in November 2018 as a Paralegal, having previously completed a legal apprenticeship with a firm in Birmingham. Laura is now studying CILEx and has recently completed her Level 3 exams and wishes to go on to study Level 6 to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive. Laura has a wide range of legal knowledge having worked in a number of different departments such as Property, Family, Private Client and Civil Litigation.
Laura works in the Family Department and Dispute Resolution Department and provides assistance to a number of Solicitors, which she enjoys thoroughly and finds it rewarding to provide a service to clients in their time of need.
Out of the office Laura enjoys going to the gym, learning German and plying the piano which she has completed up to Grade 4.