Don’t leave it too late

Yesterday BBC News highlighted the issues some people face when applying for Lasting Powers of Attorney.

1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime. There are currently more people than ever before living with dementia in the UK, and this number is projected to increase.

Why is this important to know?

Due to the gradual nature of dementia and the mild early-stage symptoms it is difficult to diagnose and more difficult to know when that person will lose their mental capacity. Once someone has lost their mental capacity, they are unable to make Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).

For a person to lack mental capacity, they must lack one or more of the following; understand the information relevant to the decision; retain that information; and use or weigh up that information as part of the process of making the decision. Many people believe that if someone has dementia, they automatically lose their mental capacity. This is not true. Needing more time to understand and communicate does not mean you lack mental capacity.

However, you do need to act sooner rather than later as a diagnosis of dementia may prevent you from signing LPAs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney 

Lasting Powers of Attorney allow those you trust to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you are no longer able to or if you would like some help with making your own decisions. Without a Lasting Powers of Attorney in place your loved ones can be left with significant worry and there could be ramifications for your finances.

To enable another person to make decisions for you, they will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a ‘deputy’. The Court has the final say as to who is appointed, and this may not align with your wishes. The process of making a Court application can be a very long and expensive process without guaranteed results.

Contact us now 

To discuss your options and ease your worries, contact us now on 01543 440 308 or email Adam Penn at


Protect your creative work in your Will

We can guide you through your copyrights and papers after death. In the United Kingdom, any copyrights and the Artist’s Resale Right (“ARR”) last your lifetime plus a further 70 years after death. This makes them a valuable asset that you can protect and pass down through generations.

Why you should write a Will

By writing a Will, you are able to leave your copyright, ARR and moral rights in the hands of someone you trust ensuring your artistic work is treated and remembered in the way you would wish. This includes the rights to any unpublished work. Also, whoever you choose to inherit your rights will be able to benefit financially from royalties generated by them. You may wish this to be family, friends or your chosen charity.

If you do pass away without having a Will in place, the rules of ‘intestacy’ apply. All of your assets, including your artistic assets, pass according to the UK rules of intestacy which may not be in line with your wishes. This can also create problems of inheritance and tax for your loved ones.

What should be included

In your Will, specific wording is required to ensure that your executors have the correct powers to deal with your estate, including your artistic work. It is also important to select the correct people to handle your estate as appointing multiple individuals can result in administrative difficulties.

Some people may choose to appoint executors and ‘literary executors’. These are two distinctly different roles that may need to work together but have different powers over different parts of the estate. An executor however, can be given the power or direction to appoint a literary manager.

Finally, you must include who you wish to benefit from your artistic work. This includes having access to the work itself, access to copy rights, and access to any royalties/profit. It is important to be aware that Copyright, ARR and Moral Rights can be referred to separately in your Will. You may wish for family and friends to benefit or even a museum, school or charity to benefit. If you are making a gift to your family, you may look to include a trust to protect the asset and plan against inheritance tax.

Contact us now

If you have any artistic assets that you wish to protect, pass on through generations or simply ensure they are remembered, contact us now. We can discuss the best option for you. Call us on 01543 440 308 or email

Estate Administration

Estate administration is the management of a person’s assets when they pass away. This involves collecting in and distributing the deceased assets.

Solicitor Charlotte Taylor

Who deals with the deceased estate? 

When someone passes away it is the job of Executors (appointed under a Will) or Administrators (entitled by law where there is no Will) to deal with administrating their estate. These roles come with a lot of responsibility and carry a risk of personal liability at an often-emotional time.

Due to the stress that this can cause, a lot of Executors and Administrators choose to take legal advice to help them. The instructions given to a solicitor or firm range from providing initial advice regarding the estate administration process and the duties of their role, to instructing to deal with the entire process on their behalf.

What does Estate Administration involve?

Estate administration can vary greatly depending on the assets that the deceased held. The process can be lengthy and may require a lot of steps. Here are some examples of what the estate administration process involves:

  • Locating the Original Will.
  • Ascertaining what assets and liabilities make up the estate. This includes finding out the values at the date of death.
  • Calculating whether Inheritance Tax is due, preparing the inheritance tax forms and paying the tax due.
  • Applying for the Grant of Probate.
  • Collecting the assets and settling the liabilities of the estate.
  • Preparing the estate accounts.
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules.

Key things to understand

When dealing with an estate administration, you should be aware of the following:

  • Must ensure that you understand the terms of the Will or if there is no Will, the intestacy rules.
  • There are time limits for a variety of claims against the estate, for filing the information with the Government and HMRC, paying certain liabilities and for distributing the estate. If you fail to comply with the time limits, you may face personal liability and/or penalties.
  • Ensuring that all tax is considered and that you consider any tax planning opportunities.


The lists above are not exhaustive but do highlight some of the complexities that come with being an Executor or Administrator of a deceased estate. The requires of an estate administration vary greatly depending on the circumstances and specifics of the estate.

At Four Oaks Legal Services, we offer a range of services to help with the administration. To discuss the right option for you, contact us on 01543 440 308 or email us at


Solicitors For the Elderly (SFE) are hosting an Update Your Will Week from 23rd to 29th January. The purpose of this is to encourage more people to update their Will and ensure their wishes are carried out when they die.

Why we think having an up-to-date Will is important

By reviewing and updating your Will every 3 to 5 years, you are ensuring that it is reflecting your wishes and your current circumstances. Having an up-to-date, well-drafted Will, can help to ease the stress for loved ones and minimise the chances of disputes.

How often should I review my Will?

It is recommended that you update your Will every 3 to 5 years. However, you should also be thinking about updating your Will if there are any major changes that impact you or your loved ones. For example, the death of a family member or friend, a new baby, a marriage or divorce. You should also be aware that getting married will automatically revoke your Will unless it was made in specific contemplation of your marriage.

How do I make changes to an existing Will or create a new Will?

It is important to speak with an experienced legal professional as they will be able to advice on your unique situation and wishes. A legal professional can also help with reducing your inheritance tax.

At Four Oaks Legal Services, we have two STEP qualified Wills and Probate Solicitors and an expert SFE solicitor. If you would like to discuss your Will with us, contact us on 01543 440 308 or email

Can your Will be contested?

We’re seeing a steep increase in the numbers of people challenging Wills across the UK.  This is backed up by a survey claiming that one in four people said they would challenge a Will if they were unhappy with the provisions it made.

Why are more Wills being contested than ever before?

  1. Firstly, a lot of people are wealthier. This is often due to big rises in property values. This means there is more at stake, so people are motivated to act.
  2. Secondly, family trees are more complicated than they once were. When someone dies without leaving a Will there are strict rules that dictate what happens to their Estate. For example, a live-in partner could lose their shared home and receive nothing.
  3. Thirdly, publicity in the media has made more people aware that it is possible to contest a Will.
  4. Fourthly, people have been living longer. This means that more people have been making Wills when they are in poor health; this can prompt disappointed relatives to challenge a Will. Additionally, more people have died unexpectedly during the recent pandemic, sometimes without updating their wills.
  5. Finally, writing Wills remains an unregulated area. Wills prepared without an experienced solicitor’s input may contain mistakes or miss out vital steps or information. This makes them easier to challenge. The same is true of DIY and online Wills.

What are the grounds for challenging a Will? Last-Will-and-Testament-image-by-Melinda-Gimpel-on-Unsplash.

A handful of reasons a Will can be challenged:

  • The mental capacity of the person at the time they made the Will is questionable.
  • If there is proof that the person was under pressure to write what they did.
  • In some circumstances, if no provisions were made for a dependent in need.
  • Technical errors in the paperwork.

However, the priority is always testamentary freedom; this means that we can leave what we want to who we want in our Wills. Wills cannot be challenged just because relatives and friends think it is unfair.

How to avoid a Will being challenged

The main way to avoid a Will being challenged is to have it drawn up by a solicitor experienced in family and estate planning. A Will that has been professionally prepared is rarely declared invalid. Additionally, have a solicitor help you write a letter of wishes to support your Will.

How to choose who writes your Will

Choosing a STEP member can be an advantage as they will have been trained to the highest level and have relevant experience. Adam Penn and Charlotte Taylor are STEP Practitioners, the top professional qualification for a Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor.

A Will writer that is a member of the Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers, does not have the same expertise as a Solicitor or a STEP-practitioner, who will have the letters TEP after their name. TEP stands for Trust and Estate Practitioner.

If you want help or advice, contact us on 01543 440 308 or email us at

Planning For The Unthinkable

A gift to the charity Oxfam has highlighted the importance of making a provision in your Will for the unlikely event that the whole family should die with you or before you.

Richard Cousins was the head of a successful Catering company and had an estate worth more than £40m. On 31st December 2017, he was flying with his fiancée and 2 sons (aged 25 and 23) when the plane crashed into a river in Australia and all on board were killed.

Cousins’ Will provided that his estate would pass to his sons who sadly died with him. However, his Will also included a long stop provision.  The provision stated that should his sons also pass away then the bulk of his fortune would pass to his chosen charity, Oxfam. Without this provision, his estate would have been governed by intestacy rules.

How we can help

At Four Oaks Legal Services, we look at those close to you that you wish to provide for in the first instance but often, we will advise you to consider the worst-case scenario. This is requires naming a ‘long stop’ individual or charity who would be entitled to benefit should those first in line pass away. We do not want your hard-earned money to be left with nowhere to go but the taxman.

Hopefully, the worst won’t happen but if it does then it’s important to have a plan in place.

If we can help with updating or making a new Will for you, please contact Adam, Charlotte or Joanna on 01543 440 308 or e-mail us at

High Court Decision: The Rectification of a Company’s Register of Members


What do you do if a company’s sole member and director dies leaving the company unable to function without them, and you’re the executor of the will?

The case of  Williams v Russell Price Farms Service (2020) was a turning point for business law. The High Court granted the application made by executors under section 125 of the Companies Act 2006 (the Act) in order to rectify the company’s register of members following the death of the sole director and shareholder of Russell Price Farms Services.

Why is this case so important?

As the deceased was the sole member and director of the company, when he passed, it left the company withy no directors or living shareholders. This means that no one was able to do the necessary things such as accessing the bank account to pay creditors and running the day-to-day operations. Additionally, there was no mechanism in place for appointing new directors as the articles of association did not give the executors the power to resolve the issue. This is what lead to the executors to apply to the High Court to replace the deceased name with their own name. By doing this, they would be able to pass a resolution and appoint new directors to run the business.

In the application to the High Court, the executors stressed their intentions to apply for probate which reportedly, was important in the court’s decision to grant the order. The High Court granted an order, in accordance with section 125 of the Act for rectification of a company’s register of members to replace a deceased sole member and director with the executors named in his will.

What does this mean?

Firstly, this case highlights the importance of a company’s statutory registers as it does not appear enough to reply on the Companies House records. Also, it shows the importance of a company’s articles of association and ensuring that they are flexible. This will help to deal with unfortunate circumstance, protecting your company if things like this ever do happen.

Secondly, this case shows that you can apply to the court to rectify a company’s register of members. However, it can be a complicated process with many moving parts, so it is best to seek legal advice before doing so.

At Four Oaks Legal Services, we have the perfect balance of business law and private client law meaning we are well equipped for the job. If you want to discuss how we can help, please contact us on 01543 440308 or email us at


We are excited to announce that we are again teaming up with Tamworth Wellbeing & Cancer Support Centre for our THIRD Charity Golf Day!

Our 3rd fundraising Charity Golf Day in aid of Tamworth Wellbeing and Cancer Support Centre. It is taking place on Wednesday 7th September 2022 at Aston Wood Golf Club, Blake Street, Sutton Coldfield. The Tamworth Wellbeing and Cancer Support Centre is a registered charity that supports people affected by cancer and other chronic illnesses.  They not only support the person suffering from the illness but their loved ones too.  To find out more about the Charity, go to: 

You can read more about our event using the link below or contact us at


Lasting Powers of Attorney – Why are they so important?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows those you trust to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you are no longer able to or if you would like some help with making your own decisions.

Two women sit at a desk reviewing documents: by Gabrielle Henderson/Unsplash
Image by Gabrielle Henderson in Unsplash

Just a few reasons why you might need someone to act or decide for you…

  • A temporary situation. For example, you are admitted into hospital, and you need someone to look after your bills, property or even your business.
  • For long term plans. For example, you have been diagnosed with dementia or are in an accident meaning you may lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future.


What do we mean by mental capacity?

  • For a person to lack mental capacity, they must lack one or more of the following:
    • understand the information relevant to the decision
    • retain that information
    • use or weigh up that information as part of the process of making the decision
  • Many people believe that if someone has dementia, they automatically lose their mental capacity. This is not true. Needing more time to understand and communicate does not mean you lack mental capacity.

What are the different types of LPA’s we offer?

Ordinary Power of Attorney and Business Power of Attorney

An ordinary power of attorney allows your attorney, one or more person, to make financial decisions on your behalf. The power you give your attorney can be limited so that they can only deal with certain matters and assets. For example, your bank accounts to pay the bills but not your property itself. There are two types of ordinary powers of attorney, LPA for financial decisions and LPA for health and care decisions.

LPA for financial decisions cover things like paying the mortgage, investing money, paying bills and buying and selling property. The attorney can be restricted in the decisions they make, or you can let them make all the decisions on your behalf. Your money and accounts must be kept separate from your attorneys, and you can ask for regular updates on how your money and accounts are being handled.

LPA for health and care decisions covers things such as your medical care, where you should live, what to eat and who you should have contact with. Although these seem like substantial aspects of your life, this can only be used once you have lost mental capacity. However, having an LPA in place for health and care can be crucial as it does give special permission or your attorney to make decisions about life-saving treatment.

Business power of attorney only apply to a business and nothing more. When you spend so much time and effort building a business, you want to make sure it is protected if something were to happen to you, and this is where a business power of attorney can help. allows a business owner to appoint a person or people, known as attorneys, to make decisions in the best interests of the organisation should he or she become mentally incapacitated or unavailable.

We are available to talk through options with you and advise you on how to achieve your aims. Contact us on 01543 440 308 or email

12 steps in the legal process of buying a business



Four Oaks Legal Services has a business and commercial department, which provides a full range of company related legal advice. Here Stuart McIntosh, commercial Solicitor and Director at the firm, takes a look at the step-by-step process of buying a business.

If you want to own a business, but don’t like the idea of starting from scratch, then buying an existing company could be worth considering.

It may involve more upfront costs but buying an existing business could present less risk as you have a better idea of actual profit and loss, plus you can often acquire valuable intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Once you have secured the right business, based on location, size and industry, it’s a good idea to contact your Solicitor. Here at Four Oaks Legal Services we pride ourselves on our professional and friendly approach, which involves transparency every step of the way. We partner with entrepreneurs that are looking to buy a business and enable them to steer their new company in a fresh and exciting direction.

While every business sale is unique there are often similarities with most ownership transfers. Here are some of the steps we go through when someone wants to purchase an existing business:

1, Due Diligence: This is commonly the first step in the business buying process and put simply it is when you first check out the state of the business you want to buy. It is important to assess whether the business is sound and at first glance worth the money you are prepared to pay.  You will want to check the condition of the physical assets and value of the goodwill, and at this point, line up your Solicitor and accountant.

2, Heads of Terms: This is also known as a memorandum of sale and consists of an outline of what is being sold. This agreement will include such things as an asset list, any exclusions, proposed completion date, details of the lease and importantly the sale price. While this document is not legally set in stone, it is considered morally binding so a major change at this stage will usually be frowned upon.

3, Instructing Your Solicitor: Following on from drawing up of the heads of terms this is when the Solicitors are formally instructed to start the legal process. At Four Oaks Legal Service we highly recommend you contact us as early on in the process as possible so a solid and accurate legal basis can be drawn up right from the start. The memorandum of sale is important as it is used as a guide to assist in writing up the contract.

4, The Contract: The business seller’s Solicitor usually draws up the first draft of the contract and very often it will be in favour of the seller. This then starts a process of each Solicitor amending the document to suit their own party until eventually an agreement comes out that is acceptable to all. At Four Oaks we always ensure we are right by your side, particularly at the contract negotiation phase. It is vital that you can fully trust your legal advice, which should give you complete peace of mind at this critical stage.

5, Restraint of Trade Clauses: This is a particularly interesting step in the process, which is usually carried out in favour of the buyer. Essentially, we include these clauses to prevent the seller having an unfair advantage over the buyer once the sale has happened. A perfect example is preventing the seller from setting up an identical business next door to the one you have just bought from them.

6, The Business Premises: In a business sale that involves lots of land and buildings this is an important topic. Often the premises will be leased, so inevitably this brings in a third party – the landlord.  The land or building owner will want to ensure they won’t be worse off from having a new business owner, so usually a separate document will be drawn up detailing the obligations of all parties. This document is known as the “licence to assign”.

7, Business Goodwill: The goodwill of a business is often the most valuable part of the sale and principally refers to the future profitability of the business. Such factors as brand, a good name and the value of the customer relationship play a big part here. Goodwill can be described as an “intangible asset” because it isn’t definite like a physical asset.

8, Enquiries, Searches and Inspections: This is similar to the process that takes place during a domestic house sale. Enquiries and searches are carried out on behalf of the buyer and commonly use the services of a third party, such as a local authority, energy provider or environmental agency. The process will result in reports being drawn up which will further inform the buyer and may affect the sale price agreed.

9, Employees: Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) law state that when a business is transferred as a going concern, usually employees’ contracts also pass over to the new owner. Under these conditions the contracts do not change, and the new owner automatically inherits the rights and obligations from the seller. At Four Oaks we will advise if the TUPE laws apply to your particular case.

10, Contracts, Book Debts and Liabilities: Every business sale will involve a collection of existing contracts with both customers and suppliers. There will also likely be a certain level of existing debts that the business is owed by its customers. The ownership and management of these contracts and debts will need to be agreed between the buyer and seller, and this is where the joint expertise of the Solicitors will be in high demand.

11, Licences and Permits: Some business sectors need licences or other such permissions to be able to trade, for example pubs and book makers. In business sales, these licences can be transferred to the new owner or the buyer will need to apply from the necessary authority for their own.

12, Completion: Finally, we come to the happy day of completion. This is the legal term given to the point where the sale and purchase go through and the business transfers in law from the seller to the buyer. Both Solicitors will have already agreed a completion date suitable for both buyer and seller. The final sign off will usually include the following documents: sale of business contract, licence to assign, authorised guarantee agreement, deed of assignment of goodwill and any transfer deeds relating to property.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a business we advise getting in contact with a Solicitor as early as possible in the process. We have considerable experience advising clients on all steps of the buying process. Why not call today to set up an appointment or alternatively use the enquiry form on our website.

Tel: 01543 440 308