Thursday, 20 December 2007

A Merry "PC" Christmas to you ALL

Originally uploaded by Ma1974

It's my last day in the office for 2007. I will be returning to work and to blogging in January 2008.

I'm really looking forward to the break and the festivities that surrounds Christmas. We do however, live in a society where the true meaning of Christmas can be lost. Christmas has not only become commercialised but traditions taken for granted and passed down from generation to generation are being replaced with a 'politically correct' version or stopped altogether.

Here are a few examples of Christmas Political Correctness gone mad: · In 2006 the Royal Mail removed any Christian references from it’s Christmas stamps

  • · In 2005 some places banned children from sitting on Santa’s lap
  • · The Red Cross banned Christmas nativity decorations from it’s UK charity shops in case they offended people of other religions
  • · A church was told it could not advertise it’s Christmas services on a community notice board as it could offend other religions
  • · In 2005 Lambeth in South London named it’s Christmas lights, Winter lights Simply "daft".

How much time and expense has been spent on becoming Politically Correct - and in some cases - is it worth it?

The Commission for Racial Equality, it seems, has a sense of humour when it comes to Christmas. Their card which was sent out in 2006 shows the usual nativity scene as a draft with a series of suggestions and notes—I wonder if they send a similar card for 2007?

If you wish to make a Politically Correct seasonal greeting, here's one I found earlier:

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all; (Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit)

Whatever your religion, have a good one!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Benefitting the Local Community

Here at Latimer Hinks we like to "do our bit" for the local community and in turn help to reduce our carbon footprint.

We've recently donated £1000 to The Tees Forest so that 2000 trees can be planted.

The Tees Forest is part of the North East Community Forests group that is working in a newly-created woodland area of Darlington - aimed at improving the environment and encouraging more people to use the outdoors for education and enjoyment. The wood will be called Scouts' Wood and will improve the local community for many years to come. Latimer Hinks Branches out with Charity Support

Latimer Hinks has undergone a computer makeover. Lovely, slim, aesthetic monitors have replaced the CRT dinosaurs (still in working order) and as part of our ongoing commitment to recycling we have donated the old computers to charity. You can read all about it - Latimer Hinks Encourages Recycling

Gone are the days of "make do and mend". Items become obselete in such a short space of time and can easily be replaced. It's well worth doing a little research to see if anyone, or any organisation can benefit from what you're throwing away.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Success Happens Here - Judith's Divorce Blog

Success Happens Here
Originally uploaded by *Fly*

For those of you who have read my blog Social Networking Guineapig from the start, you will know that the reason for blogging in the first place was to promote the family law department within Latimer Hinks Solicitors.

The department, headed by Judith Middleton was in need of a promotional "push". Family law is a difficult service to "sell" as most Clients prefer to have a divorce lawyer recommended, that way the service has been "tried and tested" by someone you trust.

I decided to implement Web 2 in the quest and introduced Judith (and myself) to the concept of blogging, bookmarking and RSS feeds. We had to learn from scratch!

I'm now going to report on the success of the blog via a method which we did not initially consider - online newspapers!

Judith's Blog appears on The Northern Echo Readers Blog page and The Journal Live Blogs (Judith's is listed in the right hand beige column) Readers of these newspapers are local to us.

  • Through them:
    we reach a wider audience within our cachment area
    we are promoted to a wider age range
    we present and accessible, expert service/advice

Basically, blogs are GOOD! They are a great promotional tool which used correctly can generate online traffic as well as traffic through the front door.

You can read through our trial and error process on this blog.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Christmas Party Pitfalls

Around 80% of British bosses will not organise an office party this Christmas, in part due to legal hangovers from fighting and flirting at past events.
You could say Christmas is cancelled!

Nick Poole, a partner at Latimer Hinks has put together a guide to avoiding common legal pitfalls. Avoiding the Legal Hangover of the Office Party

As Nick mentions, new media and social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace provide the opportunity for members to make comments/gossip/post pictures. Employees should be warned in advance that this type of networking with regard to the Christmas Party will be frowned upon.

So my additional advice is...

be on the watch for colleagues who take lots of pictures and encourage you to do silly things like pull faces, pose in awkward positions and dance with your arms wrapped around your boss’s neck. The subsequent circulation of such images via internet sites such as Flickr and Facebook might leave you extremely embarrassed.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Christmas, Divorce and Grandparents

Originally uploaded by p2a2

When it comes to divorce/separation it's often the extended family that lose out

With more and more parents working, grandparents have increasingly been pressed into service as childcarers. They play a substantial and vital role and according to a recent survey, 64% of families with working parents rely on grandparents for at least some of their childcare, of which for most there is no charge.

But what happens when their child faces divorce/separation?

A grandparent may have provided daycare for the children 5 days a week, but will have no right to apply for contact in the event parents separate. This will undoubtedly have an effect on their relationship with their Grandchildren.

Judith Middleton explains the available options - Keeping In Touch with Grandchildren After Divorce

Further information for Grandparents is listed below:

Grandparents Rights - To encourage the Government to grant legal rights to grandparents in family law to benefit child welfare.

Grandparents Apart - campaign for greater respect of Grandparents and older people in Scotland

Grandparents Association Website - resources and advice for Grandparents

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

"Fine"ding Your Way

Originally uploaded by dramaqueenz

I, along with four other friends have just returned from a wonderful weekend in Prague. Such a beautiful city with so much to see!

The downside to our foreign visit was lack of information regarding directions, where to go or what to do.

I have recently undertaken some research on our website (which if it is your first visit could be referred to as a "foreign site"). If you first enter a website and cannot find what you are looking for, it can be quite frustrating. Apparently our Partner profiles are difficult to find - we are looking at remedying this. At the moment there is no search feature so old press releases are left gathering virtual dust!

But back to our trip

The weekend didn't start off too well when our Easyjet plane developed an electrical fault while we were all seated, ready and waiting for take off. We eventually arrived in Prague one hour later than planned and found that all the restaurants closed at 11pm! - we knew this because there were signs in the windows indicating a closing time!

The second day we found misleading currency exchange rates and very nearly ended up with an extremely poor exchange.

On the evening we purchased travel tickets that can be used for tram, bus and train. We knew through sites such as Virtual Tourist that you needed to have these stamped. We expected conductors to stamp the tickets on the different modes of transport.

But no, that's not how it works. There were no signs to tell us how to do this. So, we rounded a corner to be stopped by guards/tram police - whatever you want to call them. They were not in uniform but did show a badge. One of the men (quite rough looking) demanded to see our tickets (at first we thought they were beggars). We showed our tickets which were not stamped. The man indicated that we all would have to pay a 500Kc fine (around £15). We explained it was a simple mistake. He exclaimed (in Czech accent) "not my problem - your problem". He was quite aggressive, threatened to call the police and take our passports - we paid up!

So, perhaps Prague tourist information should consider displaying relevant information/signposts etc on all modes of transport.

The up side to visiting the Latimer Hinks website is that we will not fine you or threaten you with the police, we will simply take any constructive comments on board and amend our site to suit!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Stilletto Boot Camp - Pure Technology, just for the ladies!

Yesterday I attended a presentation on Pure Technology, part of the Stilletto Boot camps for women. The group was quite small and the format for the presentation was forum/discussion style - which worked really well. Ideas/suggestions were bounced from the panel as well as the attendees.
I must admit that at first i felt like a "fish out of water". Most attendees worked with film/media so I imagined them to be quite savvy and up to date. There was also a lovely lady who owned a B&B by Hadrians Wall - Holme House. But as the afternoon wore on, we all found we had something to say.

The expert panel consisted of:

Judith Peacock - Further Consultancy (technology, marketing, databases etcetc)

Joscelyn Upendran - de Burca (e-learning and business)

Zahra Zomorrodian - FNA Films (video production/film makers)

Jo - Ki-media (emails marketing, website optimisation etc etc)

Some items discussed:
  • How social networking is now taking over email as a marketing medium

  • Keywords/keyphrases and placement. Top tip - don't use "click here", give the link a name (which will be picked up by search engines)
  • What do you consider to be a good online experience
  • Youtube, marketing videos
  • Viral emails
  • Emails and the legal issues (which Joscelyn will respond to)
  • What is web2
  • Is it worth having a business presence on Second Life?
  • How to promote your blog
  • Bookmarking
Judith is going to summarise the afternoon's discussions and forward the information along with links. I may be able to let you have a look!
The session drew to a close and as I was leaving Judith and Joscelyn asked if Latimer Hinks would be interested in publicity for our blogs/digital presence. Apparently for a law firm in the UK we are quite forward thinking and progressive! I said we would be VERY happy to... so watch this space!
I am now going to join the CopeBusiness Forum and use this to share knowledge and further our social networking!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Nothing to do with Social Networking - Christmas gone Mad!

Last night, 13th NOVEMBER, I was driving home from work. I turned the corner into a little village called Toft Hill and much to my absolute amazement drove past a house on the main street fully lit up with Christmas decorations! (photo to follow shortly) The garden was overgrown with strange illuminous flashing cabling winding it's way up the garden path to the front door and up onto the roof ... if there way a chimney i'm positive the cabling was such a length that it would reach and travel down it, much like Santa! It's NOVEMBER, not DECEMBER!! Far too early!

To top it all, on my walk into work this morning an absolutely gigantic chritmas tree has been deposited right in the middle of the main high street of Darlington - I have taken a photo so you can see the enormity of it - for scale, see the guy in the wheelchair to the right.

I realise that town and city centres decorate their streets slightly earlier than we at home would (apart from the odd eccentric few) to create the "mood" for christmas shoppers but I do wonder how online businesses cope with the Christmas trade? We see plenty of offers/discounts to purchase but where is the ambience. Although the biggest bonus for shopping online has simply GOT to be - no queues!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Blogging - the risks

Charley With iBook
Originally uploaded by Hackintosh

People are landing in hot water with employers over blogs about their work.

Recent figures show that 39 percent of ‘bloggers’ admit that they have posted sensitive or damaging accounts of their employer, workplace or colleagues on a weblog, or on-line diary.

Shocking, you better believe it!

  • In 2005 bookseller Waterstone's was reported to have become the first employer in the UK to sack a member of staff because of comments he made about the company on his online diary, or blog. See here
  • Catherine Sandersons's "La Petite Englaise" internet diary/blog made headline news when Catherine, who worked for accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, was sacked when her Paris-based employer objected to her blog. She was later awarded £30,000 for unfair dismissal - and was given a book deal in the process! - in the end it all worked out well for Catherine.
  • A US airline attendant calling herself Queen of the Sky was fired over "inappropriate images" on her anonymous blog. She is currently filing a discrimination complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A new term has emerged as a result of this new phenomenon. According to, to be "dooced" means "losing your job for something you wrote in your online blog, journal, website, etc."

So, please consider the following advice from Latimer Hinks Solicitors and ensure that you have policies in place to deal with blogging issues.

Be Aware of Staff Internet Blogging - Nick Poole, partner at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks, is warning employers to update their policies to cover internet blogging following a judgement made in a Paris employment tribunal that could have repercussions in the UK.

Businesses to be Aware of the Bloggers -As weblogs, or ‘blogs’, become increasingly popular, Nick Poole, employment law solicitor at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks is warning the region’s employers to beware of the risks represented by these sites.

Also thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for - How to blog safely about work or anything else

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Networking Socially - in the Flesh!!

I've had a busy few evenings networking in a social environment, not behind a computer screen but in the flesh, so to speak.

Firstly, I attended the County Durham and Tees Valley Charity Awards which Latimer Hinks along with accontants Horwath Clark Whitehill, were sponsoring. It was an emotional evening for some and I was so pleased to see recognition for down to earth people who virtually singlehandedly have improved lives of those around them.

I spoke with Dorothy Bowman of Newton Aycliffe Junior Neighbourhood Watch, a lady of "just over" 80. When Dorothy saw that the children of Newton Aycliffe, a deprived area where more and more houses were being built with no thought of the children's needs were going to lose their meeting place - the Dandy Kart she and her husband came up with the idea of using a bus which they purchased and renovated to provide "The Kool Red Bus". Dorothy was previously a lorry driver so driving a bus did not pose a problem - remember this lady is over 80 years old!

Dorothy is determined to fight for the Council to give her some land so that she can build a permanent meeting place for the youngsters. She is an amazing woman, full of energy - she deserves a million awards - as do all of the winners and nominees for the Durham and Tees Valley Charity Awards.

Details of the winners

Secondly I attended Darlington Civic Theatre Gala Evening - the 100th Anniversary.

Latimer Hinks are corporate sponsors of the theatre and we share a long well established history in Darlington. Latimer Hinks Solicitors was born in 1872 and the Civic Theatre in 1907.

The Gala event was a great success (a sell out!) and thoroughly enjoyable. With guests such as Brian Conley, The Krankies, Zoe Birkett, Jane Macdonald, Journey South etc. Brian Conely was excellent and SO versatile! I was extremely surprised at how much i enjoyed the "variety type" performance.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Scoble's Social Media Starfish

What a wacky starfish!
This is a brilliant diagram to show the channels of social media.
Many thanks to Dbarefoot of Flickr

Monday, 29 October 2007

No Return to "Life on Mars" for Bosses

gene hunt say's:-
Originally uploaded by SmartAlex
I briefly covered the subject of Life on Mars and Employment Law, here

Basically, take one look at Life on Mars and you'll see why changes in employment law were brought about.

I'm a great fan of Life on Mars and even downloaded one of Gene Hunt's quotes for use as text alert

If you don't answer this phone i'm gonna come round your houses and stamp on all your toys

It has since been deleted as it's quite long and I received some very strange/wary glances!

Nick Poole, one of our Partners at Latimer Hinks has written a press article Life on Mars and Employment Law. No Return to Life on Mars

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Anne Robinson - Weakest Link will be Litigation

Judiths Divorce Blog made a comment on Anne Robinson (of the Weakest Link).

Latimer Hinks have since released a press story encouraging divorcing couples to reach amicable decisions BEFORE divorce proceedings start.

Litigation is the Weakest Link in Divorce Disputes

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


...and lots of them.

Charity Balls - they kill two birds with one stone. Firstly they provide a great networking opportunity and secondly by supporting the event worthy causes within the local community greatly benefit.

It seems to be Ball season at the moment. In October we have arranged to be at:

St Teresa's Hospice Ball - Hospice at Home, Day Care and In-patient Care for people across South Durham and North Yorkshire

The Darlington Mayors Ball - is in aid of Darlington Coronary Care Support Group and Tracheo Oesophageal Fistula Support, which provides support to families of children born with rare congenital conditions.

The Masquerade Ball - in aid of Redcar & Cleveland's Women Aid

All proceeds from the Balls go to their nominated charites. Next year will be Latimer Hinks turn to hold a Ball. Organised every two years the event is always a great success. Last year alone we raised £9,200 with the help of generous Clients, friends and family.

In 2008 we aim to increase this, but until then.. as you can see from the pic, it's a hard life.... !

Judith Middleton, Partner at Latimer Hinks attended the Mayors Ball and this is what she has to say about it!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Tale of 1000 Emails - we have an explanation

Problem is now solved, thank goodness - here is the explanation and a copy of my letter to the affected referrers.

Re: Latimer Hinks Client Alert Email
The Tale of a thousand emails… and more

Wednesday 10th October I sent to you a Client Alert relating to Inheritance Tax and the transferability of the nil rate band allowance. Please believe me when I say I sent out the email once only!

Due to a technical problem which is explained below, you may have received hundreds, if not thousands of the same email. Not surprisingly (but very sensibly) you have probably blocked my address. This email address is now “safe” so please feel free to unblock me.

Following is an explanation from a customer relations representative at Demon:

“there were issues with another demon customer and the system that they use to collect and relay e-mails. This caused them to bounce e-mails back to Latimer Hinks as undeliverable, and started an e-mail loop. Whilst all clients would have seen this as originated by Latimer Hinks, this was not the case, as investigation showed it was linked to an addressee on the original e-mail.
After speaking with our Network Abuse team and the customer in question, it was confirmed that there was an issue with their system (Microsoft SBS2000), and they needed to either use an alternative mail system, or upgrade their system.
Further investigation has shown that no further looped e-mails are appearing, and it appears that this matter has been resolved.”

I hope that you found the first Client Alert of interest. Latimer Hinks do try to keep Clients/referrers informed of changes relevant to them – however we generally prefer a subtler approach to marketing which does not include the bombardment of email addresses.

If you do not wish to receive further Client Alerts, please let me know.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Undeliverable, Undeliverable....

So, Tuesday came - exactly 6 days after the Client Alert was despatched from my Latimer Hinks email system (see here) and as you can see, the bounce backs keep coming in.

A little headway has been made. Demon "kind of" admitted it could be their fault. BUT numerous calls later to India and I don't have a direct contact to speak to or a direct line to call.

Apparently they are "looking into it" and "something strange is happening". When I mention that a few of the recipients network systems have crashed they say " we will escalate our response"

6 hours later, no escalation, no calls and no fix.

We manage to speak to a "Demon respresentative" (great job title) in the UK and are given a contact name and contact number. He will personally handle the problem.

It's now Wednesday. One week from the start of this disaster. The emails have stopped pouring in. I have received no further calls from the recipients of the email. The recipients i have spoken to say that the emails have also stopped for them.

GREAT - but what went wrong!?

I am waiting for a reason from Demon as to what the problem was. I will let you know the outcome. In the meantime I can now get on with some work - although I am reticent of sending further emails to more than one contact at the same time.

The Tale of a Thousand Emails.. and counting!

What a week!

On Wednesday, just before I left work I sent a Client Alert to 55 Clients/referrers detailing INHERITANCE TAX and transferability of the nil rate band allowance.

I was so pleased to have managed to:

  • print the Alert as a presentable document for posting
  • create a letter to go with the printed Alert
  • add the Alert to the website
  • bookmark the Alert
  • inform staff of the Alert
  • email all relevant Clients/referrers

and all within two hours. I was now ready to leave the office and relax until Thursday morning.

BUT, Li'l Monster took poorly overnight, Dramaqueen demanded the same attention and Hubby was working nights. I had very little sleep and L'il Monster was no better the next day.

So I called work to say I was taking a days holiday to look after L'il Monster.

Reception immediately informed me that they had been inundated with phone calls regarding the Client Alert. GREAT thought I, the information must have been of great interest to them.

Sadly this was not so, the contacts had received the email hundreds and thousands of times.

Not good. Now that work knew I was taking a holiday the matter was passed on.

What had I done? Nothing out of the ordinary - just sent the same email to a number of contacts.

Well, I returned to work on Monday with fingers crossed that everthing had been sorted, but no! 922 bounce back emails greeted me from one day alone.

Apparently this is what was happening... the email left Latimer Hinks, travelled to Demon then to despatch. Something seems to have happened between Demon and despatch.

The Clients are receiving the Alert but a message is bouncing back to me to say Undeliverable. The computer is then resending and resending.

On Monday 2 of the contacts had a system overload and their networks crashed.

No-one is admiiting liability. Our IT guys say Latimer Hinks have not caused the problem. Demon say we have a virus. Whilst those two providers are arguing it out the emails keep on coming.

Obviously I've had quite a few calls asking me to STOP sending the emails. On the whole the recipients of the thousands of emails have been very understanding - many thanks to them for their professional attitude.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's never too early to organise Christmas events for our team of staff.

1) The first event for me to organise was of course, the Christmas Party. Fewer businesses these days travel the route of Christmas parties, there are so many pitfalls to avoid - they'd rather become a Scrooge than face the responsibilities of an office party.

Check out this article from last year - Avoid the Pitfalls of an Office Party

The party was organised in June - yes June! Latimer Hinks have a staff of 50 and require sole use of a venue/suitable room (with a bar!) on a Friday evening in December - it's not so easy trying to find a venue to fit this criteria - unless you want to pay a small fortune!

But, I eventually managed and Maxines Bar and Restaurant is where it's all happening in 2007

2) Christmas Gifts - Latimer Hinks staff are provided with a hamper on the penultimate day that we break up for Christmas. We've been extremely lucky with our allocated Christmas Break. The last day of work is 21st December (the Christma Party is on the evening) and we don't return until 2nd January. Everyone can relax and make the most of the party as there is no work the next day.

The hampers are bespoke, different every year and require thoughtful planning as to what goes in other than the obligatory red and white wine and chocolates.

Bountiful Baskets provide the hampers to our sepcifications and deliver to the Latimer Hinks office. The taste session in July is a treat - they come along with different cakes, biscuit, sweets etc for us to try. On one hand it's extremely beneficial to taste the produce, on the other there in invariably an increase to the old waist measurement! It's great to see the hampers on every desk in the office - it certainly feels festive and the handpackaging ensures they also look fantastic.

3) Christmas Cards - not all departments send out Christmas cards to Clients. We generally donate to a local charity. Staff can do the same, rather than send every member of staff a card a "global card" is placed in our postroom. Everyone can sign it and donate £1. The money collected is passed on to a local charity (also saves on paper wastage).

However, the Private Client department do send cards to the "little old dears" to cheer them up and wish them all the best. It's quite a challenge to choose a generic card suitable to send...until i received a sample from a company called Pop Shots Studios.
They produce a 3D Globe Card - it's fabulous - we're going to buy some for our loyal "little dears" for display on their mantlepiece!

see pic

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Innovative Farm Diversification - Latimer Hinks Advise from the Start

Crabtree Hall Business Centre is an innovative farm diversification project.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors have been involved with the project from the outset.

Because of this early involvement Latimer Hinks were able to advise pro-actively on legal issues rather than reacting to problems faced further down the line.

The full press release can be seen here

Anne Elliott and Nicola Neilson, Partners at Latimer Hinks
Stephanie Pybus, Crabtree Hall. Photo taken outside the Crabtree Hall development

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

New Lasting Powers of Attorney - an insight

My previous post warned of the end of Enduring Powers of Attorney - Deadline Looming - the end of EPA's

It's now October and Lasting Powers of Attorney are now in place. Following is an insight into why you need one and how they work for you.

If you were to be incapacitated in the future, either physically or mentally, and, as a consequence, were unable to deal with your own affairs then awful problems would arise.

A spouse and other family members would not be legally able to deal with your affairs unless an LPA (or formerly an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) signed prior to the 1st October 2007) had earlier been executed.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that LPA’s are not merely for the elderly; they can be created by anyone and are a sensible precaution against accidents, illnesses and injuries that can incapacitate a person at any age. It is for this reason that provisions should be taken to avoid any complications that may arise if an LPA is not in place.

An LPA is a formal agreement created by deed in which one person (‘the Donor’) gives another person (‘the Attorney’) authority to act in their name and on their behalf. In effect, therefore, while capable of managing your affairs you select somebody who will be responsible for managing your affairs if you subsequently become incapable.

Unlike EPAs, a person can choose to delegate decisions affecting their personal welfare – including healthcare and medical treatment decisions – as well as decisions concerning their property and financial matters to their attorney(s). This will also avoid the full expense of invoking the full jurisdiction of the Office of the Public Guardian (formerly the Court of Protection) which is part of our judicial system that deals with the affairs of those who, by virtue of mental incapacity, are unable to deal with their own affairs.

The Donor can choose whether they wish to make a property and affairs LPA or a personal welfare LPA, or both. There is a separate form for each.

For an LPA to be executed there must be at least one Attorney chosen, but if more than one is chosen then the Donor must decide whether they are able to act jointly (that is they must all act together and cannot act separately) or, jointly and severally (that is they can all act together but they can also act separately if they wish). They can also act jointly in respect of some matters and jointly and severally in respect of others.

The extent of the powers granted
A decision can also be made as to the extent of powers that the Attorney can exercise. A general power in relation to all your property and affairs means that the Attorney(s) will be able to deal with your money or property and may be able to sell your house.

In relation to a personal welfare LPA a general power will include all healthcare decisions except: giving or refusing to consent to life-sustaining treatment (unless the LPA document expressly authorizes this); where the Donor has made a valid advance decision; refusing or consenting to medical treatment for mental disorder where the Donor is detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; or where the Donor is subject to guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983

If you do not want your Attorney(s) to have such wide powers, you can include any restrictions that you like. For example, you can include a restriction that your Attorney(s) must not act on your behalf until they have reason to believe that you are becoming mentally incapable, or a restriction as to what the Attorney may do.

Certificate Providers
A valid LPA – whether it be a property and affairs LPA or personal welfare LPA – must include a certificate completed by an independent third party known as the “certificate provider” confirming that in his or her opinion:
· The Donor understands the purpose of the LPA and the scope of the authority under it;
· No fraud or undue pressure is being used to induce the Donor to create the LPA ; and
· There is nothing else that would prevent the LPA being created.

Registration of the LPA
The LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It can be registered at any time after it has been completed and signed by all those who are required to sign. In the case of a Donor or an unregistered personal welfare LPA facing a medical emergency their attorneys would not be authorized to act on their behalf until the power is registered.

Once registered, a property and affairs LPA can be used while the Donor still has capacity (unless it specifies that it cannot) whilst a personal welfare LPA can only be used when the Donor no longer has capacity to make the particular decision affecting their healthcare or personal welfare.

The Donor can name up to five people to be notified when an application to register the LPA is made. An attorney of the LPA cannot be specified as a named person. If the Donor decides not to include anyone to be notified then a second person will be needed to provide an additional certificate. Including a named person is an important safeguard because if he or she lacks capacity at the time of registration they will be relying on these people to raise concerns .

If, after consideration of any objections from the named persons, the application for the registration of the LPA is accepted, then at this time the Attorney(s) has authority to administer the affairs of the Donor and notice of this authority together with a copy of the LPA should be sent to relevant people, such as the bank or building society, so that the account can be changed to enable the Attorney(s) to gain access for the purpose of looking after the Donor’s affairs (if desired).

This registration is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure and does not invoke the full jurisdiction of the Court of Protection referred to earlier, the latter being a very expensive and undesirable procedure.

We would strongly recommend that an LPA is made as soon as possible, even if this is done purely on a precautionary basis. LPA’s can be lodged in our strong room and only brought out and put into operation if necessary.
No-one knows what the future holds. An LPA will provide peace of mind in the event of incapacitation.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Why we Blog

Originally uploaded by hi-tekznologik

If you regularly read my blog, you'll know that now and again i'll update you with the progress and success of our blogs. This time it is the turn of Judith's Divorce Blog.

Judith, and other family law blog writers were recently asked to submit an article on blogging by Delia Venables, editor of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.

Judith explained why Latimer Hinks decided to "blog"

Judith's Divorce Blog is a random collection of stories which I describe as reflections and emotions as perceived by an experienced divorce practitioner but perhaps presented from a slightly different angle.

Private practice is obviously getting to me because i've begun to experience divorce in everything i see or do. I try to intermingle press releases from Resolution within it.

It began in June when our in-house marketing guru (that's me!) approached me about a course she’d been on, highlighting the benefits of social networking. I was hardly enraptured by the idea which sounded as far removed from being sociable as I could imagine and was apparently based on a United States perspective where you join sites like Linked-In and business just happens!

Anyway I had a look at a number of these sites and suggested to her that if she wanted to network, I would assist by giving her a blog to refer to.

Initially I experimented for a few weeks on Yahoo 360 but, as interest grew, set up a page on Blogspot which clients could bookmark. Despite my initial reservations, I’ve enjoyed finding what I’d like to describe as a literary side to my nature, although I suspect that those who read my offerings may well disagree! I've also undergone a steep learning curve so far as widgets, blidgets, RSS feeds and analytics are concerned.

I only discovered the other family law blogs after beginning to publish mine, so was very relieved to discover that they all have unique angles and i hope that i'm not treading on anyones toes.

As well as the social networking which the guru is dabbling in, I’m using Feedburner to distribute entries to the Blog and one of our regional newspapers has contacted me about featuring it in a regular weekly section and on its website too (now up and running here).

Essentially I see it as a promotional tool rather than a marketing exercise in its own right.
At the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying what I regard as an experience in rediscovering my imagination and, unless I find a better outlet for my creative self, am confident that I’ll still be blogging for a long time yet.

Whilst Blogger isn't perfect, it is user friendly. There are some slight irritations but you don't get everything from a free service.

At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying what i regard as an experience in rediscovering my imagination and, unless i find a better outlet for my creative self, am confident that i'll still be blogging for a long time yet!

Latimer Hinks Blogs
Social Networking Guineapig was born in early July— as you can see, the blog chronicles the trials and tribulations of a technophobic marketing exec in her quest to promote Latimer Hinks via social networking—with a few press releases thrown in along the way.

Anne’s Tax Planning Blog also began in July—everything you need to know about tax planning and more, again with relevant press releases intermingled.

Statistics for all three of the blogs are going pretty well although Judith's Divorce Blog is the most successful and has created "spin-offs" (as mentioned above) for us to further promote the blog.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Inheritance Tax Headache! - Keep your records... or else

Latimer Hinks is warning people that they face an inheritance tax headache if records of gifts made to family members are not kept up-to-date and accurate.

Any gift made seven years before a person's death is not subject to inheritance tax, but money given within seven years may be taxed at 40 per cent.

The recent rise in property values has pushed many people's estate value over the Inheritance Tax threshold of £300,000 (2007-2008 tax year). More and more families are now using legitimate gift laws to lessen their IHT bills.

An investigation has been launched by HMRC to find out how people use the seven-year gift rule. Failure to keep precise records of ‘lifetime gifts’ could be extremely costly.

Anne Elliott explains here

For your information - Inheritance Tax Guide

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Law Firms and Blogs - the way forward?!

Charley With iBook
Originally uploaded by

The Law Gazette recently published an interesting article about law firm Freeth Cartwright and their embrace of new media - What New Media Could do for You

Their viewpoint on the matter of blogs reflects Latimer Hinks' reason for a blog

In the summer of 2006, we decided that a blog would be a simple and cost-effective solution. The blog format offered a neat and easy way to deliver news and comment instantly, and a shop window from which clients could help themselves to information. (Freeth Cartwright)

Latimer Hinks started Judith's Divorce Blog in June 2007, Social Networking Guineapig and Anne's Tax Planning Blog in July 2007.

Statistics for all three of the blogs are going pretty well although Judith's Divorce Blog is the most successful and has created "spin-offs" for us to further promote the blog.

Just today the Northern Echo (our local daily newspaper) have spoken with Judith. They wish to add Judith's Divorce Blog to their list of local business blogs.

This is great news for Latimer Hinks as the blog will now be read by Clients/potential Clients within our catchment area.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Top Ten Tips - Blogging for Beginners

I recently posted a question on LinkedIn, a business networking site. To say that i am exceptionally pleased with the response is a slight understatement!

I have compiled the responses to give you a Top Ten Tips for Beginner Bloggers.
  1. Promote and claim your blog through Technorati. The more you are mentioned in other blogs, the higher your Authority.
  2. Bookmark you blog/entries to sites such as digg,, stumble, facebook etc
  3. Include an RSS feed (i use Feedburner to publish my feed (it's free))
  4. Check for keywords related to your blog topics. Use them in articles and titles of posts
  5. Post comments on related blogs with links back to your blog
  6. Partial quote other relevant blogs and add content of value
  7. Make use of Feedburner PRO services. They are now free and can optimise, publicise and monetise your blog
  8. Ensure you have something worth reading
  9. Update regularly
  10. Ping your blog

And, as an added extra, for loads of information on blogging visit Problogger

I wish i'd known all of this when i first started my blog. Many many thanks to the LinkedIn members who responded to my original question

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Legal 500 - bible of legal business recommends Latimer Hinks

The Legal 500 is the most widely used legal directory in the UK and is considered to be "the bible of the legal business". The Legal 500 ranks law firms in terms of their expertise and performance.

Latimer Hinks has once again achieved recommendation.

Agriculture and Estates
Latimer Hinks acts for the smallest farmer to the largest country estate. As well as inheritance tax issues, the team has experience in advising on environmental land use and land use diversification. Anne Elliott is well respected for her agricultural expertise.

Commercial Property
Latimer Hinks offers the full gamut of property expertise and acts for a wide range of clients.

Commercial Litigation
Latimer Hinks Mark Gardner is an experienced practitioner and provides advice on a range of litigation and dispute resolution matters.

Corporate and Commercial
Darlington-based Latimer Hinks’ M&A practice also wins plaudits, with Nick Poole recommended.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Right Place at the Right Time!

The press have recently covered a story about a young girl being "spotted" by model agency Storm (same one that spotted Kate Moss) in, of all places, Primark!

She has since gone on to model for Benneton and is also one of the stars of London Fashion Week.

She was in the right place at the right time!

Now getting press releases, blogs etc in the right place at the right time can be a time consuming process - but well worth it in the long run.

By submitting press stories to relevant web based PR companies saves an awful lot of work. Sending press releases by email attachment is not always the best way.

Common Craft have produced a video for their Client PRWeb - this explains everything very simply - i'm a great fan of the style of Common Craft videos, they remind me so much on my Blue Peter and sticky back plastic years!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Social Networking Sites + Employment - do they mix?

You've probably seen/heard the news recently that social networking sites are costing UK businesses upwards of £130 million per day. It is suggested that 233 million hours are lost to people using work hours to surf social networking sites.

Many firms are now using social media as a tool to communicate and build business.

The times are changing and employers should consider how social networking sites can be used to their advantage. Networking sites can be a great way to keep up with an extended network of friends, acquaintances workplace colleagues, customers, and fellow-professionals.

Staff of Deloitte, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers activley encourage their staff to use networking sites. The ability to reach out to the right person for expertise and knowledge is one of the primary values of any knowledge-based worker.

A "network " of people can be built around anything, including law firms. We need to adapt to this phenomonal new media and focus on how it can help rather than disregarding their use because others use them in an unprofessional or non business related way.

To prove a point:

Law firm Allen & Overy recently had to repeal their ban on Facebook after their IT department was bombarded with complaints from staff members. Staff at the firm are now allowed to go onto the site as long as they do not view videos, which may compromise the performance of Allen & Overy’s IT systems.

US law firms as ever have welcomed social networking - eight of the largest law firms have a Facebook network:

Latimer Hinks have a Facebook and LinkedIn prescence. I feel the business related social networking is definitely the way forward.

You may find these articles of interest:

Monday, 10 September 2007

Silly Season for Ads

I seem to be inundated with telesales calls - it's that time of year again! Silly season for annual publications.

I've been organising ads for the North East Buisness Directory, The Who's Who in the Tees Valley, an ad for NHS staff as well as The North East Business Guide.

I've also taken on The Northern Echo's and the Journal's Legal 500 supplement.
The Legal 500 is classed as the Who's Who in law and Laitmer Hinks is ranked - so really, we have to shout about it!

Agriculture and estates - The North
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North - The North
Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North - The North
Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the North - The North
Public sector - The North

The ranking will be updated in the next week or so. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Charity Awards to Recognise Unsung Heroes

Latimer Hinks and Horwath Clark Whitehill are sponsoring the FIRST County Durham and Tees Valley Charity Awards.

The awards are aimed at recognising and celebrating the individial volunteers and fundraisers who give their time and energy to local charities.

We hope that people will nominate both their favourite charity and the inspiring people who work selflessly behind the scenes.

There are an amazing number of people in the region involved in the charity sector, from fundraisers and charity workers through to volunteers and business supporters and it is for these people the awards are intending to gain recognition.

We are all aware of the ‘grass roots’ work that is being carried out in communities across the region by local charities often operating under severe financial constraints and with little recognition. These awards are an opportunity to promote the region’s vibrant third sector, and so we would encourage local charities to consider making an application for these awards – as the old saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it! - so please pass this message on.
The work of the charities, within the TS, DL, DH, SR and YO postcode areas, will be acknowledged.

The ceremony will be held at Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield on November 1st.
Anyone wishing to complete a nomination form should email or call 01325 363436. Full details are on the website

1. Charity Volunteer of the year
The nominations should not include merely fundraising but for time and effort put into assisting a charity in its objectives in either frontline or back office functions. Nominations should include a description of the work involved and the importance of it to the charity concerned.
2. Charity Fundraiser of the Year
The nominations should include a description of the work and funds involved and with particular emphasis on the importance of it to the charity concerned.
3. Business Supporter of the Year
The nominations should explain what the business supporter has contributed that marks the business out as special in that charity’s experience.
4. Health and Welfare (inc Elderly) Charities
The nominations should explain what the charity has achieved that marks it out as special in its particular sector. It should include a copy of its annual report & accounts and any other appropriate documentation to support its nomination.
5. Young Person’s Charities
The nominations should explain what the charity has achieved that marks it out as special in its particular sector. It should include a copy of its annual report & accounts and any other appropriate documentation to support its nomination.
6. Education & Training Charities
The nominations should explain what the charity has achieved that marks it out as special in its particular sector. It should include a copy of its annual report & accounts and any other appropriate documentation to support its nomination.
7. Housing Charities
The nominations should explain what the charity has achieved that marks it out as special in its particular sector. It should include a copy of its annual report & accounts and any other appropriate documentation to support its nomination.
8. Local Branch of a National Charity
The nominations should explain what the branch has achieved that marks it out as special in its particular sector. It should ideally include a statement from the branches National HQ as to why the branch is worthy of nomination, with special mention of its activities, fundraising and volunteer work for the charities objectives.
Durham and Tees Valley Charity of the Year.
The winners of categories 4 – 8 will be entered into this award.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

To Sleep or not to Sleep..

L'il Monster and Dramaqueen went back to school today - yeah! Not without a fuss i might add.

Dragging them out of bed (even though) they had an early night is such a chore.

Why is it that on a weekend when we would really LOVE a lie in - that the little imps are wide awake and dressed before 7 o'clock?

Li'l Monster wants to go out to play with his friends, but for some reason - they aren't up! He's not allowed to knock on doors until after 10am, when hopefully, they are up and he doesn't disturb those exceedingly lucky parents who manage to get a lie in.

They must surely have some kind of bedtime concoction or Harry Potteresque potion that keeps children under the covers until a reasonable time.

Whatever it is - i want some and if i ever manage to get some i want everyone know.

I promise i will spend my nights blogging about this fabulous miracle potion/concoction to ensure that everyone knows about it - and what better way to do it than through social networking.

So, if anyone out there does have the answer to desperately required lie-in - LET ME KNOW!!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Submitting to Blog Directories - the less time consuming way!

This is such a long and tedious process.

Search for the directory, find the relevant page for submitting, then submit.

Not any more - i came across a list of submission URLs for blog directories and RSS feeds - all in one place!

Many many thanks to the Online Marketing Blog

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Life on Mars and employment law

My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma or back in time

Sam's (excellently portrayed by John Simm) a 21st century detective, who mysteriously finds himself working as a cop in the 1970s

Gene, (superbly played by Philip Glenister) his DCI is an old style cop, not scared of throwing a few punches to get a result.

I watched the last episode of Life on Mars 2 on Sky last night. What a fantastic series... and a cracking ending. If you haven't seen it - get the dvd's, well worth it. Best thing on TV for ages.

Working for a law firm i'm well aware of the recent beneficial changes in employment law - racial discrimination, sex discrimination, religious discrimination, age discrimination, disability regulations, bullying, no smoking in the workplace etc

Take one look at Life on Mars and you can see why the changes were brought about!

Work is undertaken in a dense fog of smoke, a fag is in the hand of every detective, sexual innuendos are bantered around the office, women are treated MUCH less favourably and Gene Hunt is a BULLY!

How things change.

Sam Tyler may have decided to go back to 1973, but i'm quite happy with my smoke free office and lack of bum smacking from male colleagues thank you very much!

However, there were some fantastic quotes especially from Gene Hunt

Sam Tyler: I need you to connect me to a Virgin mobile number -
Don't you start that sexy business with me, young man. I can trace this call.

Sam Tyler:
This place is like Guantanamo Bay.
Gene Hunt: Give over, it's nothing like Spain.

[To a handful of kids, staring at his car]
Gene Hunt:
Anything happens to this motor, I'll come 'round your houses and stamp on all your toys. Got it? Good kids.

[To another police officer examining blood on the floor]
Gene Hunt: Oi! Hairy Mary, shift yourself. You're in the way.

Gene Hunt: Grab your coat luv, you've pulled


For those of you who are fans of the series and Gene's quotes you can download ringtones here. I've got to admit - i have the "pick up the bleeding phone" ringtone!

Of course, as a law firm we do advise on all employment law issues for the employee as well as the employer, see here for our employment page. Nick Poole is our expert, scroll down this page for his details.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Deadline Looming - the End of Enduring Powers of Attorney

Just to remind you that Enduring Power of Attorneys are to be replaced with Lasting Powers of Attorney. See here

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document which i think of an a sort of insurance policy. I say now, who i want to deal with my financial affairs if in the future i can't deal with them personally.

From 1st October EPA's can no longer be made. However, EPA's in place at 1st October will be operative.
LPA's are more expensive and lengthier.

At the moment an EPA may cost around £110 + VAT for single, £200 + VAT for double.
For an LPA estimates from lawyers vary - the figures i've heard are between £700 + VAT + £1500 + VAT

Anne Elliott, Partner at Latimer Hinks explains why you should arrange a Power of Attorney asap.
Click here
Act now - you could save alot of money and provide yourself with peace of mind.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

To translate or not to translate...

As you know, i have recently returned from a holiday to Costa Tropical - Almunecar to be precise (in Spain). Almunecar is a spanish working town, by the sea. It isn't very touristy - you won't find an english translation of a Spanish sign or menu.
Luckily i was armed with the trusty "Rough Guide to Spanish". It was great fun dechiphering the spanish tapas menus. Darling daughter got into the swing of it and even attempted converstations!

Li'l monster however, not quite up to reading standards kept asking Darling daughter for translations. She soon got fed up and when asked that the spanish was for "dog" she replied "la rata" instead of "la perro" (the dog L'il monster was looking at was a Chihuahua).

We had to quickly refrain Li'l monster from saying "bonito rata" (beautiful rat - well that's what we thought it meant).

I have found, however that it is not only foreign languages one requires a dictionary for - it's also all of the blessed internet/communication terms.

Has anyone developed a dictionary dedicated to this? If not, i think there would definitely be a market for it!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

In Plain English...

Solicitors are often asked to speak in "plain english". Forget the herewith, herein etc - plain, simple, easy to understand english is what Clients crave. At Latimer Hinks (according to Client satisfaction feedback) that is what we provide.

Web 2, blogoshpere, widgets, blidgets, wikis etc - this is NOT plain english. Ask anyone to explain the above and they probably find it quite difficult to explain in plain english ... until i came across LeeLefever of Common Craft. He produces short and simple online videos. According to LeLefever their "videos help make sense of complex ideas using a simple format called Paperworks."

The videos remind me of Tony Hart and his little charachter
Morph. They are excellent - no computer gimmickry, just paper, marker and a hand!
I have watched 4 of his "in plain english videos" and i wish i'd watched them before i started blogging. It would have made life so much easier.

So if you want to learn about :

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

I'm Back!!!! and boy am I cold!

Well, our holiday was great. Excellent weather (of course), fabulous accomodation ... and the kids were pretty much well behaved throughout. BUT the downside of any holiday is returning to the UK weather.

We landed in Newcastle around 2am Monday, luckily it wasn't raining. The pilot warned that the temperature we were to be greeted with was 10 degrees. We noted that previous early mornings (1/2am) spent in Almunecar enjoying the local fiesta provided us with an extremely pleasant 32 degrees. Quite a difference!

Now i'm back at my desk with purple feet (i just HAD to wear my sandals and my feet aren't too keen on the cold) and the heating has been "switched back on" temporarily until i thaw out.

Five cups of tea later (rather than ice cold water) and I've now sifted through my emails and discovered that Judiths Divorce Blog is performing pretty well according to the stats and email communications.

  1. Delia Venables of has contacted Judith and other family law bloggers with regard to producing an article on Family Law Blogs for the award winning Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. This page provides a comprehensive list of family lawyers in alphabetical order, thanks to Delia for the listing and once the newsletter is completed i will post a link.

  2. The Journal has contacted our PR agency, Recognition. They would like Judith to consider being one of their bloggers! It's a joint collaboration with the Evening Gazette so should provide great local publicity. We're waiting for passwords etc but should be up and running fairly soon.

  3. Judiths Divorce Blog has been added to the Top Divorce Blogs section of Wikivorce as well as being listed on the resources section.

  4. When Judith corresponds via email to Clients a link to the blog is provided. We are now receiving positive comments from Clients with regard to the blog (and of course Judith's excellent service)

All in all i think we're getting there. I'm sure we still have a lot to learn but we will keep at it!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Social Networking Guineapig Temporarily Unavailable

I'll shortly be popping off to sunnier climes. The wet weekend weather of the past month has really "cheesed me off". Why does it always seem to be a weekend that the sun does not even decide to "peep" through the clouds?

However, Tuesday this week Dramaqueen (darling daughter) had a little outing to the dental hospital in Newcastle, along with L'il monster (dearest son) and of course, myself. The sun was shining, the sky was blue - it was gorgeous, it was also a shame that we were in the hospital for a couple of hours!

On release from the hospital we walked further into Newcastle and ordered an icecream sundae which was eaten outside in the sun. Totally glorious but for the fact that the cafe we found was opposite the bus station. Not such a healthy place to sit and eat with carbon monoxide fumes floating in close vicinity... we live and learn - they were very special sundaes!

However, i do not think for one moment that we will have the same problem in Puerto Cabopino or even Almunecar (Costa del Sol) where we are hoping for a fortnight of blue skies.
I am also NOT allowed to go anywhere near a computer! - i will have withdrawal symptoms by the time i return, though i should have plenty to "blog" about!

So, as of 5pm today i am offically on holiday - i'll get back to you all 21st August!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read

I have been advised by John of Family Lore that the best way to gain more hits to my blogs is to create links (and he should know as Family Lore receives around 2000 hits per month - he's obviously doing something right).

I also came across an article by Matt Huggins - 55 Essential Articles Every Serious Blogger Should Read via Del.ici.ous and have been slowly going through the list. Most of the information is very straight forward and there are further links to relevant sites. It's an excellent list as everything in in one place.

Take a look and i'm sure you'll discover something you didn't already know!

Monday, 30 July 2007

FeedBurner - pushing your information

I've been burning feeds - not something i thought i'd be saying in a marketing role + it's free!

Recently Google purchased news-feed management company FeedBurner for $100 million and Google is now offering the service for free - Google Gives Away Feedburner

Why Would I Want to Set Fire to my Feed?
If you long for creative ways to attract an audience, see where your content goes once you publish it and generally add a lot more value to your feed, then "feedburning" is for you

Your "feed" is redirected so that you can get a true picture of how many subscribers you have, where they come from etc. You are provided with a very detailed analysis which can be tailored to what you require. I've used the data on one blog to help promote the other blogs. It's interesting to see where your traffic comes from and where it is going to!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Social Bookmarking - is there a less time consuming way?

In order to "push" my blogs out into the blogosphere (or whatever you'd like to call it) i have started to bookmark blog postings and of course the blogs themselves.

This i find to be very time consuming. At the moment i'm bookmarking to Delicious, Stumble Upon, Magnolia and Technorati.

Now with three blogs up and running this adds up to a fair amount of time. Is there an easier, less time consuming way to do this?

I'd really appreciate some advice - i'm verging on the edge of hysteria as nearly everytime i log in to the relevant sites explorer develops a problem and has to "shut down" Grrrrr!!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Blogging - slowly but surely there seems to be a pay off!

We've now been blogging for over a month now and Judith's Divorce Blog is finally gaining recognition.

The last time i spoke with Judith she'd had over 900 hits on her Yahoo 360 blog (which contains the same information as her blogspot blog).

The blogspot blog has been mentioned in various other family lawyers blogs, so many thanks to them - Family Lore & Bloody Relations both excellent blogs in their own right.

I've also managed to have Judith's divorce blog highlighted as a "featured external blog" wikivorce. I'm now in the process of trying for the same on Infolaw. *Update* Judith's Blog is now on infolaw!

Due to the success of this trial blog we have decided to start up another. This time to promote the Private Client side of Latimer Hinks Solicitors. Wills, trusts, probate, inheritance tax planning, estate planning etc etc.

The blog is called Anne's Tax Planning Blog and will advise on all aspects of "planning for the future". Again, i have started the blog in Yahoo 360 - we like the community based blog providers and hope to gain traffic through Yahoo and direct it to the blogspot blog of the same name.

I like the blogspot sites as you can add widgets, set up RSS feeds and monitor through google analytics, which seems to be a problem in Yahoo.

I will keep you updated

Monday, 23 July 2007

ACT NOW - Enduring Power of Attorney vs Lasting Power of Attorney - Deadline FAST Approaching!

I thought that i would take the opportunity to "flag up" a deadline that is fast approaching.

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document which i think of an a sort of insurance policy. I say now, who i want to deal with my financial affairs if in the future i can't deal with them personally.

What is an EPA An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), is a legal document that enables someone (the donor) to appoint one or more persons (attorney(s)) to manage their financial affairs and property, either now or in the future - and crucially whether or not you are or are not mentally incapacitated.

If you do not have an EPA If you become ill or metally incapacitated and have no EPA, no-one can act on your behalf unless they first went to Court and are appointed "Receiver" for you - all a matter of a lot of time and a lot of expense.

Don't think your spouse and children can act for you without an EPA - in the case of mental incapacity and no EPA - they can't, not without court intervention.

From the 1st October Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) can no longer be made. Instead they will be replaced with a revised type of power called Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). BUT EPA's inplace at 1st October will be operative!

The LPA's will be more expensive and lengthier. At the moment an EPA may cost you around £110 + VAT for a single and £200 + VAT for a double. The cost of the LPA will depend on who prepares the LPA. Estimates from lawyers vary - the figures i've heard vary between £700 + VAT + £1500 + VAT.

Anne Elliott, Partner at Latimer Hinks explains why you should arrange a Power of Attorney asap. Click here