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