Director and Head of Personal Injury Andrew Greenwood took to the airwaves on Thursday as he joined Stephanie Hirst on BBC Radio Leeds for the legal phone-in. During the programme he answered listeners’ legal questions and concerns, summarised below;
Q: Do you have any advice for someone considering making a will?
A: Making a will is a very sensible thing to do. Family situations can be very complicated, so making a will is important to ensure your hard-earned money and your estate go to the right people. If you die without leaving a will, you die ‘intestate’, therefore intestacy rules apply and your next of kin would inherit your estate. However, disputes can arise when a person dies intestate, so if you’d like your assets to go somewhere or to someone in particular, making a will is key. I’d advise those considering making a will to do it properly through a solicitor, as it can prevent problems in the future.
Q: I bought my house before getting married, so there is only my name on the deeds. Does my wife’s name need to be on the deeds, or will she inherit the house anyway?
A: If you die without making a will, then your wife would have to make a formal claim in relation to the property – it wouldn’t automatically go to her, unless you put the property into joint names. If the house is in the joint names of you and your wife, on your death your share of the house would automatically transfer to her. Therefore you have two choices: you can either transfer the ownership of your home into two names, or you can make a will – or equally, you can do both.
Q: We bought a laptop several years ago from a large supermarket chain. It failed within the six year time limit and I complained at the time but didn’t get anywhere. I am now outside the six year time limit – is there anything I can do?
A: The six year time limit applies to contract claims, so if you would like to sue the supermarket because the contract has failed, then the six year rule applies from the time the laptop was purchased. If the contract was made more than six years ago, you will be outside the time frame in which you can take action. If you issue proceedings seeking compensation for your laptop because it isn’t working properly, then you’re seeking what lawyers call ‘damages’ – in this case, the damages claim might be struck out because the laptop is more than six years old. There are technical exceptions, but you are most likely out of time, unfortunately.
Q: Three years ago I had CCTV fitted to my home. I asked the company to ensure an app would enable me to remotely view the cameras through my smartphone. Since they installed the system, the software has failed several times and I have had to pay various call-out fees for them to fix it. I have ended up buying a new hard drive. Can I sue the company for the call-out fees and the cost of a new hard drive?
A: You’ve clearly got a contract for the CCTV system to work properly. It hasn’t worked properly, so you are absolutely entitled to go back to the company and charge them for a new hard drive, as well as the call-out fees they charged you. I’d advise you to write a letter of claim, keep a copy of it, and give them 14 days to come back to you with their proposals.
Q: How does the enforcement of property covenants work?
A: A covenant is simply a promise from one property owner to another to either do something or not do something. If the covenant says the front of a house should look a certain way or not have a wall of a certain height, then that is perfectly enforceable and you would need to go and see a solicitor in connection with that. Time is an important factor in such cases, therefore if something has happened that breaches a covenant, action needs to be taken very quickly.
If you have a legal question or concern and you would like to speak to a member of our team, please call 0113 232 1030.