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1 Legal & Financial News inside view Need help or advice? Call us today on Look who joined the team The 7,000 Cup of coffee Prescribing ERRORS Full details inside!

2 Trusted experts can help turn your New Year s resolutions into reality Need Advice Call us today on Every January it s the same, lose weight and save money, but what exactly is a New Year s resolution quite simply it s an advantageous lifestyle change, a personal goal or project you aim to accomplish in the forthcoming year. This year why not let Pearson s Financial Advisers help you make that change, starting with your finances. When you lead a busy life it s hard to find time to plan ahead: Retirement Planning Will my pension maintain my current lifestyle and afford me new opportunities? Education Can I afford private education or university fees for my children? Investment Advice How do I protect my money and not leave my family with a huge tax bill and only 60% of my estate? Protection Do I have sufficient life cover, what if I lose my job or suffer long term illness? I need a Will and advice on relevant Trusts. Make your resolution become reality - for a FREE New Year appointment call PRACTICE AREA: Financial Services w A d Will you or won t you A big shake up of what happens if you die without a Will came into force on October 1st. If you die without a will, common law partners may be shocked to realise they still have no rights to inherit and the children of married couples are in line for less than they thought. Lawyers say it s essential that legal rules governing the distribution of an estate should reflect the needs and expectations of modern families, however the rules for co-habitants have not been changed. There is currently a popular myth that the common-law spouse is afforded legal rights - this simply isn't the case, even though it does reflect the way that many people are choosing to live their lives. said Partner, Daniel Prince. The entire estate of an unmarried couple with no children still passes to the blood relatives of the deceased, the partner gets nothing, so the only way to ensure they inherit is to make sure you have a Will, he added. Daniel Prince The biggest change made by the Inheritance Partner and Trustees Powers Act 2014, is the passing of the whole estate to the surviving spouse /civil partner if there are no children. Previously a parent or other relative would have inherited some if the estate was over 450,000. There are also changes to what children can expect and in many cases the inheritance rights of children are significantly reduced. Full details of the new laws can be found on our website PRACTICE AREA: Private Client

3 Karen Piontek joined us in the summer and brings our property team up to five. She specialises in all aspects of commercial and residential property and has a wealth of commercial property experience. We welcomed four new staff to our busy teams in 2014 If experience is the order of the day Andrew Murray has over 30 years of it as a solicitor and now sits as a judge in the First Tier Social Security Entitlement Tribunal. He is currently working closely with our employment team and recently represented over 17 staff from Manchester College in their Settlement Agreements. Our Private Client team has been boosted by the arrival of Sarah Finningan. Her training and qualification at a London firm and years working in Manchester gives her a broad range of experience. Finally after a first class honours qualification Kendyl Moore starts a training contract with our medical negligence team based at our Ashton office. hat our clients say ifficult situation made easy Caring service Extremely accommodating Supporting Saddleworth Concerts Supporting music in Saddleworth encourages future talent and this season Pearson s Financial Services team are sponsoring the Saddleworth Concert Society. Welcoming the support Geoff Roberts, membership secretary of the Society, said: We are delighted that Pearson s are the main sponsors, they are a local firm and their support will help us continue to bring world class artists to Saddleworth at a time when the business support for the arts has never been more important. Pearson Partner, Richard Eastwood, added: We have strong links in Saddleworth and I feel it is important to support causes not only close to our hearts, but also on our doorsteps. Planning ahead and securing a financial future is vital for organisations and individuals alike. Boosting business accounts by 1 million In 2014 our commercial debt team recovered almost 1million for SME s - making a vital difference to their commercial health. Small businesses across the North West experience the greatest number of late payments in the UK. Employing a solicitor to recoup outstanding debts might seem like another cost, but unpaid debt represents a significant threat to long-term business health, says solicitor Nicola Laurie. In 12 months we have helped recover debts ranging from 300 up to 250,000. Need Commercial Advice Call us today on Some companies may only have a few invoices that need chasing and we are more than happy to deal with these. For others, a bulk debt recovery option is required. For companies that need a larger scale process for the ongoing chasing of multiple invoices, the processes must be structured to cope with the increased volumes and correspondence. A solicitor will assess your case and advise on the best methods to progress, depending on the amount you are owed. Often this may just involve simply sending one Letter Before Action to your debtor for a minimal cost. If payment is not forthcoming then a solicitor can advise you on what your best options are from that point onwards. PRACTICE AREA: Debt Recovery what our clients say Mr Prince was friendly and helped me make informed decisions, I would have no hesitation in recommending Pearson Solicitors.

4 Looking forward to 2015, with Partner and Practice Manager, Joanne Ormston has been an incredibly busy and successful year for the firm and for our clients. The firm has secured the Lexcel accreditation for the 12th year running, receiving an exceptional report from an independent auditor. I (somehow!) managed to be awarded the Business Woman of the Year at the Oldham Business Awards for all the initiatives the firm has or is looking to introduce in the forthcoming months, and financially 2014/15 looks to be our best year ever! We have recruited some senior fee earners in 2014 all bringing with them a wealth of experience adding to the services we can offer across both individual clients and businesses sees some exciting times as we expand our presence in Tameside, moving to brand new offices in St Petersfield in May, expanding our Elderly Client offering and becoming a Dementia Friendly Practice. We will also be introducing new internal systems with the aim to be paperless by the end of unprecedented for a Law Firm but it should aid our efficiency of service to clients. Finally I would like to wish all our clients and friends of the firm a prosperous 2015 Landlords - make sure properties are well maintained to avoid claims under the Occupiers Liability Act Making a cup of coffee led to an injury and 7,000 compensation for one of our clients recently. We acted under the Occupiers Liability Act in respect of an injury. Our client was a visitor to a house and this case highlights the responsibility of a landlord not only to their tenants, but also to anyone visiting to the property. Ian Wolstenhulme, Solicitor, acted for the client: This case was made doubly difficult because the landlord had gone into administration and we were unable to recover monies from him, however we successfully sued the Administrator. Top Accolade for 12th Year In 2014 we celebrated yet another year of success after being awarded the prestigious Lexcel quality mark for the 12th year running. After an exhaustive and detailed inspection of files and office procedures, including interviews with solicitors and staff, the Law Society s practice management standard was awarded in recognition of our high standards in customer care and management. Joanne Ormston, said: This is recognition of the dedication and professionalism of our staff. Looking after our clients needs with compassion and integrity is at the heart of what we do and to be recognised for 12 years is certainly an achievement. For more information on this area of law get in contact A decorative wooden plinth on the ceiling of the kitchen fell down and struck the client s hand. As a result of the injury the client was away from work for quite some time, had to have physiotherapy treatment but failed to make a full recovery. It highlights is just how important it is for landlords to make sure properties are in good repair and not to rely on managing agents to do everything for them, essentially the responsibility begins and ends with the property owner. PRACTICE AREA: Personal Injury

5 Recovering the costs of care Pearson Solicitors have recently challenged care home funding, recovering over 30,000 for clients in compensation for fees they should not have paid. Mike Talbot - Partner If you or a relative are in a home or need care at home because of mental or physical illness then you might be paying for something which could be funded by the NHS. One client said she knew nothing of the Continuing Care money available until she spoke our Partner Mike Talbot, an expert in these particular care cases. The NHS should pay for care when the primary need to be in a care home is for health reasons. Sometimes when the family challenges the NHS they were able to regain the fees they have paid out, said Mr Talbot. He is currently representing one family who are disputing what they believe is 100,000 in wrongly paid care home fees. Many people sell the family home if they are forced to place their loved ones in a home to get the care they need for conditions such as Parkinson s, Alzheimer s or Dementia and may not realise they are eligible for Continuing Care, added Mr Talbot. When an individual is eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, the NHS meets the whole costs charged for funding a residential or nursing placement, including any accommodation costs. This care can be provided either in a care home or your own home. In successful cases significant sums of money can be reimbursed to the relative or their family even if they have since died and I would urge them pick up the phone and get in touch with us, added Mr Talbot. Full details can be found on our website or call PRACTICE AREA: Reclaiming Care Fees Pearson are a Dementia Friendly Practice Dementia is one the biggest health challenges in the UK with nearly 250,000 people currently living with the condition in the local area. It can be hugely alienating and is often misunderstood, but now Pearson s hope they can help provide clients with an improved service by understanding their specific needs. We heard about the local campaign to improve awareness and this is something we really wanted to champion, especially as our solicitors have a lot of contact with elderly clients and their carers, said Business Development Manager, Suzanne Wright. Oldham lawyers are joining in the campaign to create a Dementia Friendly Oldham. From the first contact on the phone or in our reception we will make sure we are Dementia Friendly so it s not only solicitors who are getting the training, but receptionists, office staff, indeed anyone who may need to give that little bit of extra help and guidance, added Suzanne. The firm already go some way to being friendly with home visits, private and quiet meeting rooms for clients, well lit signs at eye-level, with glass doors and exit signs clearly marked. Pearson s have joined other organisations in the Oldham Dementia Action Alliance, to create 500 Dementia Friends. Make your move in 2015 The Chancellor s Autumn statement announced a significant change to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), making massive savings for 98 per cent of homebuyers. This is good news for not just for First Time Buyers but also expanding families who need larger properties but would struggle with the additional tax payable said conveyancing solicitor, Victoria Marshall. Reducing the burden of stamp duty for buyers is crucial to getting markets moving again, we have seen growth this year as the economy improves, but further help is needed to give momentum to the housing market, she added. Let Pearson s get you moving - If you need fast, efficient and professional conveyancing services please contact or call without delay. PRACTICE AREA: Conveyancing

6 Charity Begins in Oldham It s been a busy year on the charity front and we ve had a number of fund-raising events raising 1,000s for local and national charities. Will Week has proved popular once again, our solicitors have given their time for free and raised over 2,000 for St Anne s Hospice, Dr Kershaw s Hospice, Christie Cancer and the North West Air Ambulance Charity. Partner, Mike Pitt took part in the 100k Ride London and raised 1,300 for the Mines Advisory Group and blasted through the organisers nine hour time slot cycling to victory in just 6 hours and 36 minutes After a hot spring and summer in training, on the day it was 86 miles in torrential rain. It s amazing to raise money for land mines clearance and it s thanks to everyone who supported and sponsored me along the way, said Michael. Business Development Manager, Suzanne Wright, completed a sponsored hike up Helvellyn for Saddleworth Mountain Rescue and the team at the Oldham office went Mad for Mahdlo dressing up in yellow, selling yellow cakes and collecting cash from clients to support the Oldham youth centre. After all that activity everyone enjoyed the Macmillan coffee morning in September and a chance of a cuppa and a chat in aid of the Cancer support charity, with charity donations on Xmas Jumper Day topping off an excellent fundraising year. Prescribing ERRORS We have recently recovered compensation for clients when High Street pharmacists handed over the wrong medicines. One client s holiday was ruined when he mistakenly took the wrong medication away after collecting a prescription from his chemist. He called our medical negligence team for advice and we made a claim for 4,000 compensation against the pharmacy chain. The tablets were selected in error during the dispensing process and this was subsequently not picked up by the pharmacist in the final checking process. In a second case a client had an adverse reaction to prescribed medication when his dose was tripled overnight by mistake. The GP, who had prescribed the correct medication, confirmed pharmacist error. The company admitted a labelling and selection error, launched an internal 1,000s recovered in compensation after errors by High Street pharmacies. investigation and agreed a 3,000 settlement. Commenting on the cases, our medical negligence solicitor said: Medication errors are common and most are due to slips in attention during routine prescribing, dispensing or drug administration. We see more and more of these types of cases, it is a worrying trend when you have placed your trust in a professional and in a well know brand. If you would like a free consultation with Pearson Solicitors about a prescribing or dispensing error by a doctor or pharmacist, contact our Medical Negligence team on or PRACTICE AREA: Medical Negligence T: E: Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registered number OC351719, registered office 31 Queen Street, Oldham OL1 1RD. Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. OLDHAM ASHTON HOLLINWOOD

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