Andrew Morley

Andrew Morley

andrewmorley

Andrew Morley joined the legal profession in 1982 with a desire to put right injustice. Learning on the job whilst undergoing academic study, he entered private practice and qualified into the Fellowship of the Institute of Legal Executives in 1990, and joined McKinnells solicitors in Lincoln in 2004. Brought up in a village not far from Lincoln, Andrew is a keen cyclist and once completed the Lands End to John O’Groats ride for no better reason than is was there and it seemed like a good idea.


Nothing is certain but death and taxes, so the proverb goes. And in death is the final chance to determine how your hard earned money is distributed. This is done by a will, and in this important document most of us reflect family ties, friendships and charities.

Sadly, many do not make a will at all and then what is called the law of intestacy says where the money goes; and it does not necessarily all go to the surviving spouse or civil partner. In the worst case everything could go to the Crown to help pay off the national debt!

A will is essential if you want to be certain what is to happen after you die. And a professionally drawn will is the best way to ensure that certainty.

The law gives those of us over the age of 18 and of sound mind the freedom in a will to dispose of our assets after death in any way we wish. But, as we have seen, few things are certain, disputes can still arise, and have a habit of bringing out the worst. At a time of grief. And the star witness has just died!

There are two types of dispute I see. First is over the will itself. To be valid a will, it must comply with the Wills Act 1837, which sets out the formalities. These formalities are strict and it really is not worth taking the chance to do it yourself with a will or use anyone other than a solicitor specialising in this field.

It is often claimed that the testator (the person who made the will) was not of sound mind, that he or she lacked the legal capacity to understand what they were doing when the will was made. With Alzheimer’s Society estimates that by 2025 there will be over 1 million people suffering from dementia in the UK, this issue is only going to become more frequently raised.

Then there is what lawyers call undue influence. This is the subtle influence over the testator’s mind which coerces him or her into making a will against their true wishes.

Finally, we have cases of a will being forged or there being some fraud such as destroying a later will so that an earlier will is used instead.

The second type of dispute is over the inheritance. These disputes have as their basis the snappily entitled Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This gives a Judge the power to, in effect, re-write a will in order to give some (or more) of your money to certain people such as a spouse, partner or children who feel they should have left been more.

If you feel you may be affected by any of the issues raised here then it is important to seek urgent legal advice.

Andrew Morley joined the legal profession in 1982 with a desire to put right injustice. Learning on the job whilst undergoing academic study, he entered private practice and qualified into the Fellowship of the Institute of Legal Executives in 1990, and joined McKinnells solicitors in Lincoln in 2004. Brought up in a village not far from Lincoln, Andrew is a keen cyclist and once completed the Lands End to John O’Groats ride for no better reason than is was there and it seemed like a good idea.

Many people are starting their own enterprise, even in these difficult economic times. And Lincoln is the UK’s fastest growing city for new businesses. You have a skill, a product or an idea. But how do you convert a full order book into cash? BBC Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis summarised the issue as “profit is sanity; turnover is vanity”.

Credit control is the process of controlling payments coming into your business. Without it you have serious cash-flow problems, have to raise prices and become less competitive. Your business could fail.

  • When does credit control start? Your customer has to know your credit terms from DAY ONE. The best way to do this is by presenting a set of terms and conditions of business prepared by a lawyer who knows you and your business. This will inform your customers, for example, how and when to pay and the consequences of not paying, such as the interest you will levy on late payments.
  • Know your customer: Sounds obvious but it would not be the first time I have been instructed to collect a substantial debt based on a scrap of paper to the effect that “Big Rob” from the warehouse rang through an order for delivery to a site and he thought the home-owner would pay. If not, the builder. Maybe! If you are dealing B2B find out if it is an individual, partnership or company. Don’t be afraid to ask. Check them out on the internet. Try Companies House webcheck facility if you are dealing with a limited company.
  • Time limits: Adapt these to your type of business.
  • 24 hours after you have supplied the goods or service, ring to check your customer is satisfied;
  • 48-72 hours later, issue your invoice;
  • 24 hours later ring to check the invoice has been received and is being processed for payment;
  • 30 days after invoice start the letters: the first gives 14 days and the second gives 7 days. Politely but firmly asking for payment. The second letter escalates the urgency by referring to legal action. Now the invoice moves from what I call “pay when chased” to “pay when threatened”. There is no third letter;
  • At 60 days legal action is probably the only way forward now. Don’t leave it any longer.
  • Keep in touch: If your customer promises to pay by a certain date, write to them to confirm this; if the date passes without payment being received then ring them up straight away to find out what is going on. NEVER put this off.
  • Possible solutions: Offer a small discount for early payment. Agree instalments. Do your terms and conditions allow you to take back any oods not paid for?
  • The old excuses and what to say:
  1. I seem to have lost your invoice: Ask if that is the only reason for non-payment? If not then it is a delaying tactic.
  2. The cheque is in the post: Ask for details of the date of the cheque, its number and date of posting? If they cannot answer then it’s a lie.
  3. The computer is down: Who is fixing it and when? How are the wages going to be paid?
  4. We are waiting for a big customer to pay us and then we can pay you: Ask for the name of that big customer? If the money is definitely coming in then why can’t they get a bank loan on the strength of that certainty in order to pay you now?
  • Don’t overdo it: Section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 makes it an offence to harass a debtor “so as to cause alarm, distress or humiliation.”
  • The ultimate credit control tool: Not sending round your mate who is built like the proverbial brick out-house (see “Don’t overdo it” above). The ultimate form of credit control is full payment, up-front; cash. If you can get it!

Andrew Morley joined the legal profession in 1982 with a desire to put right injustice. Learning on the job whilst undergoing academic study, he entered private practice and qualified into the Fellowship of the Institute of Legal Executives in 1990, and joined McKinnells solicitors in Lincoln in 2004. Brought up in a village not far from Lincoln, Andrew is a keen cyclist and once completed the Lands End to John O’Groats ride for no better reason than is was there and it seemed like a good idea.