British Attitudes Towards Wills & Bequests

Research by wealth management company Charles Stanley provides some interesting insights into British attitudes towards making wills and receiving bequests. Slightly more than two thirds (68%) of UK adults intended to divide their assets evenly among their children, however, 16% said they would not do so, while a further 16% remained undecided. Reasons given for not splitting wealth equally included the differing personal circumstances of children, and how close relations were between parents and children later in life.

The research also revealed the family problems and distress that result when an inheritance is not split equally between children. Roughly half of the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) said they would be upset by an uneven split, and more than a third of all UK adults felt the same.

British people are surprisingly shy about discussing inheritances, with only one in five respondents stating that they had talked openly about the subject with their family. This means that the majority of UK families are failing to plan ahead, which can have a negative financial impact and lead to family disputes that are often only resolved after lengthy and expensive court proceedings.

If a person dies without making a will they will have died intestate, and their estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy, which are arbitrary and may not reflect the wishes of the deceased. To avoid family conflicts and ensure that the intended beneficiaries receive the correct share of an estate, the testator (the person making a will) should carefully consider their legacy and seek legal advice from a law firm like Bartletts Solicitors. Find out more:

New Liverpool Exhibitions Opening in May

As the winter draws to a close, two new exhibitions at the Walker Art Gallery and World Museum are set to become highlights of Liverpool’s cultural agenda over the summer months, offering very different but equally mesmerising experiences for visitors.

On 21st May, The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition opens at the Walker Art Gallery, featuring a collection of Tudor portraits from the Gallery’s own collection alongside roughly 70 key works from the National Portrait Gallery, many of which have never been seen before outside of London. Apart from portraits, the exhibition will also include several famous Tudor objects such as the Westminster Tournament Roll, the Armada Maps and the Bacton Altar Cloth, which is thought to be the sole surviving dress of Queen Elizabeth I. 

A week later on 27th May, Doctor Who: Worlds of Wonder lands at Liverpool’s World Museum. This thrilling interactive exhibition will explore the world of science within the universe of Doctor Who, allowing visitors to engage with the show’s original artefacts, sets, costumes and props. The exhibition is a must-see for Doctor Who fans and science enthusiasts alike, who will be able to follow the Doctor’s adventures and encounters across space and time, while discovering the science that weaves its way through the history of the longest-running sci-fi TV show in the world.

Further details about these two upcoming exhibitions are available on the National Museums Liverpool website, where you can also book advance tickets:

Renting Warehouses, Fulfilment Units & Kitchens

Many companies nowadays have delivery-only business models which don’t require a high street presence, and instead rely on the rapid, time-limited delivery of orders within a specific area (typically town and city centres). These organisations are often virtual brands taking orders only online and by phone. They may also be so-called dark kitchens, which prepare and deliver food orders to local customers, often on behalf of an established high street brand, or provide order fulfilment services for multiple brands.

Changing customer preferences driven by, among other things, increasingly easy and familiar online ordering systems, the Covid pandemic and fierce competition among operators, has resulted in strong demand for small and medium-sized warehouses, industrial units and kitchens, often located in the suburbs of towns and cities, from where orders can be prepared and delivered within the time frame chosen by the customer (this may be as little as 15-30 mins). These commercial properties offer the advantage of being relatively cheap to rent and staff, allowing small and medium-sized operators to compete in their target market.

Unless the premises is pre-equipped, the tenant will usually need to make alterations to meet the practical needs of their business. This is one area in which a commercial property solicitor can assist the tenant, mainly by ensuring that the lease terms are suitable for the latter’s intended purposes. Leases are normally lengthy documents, sometimes containing unexpected and unwelcome clauses for the unwary. Reliable legal advice is therefore a prerequisite for entering into such agreements to guarantee the smooth operation of a warehousing, fulfilment or dark kitchen business over the duration of the lease.

Our solicitors can help prospective tenants with all aspects of commercial leases, including negotiating terms with the landlord. We also carry out the various searches and enquiries to check, for example, the property’s planning permission status. The commercial property team at Bartletts can advise and support clients in every aspect of getting a warehouse, fulfilment unit or dark kitchen up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible – and with the minimum of fuss.

UK House Prices Surge to Record High

Despite the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) showing that house sales in January fell by 10.6% compared to the same time last year, both average house prices and asking prices continue to hit new heights. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average price of a UK home increased by 10.8% in December 2021 year on year to reach a record £275,000, while Rightmove reported in January that asking prices across the country have reached a new average high of £348,804.

Even after the temporary stamp duty holiday ended at the start of October, UK housing market demand remains strong and prices have continued to increase. A lack of available properties is a key reason for house prices rising to record levels, with recent research by Savills finding that 90% of prospective buyers believe lack of supply is hindering their ability to find a suitable home. Furthermore, many potential sellers are reluctant to put their properties on the market currently due to concern about their own ability to find a new home.     

Low unemployment (even after the end of the furlough scheme) and low borrowing costs are two other factors driving the UK housing market, although with inflation hitting a 30-year high of 5.5% in January, household finances are likely to deteriorate in the coming months. With real wages remaining flat or declining, applicants are likely to have less money to spend following a mortgage affordability assessment, and this combined with a general rise in the cost of living should at least take some of the heat out of the market. However, while demand continues to outstrip supply, the market’s upward trajectory may easily continue, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in recent months.

Bartletts represents property buyers and sellers in Liverpool and across Merseyside. Louise Nelson is a solicitor with 39 years experience of helping people buy and sell property in the area. Louise heads a friendly team of experienced conveyancers. Our firm is Law Society Accredited for Conveyancing Quality, and offers free no obligation quotations, competitive fixed fees and no hidden costs:

Bed Bugs to Surge as Covid Restrictions Ease?

The recent easing of Covid restrictions has led to warnings from experts that bed bug infestations are likely to surge in the coming weeks and months, as cities fully reopen, the weather improves and people start to travel again. This increases the likelihood of bed bugs hitchhiking from hotels and holiday accommodation back to guests’ homes causing domestic infestations which can be difficult, stressful and expensive to eradicate. Guests may also bring bed bugs with them when they travel, infesting their accommodation and potentially spreading the pests to multiple locations.

Bed bugs are adept at stowing away and concealing themselves, and with many people planning holidays in the UK and abroad, and the majority of workers returning to the office, conditions are ripe for a rise in bed bug infestations. There are also concerns that a shortage of staff in the hospitality industry means that some locations are not being checked and monitored sufficiently thoroughly to prevent bed bugs. The pests are usually transported in luggage, clothing, bedding and personal belongings like wallets and purses. Once they infest a room, they commonly hide in mattresses, bed frames, furniture, floorboards, and other suitably obscure cracks and crevices.

Hotels and other providers of holiday accommodation owe their guests a duty of care and must maintain their premises in a safe state, which includes preventing bed bug infestations and guests being injured, both physically and psychologically, by the pests. Our firm has particular expertise in bed bug bite claims, and has successfully represented hundreds of clients in these specialist claims over the years. Contact our specialist bed bug bite injury team for a free consultation if you have been bitten by bed bugs in a hotel or other commercial premises:

Little Liverpool at Museum of Liverpool

The Little Liverpool gallery at the Museum of Liverpool runs six sessions a day, each lasting around 30 minutes, during which time children under the age of six can play and learn in a unique hands-on fantasy world.

Highlights of the Little Liverpool gallery’s activities include Liverpuddles, a water play interactive based on the progress of the River Mersey, with children able to sail boats through the city, fish in the river and navigate cars through tunnels. Apart from being great fun, Liverpuddles aims to engage children with environmental issues, particularly their responsibility to wildlife for keeping our waters clean.

Little Liverpool also features an A to Z of objects on its dock wall, with each ‘letter station’ encouraging young children to discover more using a hands-on interactive and learn through speaking and listening. Finally, the Liver bird’s nest is a multisensory pod where babies and very young children can relax with their carers in a safe and cosy nest which is perfect for kicking off the shoes and crawling around.      

The six daily sessions at the Little Liverpool gallery are at 10.15am, 11am, 11.45am, 1.15pm, 2pm and 2.45pm each day. Entry is free and tickets can be collected from the Museum’s welcome desk. You can found out more about the Little Liverpool gallery at the Museum of Liverpool on the National Museums Liverpool website:

Highway Code Revamp Controversy

The Highway Code was revamped on Saturday with 50 rules added or updated, mainly focusing on the enhanced protection of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. However, lack of awareness of the new rules among millions of motorists is a major issue, with an AA survey of 13,700 drivers earlier this month finding that 33% were unaware of the changes. This combined with doubts about the common sense of some of the new measures has raised concerns that cyclists, pedestrians and other ‘vulnerable’ road users could now actually be more at risk of accidents than under the previous rules. 

One of the controversial new changes is the advice that cyclists ride in the centre of lanes on quieter roads, in slow-moving traffic and when approaching junctions so that other road users are more aware of them. Cyclists will generally enjoy greater freedom on the road, with motorists obliged to give them priority on roundabouts, for example, while traffic will be forced to give way when pedestrians are crossing or waiting at junctions. The new rules also introduce a ‘hierarchy of road users’ based on the level of risk in the event of an accident. So while drivers will need to be more aware of cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, cyclists will in turn need to be more aware of pedestrians and riders.   

While the new Highway Code changes do offer enhanced protection for cyclists, pedestrians and others, the potential for confusion when the rules are applied in varying road conditions across the country is clear. Many motorists feel that cyclists, in particular, already enjoy sufficient rights on the roads, and this may make them less than enthusiastic about learning the new rules. The government has been urged to launch a public awareness campaign, as there seems little doubt that all road users are going to take time to adapt to the new regime and face new scenarios and responsibilities on the road in the meantime:

Our firm has particular expertise in claiming compensation for injured cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. We offer a free no obligation quick case assessment, followed by a no win no fee claims service:

Space, The Universe and Everything

Next month, Liverpool Cathedral will come to life after dark as it hosts a breathtaking new immersive art installation, ‘Space, The Universe and Everything’, allowing visitors to travel through space, light and time, while pondering our relationship with planet Earth and beyond.

Every evening in late February, the Cathedral’s stunning Gothic interior will be transformed into the canvas for an extraordinary display of lights, bespoke music and artwork projections. During this spectacular son-et-lumière performance, visitors will walk through the architectural grandeur of the Cathedral, enjoying a unique immersive art experience and opportunity to explore space and the universe without leaving the inside of the building.

Space, The Universe and Everything is the work of the award-winning artistic collaboration, Luxmuralis, made up of sculptor Peter Walker and composer David Harper. They are the team behind the previous awe-inspiring art installations ‘Angel Wings’ and ‘Peace Doves’ at Liverpool Cathedral.    

Space, The Universe and Everything will take place every evening from Friday 18th to Sunday 27th February, with time slots available from 6pm to 8pm (the experience is expected to take around 40 minutes). Tickets are sold at 15 minute intervals and need to be booked in advance. You can find out more and book tickets on Liverpool Cathedral’s website:

Aquarium at World Museum Revamp

The Aquarium at Liverpool’s renowned World Museum has recently been revamped with bigger tanks, new species, immersive projections and even an octopus called Polpo. Visitors can get up close with Polpo and other sea creatures from all around the world, including hermit crabs, starfish, terrapins and wrasses (brightly-coloured marine fish) from Liverpool’s Irish Sea coast. The terrapins are rescued pets, and can be seen immersed in water through the Aquarium’s viewing bubbles, which allow smaller visitors to get a special close-up view.

New immersive projections aim to help younger visitors, in particular, learn about the underwater world and the conservation efforts that are underway to protect our seas. Visitors will discover more about where sea animals live and how they, and underwater biodiversity in general, can be protected and preserved. The Aquarium uses the latest technology to promote biodiversity themes and priorities, adding an educational angle to a fun day out for families.   

Apart from meeting the Aquarium’s firm favourites including ‘Nemo’ fish, rays and ‘smiling’ sharks, families can also find out what a day of rock pooling on the British shoreline might uncover. World Museum’s expert staff are always on hand to answer questions and help enhance the visitor’s experience in this aquatic world of wonder. The Aquarium at World Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm and entry is free. Find out more on National Museums Liverpool’s website:

Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice Support

At the start of 2022, we’d like to once again highlight the work of Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Liverpool, a charity providing various services, including 24 hour support, for families of babies with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. The Hospice costs £1.6 million to run every year, and relies on donations from the local community and businesses for 80% of its funding.

The respite care provided by Zoë’s Place involves packages tailored to the individual needs of the child and the carers. Support is allocated based on an assessment and usually involves a minimum stay of two nights per month at the Hospice, during which time the baby will be cared for by a Registered Nurse & Senior Care Assistant and provided with services by a Play Leader, Art Therapist and Physiotherapist. Emergency respite care is also possible following a referral from, for example, a hospital, GP or social services.    

Zoë’s Place works as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside a GP and palliative care consultant to optimise the quality of life of babies with very serious conditions and maintain an effective round-the-clock care service for families. The Hospice provides various forms of family support, including a Facebook group, coffee afternoons, activity days for siblings and bereavement support.

There are various ways to support Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice apart from making a donation, including getting involved in fundraising, volunteering or taking part in outdoor and online events. Bartletts Solicitors is proud to be a long-term corporate supporter of Zoë’s Place, and would like to send the Hospice and its outstanding staff our very best wishes for 2022. Please consider supporting this vital local charity in whatever way possible: