Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in the Worcester News, 24th February 2015.

Q. My husband was recently declared bankrupt and, since all his assets including bank accounts were in his sole name, they have been seized by the trustee. We have been married for over 50 years, so should I not be entitled to a share of his assets as I would be on divorce?

A.  Perhaps morally you should be, but I’m afraid that by law you aren’t because you do not count as a creditor. You don’t mention your home.  If it is wholly or partly owned by your husband then the trustee in bankruptcy will want to realise his share, which may well mean that the house has to be sold. There are procedures under which this sale can be delayed when members of the bankrupt’s family are living in the house. This can get quite complicated so I suggest you take advice from a solicitor


Q. My rent is reviewed every two years. In April 2012 I received a letter notifying me of a £25 a month rent increase, but they forgot to take this amount from my bank account. I have just received an invoice for £600 for the amount not collected. Do I have to pay it? I’m told that if I paid rent to a housing association instead of to a private landlord they would only be able to claim three months’ extra rent.

A. Since you were notified about the increase two years ago I think you will have to pay the arrears, although you could offer to do so in affordable instalments. Your landlord does have to comply with certain rules in order to inform you of increases, but there are unlikely to be any particular rules regarding collection. The obligation is on you to pay rather than your landlord to collect.


Q. I am a 70-year-old widower. My three sons are the named beneficiaries of my will. One of them has now moved to an address in London different to the one recorded in my will. Must I make an official alteration to my will to allow for this?

A. No. As long as the son can be found and identified after your death it’s not necessary to keep the address details up to date. You could leave a copy of his new address with your will if you thought it would be helpful, but your other two sons should be able to locate their brother as and when required.


For further information on any of the issues raised, please contact Fahmida Ismail on 0121 698 2200 or fill in our online enquiry form.




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