Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News on 3rd March 2015.

Q. My cousin died 18 months ago. I was his last remaining relative, though he had a partner he’d lived with for 30 years. She has now died. They had £27,000 of his money in a joint bank account, which never went to probate when my cousin died. Was my cousin’s partner entitled to this money, and if not can I claim it?

A. It depends on the nature of the account. If they opened it together then the money may have passed to your cousin’s partner by survivorship when your cousin died. But money in joint accounts isn’t necessarily owned jointly. The partner would certainly have had a claim on it under the Law Reform (Succession) Act. But you may be able to claim it now under the intestacy rules on the basis that it actually belonged to your cousin. See a solicitor.


Q. I started working two days a week as a casual for a firm 18 months ago. When I started they told me they don’t pay holiday pay to casuals, but I have been told they should. Is this true?

A. Yes it is. Almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ holiday (inclusive of bank and public holidays) a year, paid at their normal rate. If for example you are paid £100 net for your two days’ work, you should be paid £100 net when you take a week’s holiday. It’s unlawful to treat part-timers differently to full-time staff. Discuss this with your employer. Depending on when the firm’s leave year starts, it’s possible you can catch up on some of your “lost” holiday. For more assistance ring the ACAS helpline on 08457 474747 or see a solicitor.


Q. I am a member of a trade union, which provides me access to a firm of solicitors as a benefit of membership. In the past I have always paid extra for legal expenses cover with my motor insurance policy. Do I need this, or will my trade union membership provide me with the same cover?

A. You should obviously check for yourself exactly what your union membership provides. The union’s website shows their service “covers any accident which happens to you and your family outside the workplace, including road traffic accidents”. However this is provided by the union’s “personal injury service”. Does this mean they will only act for you in cases where you have been injured? You need to look at the fine print not only of what you are being offered by your union, but also by your motor insurers. 


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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