Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in the Worcester News on 14th April 2015.

Q. My husband is suffering from dementia. I have found out that my stepson has got his father to make a will and give him a power of attorney. My stepson has threatened to get me out of the house, saying it’s his inheritance. Even worse, my husband is treating me like a stranger.

A. You need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian. A Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with them. As part of the registration process, there is a statutory waiting period of six weeks to allow objections to be raised.  You may be able to challenge the power of attorney (and the will) on the grounds that your husband lacked the mental capacity. You should see a solicitor about this.


Q. I have worked as a tipper truck driver for four years. I receive £100 a day, of which £60 is basic pay and £40 is a bonus. When I take my holidays and bank holidays they only pay me £60 a day. Can my boss legally pay me less for holiday pay?

A. It depends what the bonus payment relates to. Non-contractual or profit sharing bonuses or commission payments are not normally taken into account when determining pay for the purpose of your statutory holiday entitlement. However it sounds like these daily top-up payments may not be true bonus payments if they relate specifically to your week’s work, in which case they should be included in calculations for holiday pay purposes. Discuss this (and the possibility of back pay) with your employer and if necessary take more detailed advice.


Q. I want to have the back of my house painted, but a relative tells me that I must get someone in who has public liability insurance in case they get injured while working – otherwise I could be liable for a hefty bill for compensation. Is this correct?

A. Virtually all private employers must by law take out insurance which covers them against claims arising for their legal liability for injury to employees. This is not the same as public liability insurance, which is not compulsory, and which insures the risk of claims for accident or injury to members of the public. You as the householder have a duty to ensure your premises are safe for visitors (including painters), and your domestic insurance is likely to cover you for this. But you are not responsible for a painter’s safety while he is up a ladder.


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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