Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News.

Q. For the last 10 years I have received a basic salary of £32,000 plus a ‘market supplement’ of £8000. I’ve always been aware that the market supplement could go up or down, but it’s always remained the same. However, my employer wants to reduce the supplement by £1000. Can they do this or is the £8000 now accepted practice?

A. Presumably the ‘market supplement’ is based on a set of figures. If your employment contract refers to the supplement going up or down it will surely explain the circumstances in which this might happen. Look at your contract carefully and make sure your employers are complying with its terms. It very much depends on what is in your contract and what could be considered to have become custom and practice.


Q. I live with my elderly parents who recently bought a smaller house and made me a joint tenant. Should we become tenants in common so that my inheritance potential is protected by their nil rate band trust wills? They are planning to give me £200,000 to buy a home of my own. My parents’ total estate is worth about £500,000.

A. Your parents can currently leave £650,000 free of inheritance tax, so as things stand at present there will be no inheritance tax to pay. If you buy a home of your own you will be potentially liable to pay capital gains tax on any increase in value to the share of your parents’ home. Whereas if your parents own their property outright and leave it to you in their wills there will be no tax to pay. Discuss this in detail with your solicitor.


Q. A neighbour has accused me of reversing into her car which I didn’t and has managed to get in touch with my insurance company and made a fraudulent claim. How can I put a stop to this?

A. I take it your insurance company has contacted you about this claim. Tell your insurers that you strongly deny liability and explain why. Also, make it clear to them that you don’t want to prejudice your ‘no claims bonus’ by settling on the basis of nuisance value. If you feel your neighbour is being dishonest, consider reporting her to the police as she would appear to be attempting to obtain money by deception. Finally, remember evidence is important: take photos of your car if it’s damage free and keep it available for a vehicle inspection if necessary.


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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