Articles & Publications

When is a good time to create an Enduring Power of Attorney?

The need for creating an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) has become an important topic of conversation for many people, particularly those who are elderly and those suffering from a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimers. An Enduring Power of Attorney has become very popular in recent years given that the Department of Health has projected that the number of people in Ireland with Dementia will nearly treble in the next 30 years from 55,000 to more than 152,000.

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FLIGHT OF THE VULTURE FUND!

Much like the first swallow indicating the arrival of Spring the move by the US Vulture Fund, Tanager, to discount its mortgage loan book by 40% to facilitate quick sales or re-mortgages may very well be the first sign of the Vulture Funds departure to foreign fields.

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Harmonisation of Succession Law

On the 17th of August 2015 the EU introduced a regulation, Regulation 650/2012, in an attempt to harmonise European Succession Law. Ireland, along with the UK and Denmark, opted out of the new succession regulations because it was felt that they would have "interfered to an unacceptable extent with the manner in which Estates are administered in this jurisdiction".

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Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was enacted in December 2015 and is expected to come into operation in 2016. The Act repeals the Lunacy Act 1871 and Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811. It should be a cause of considerable embarrassment to our Legislators that it is only now getting around to repealing such archaic legislation which has dictated for way too long how we should treat our fellow citizens. The repealed legislation had facilitated a mindset within the legal system and within Society in general and will allow due respect and regard to be had for the rights of persons with disabilities.

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Mahon Sweeney receives Gold Standard Q6000 Quality Assurance Mark

Mahon Sweeney, have been awarded the prestigious Q6000 Quality Assurance Mark for Solicitors. Very few firms of Solicitors in Connaught have been awarded the Gold Standard. The Q6000 was awarded for `exceptional levels of client management`.

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To buy or to Lease?

This may seem a very simple question but in many instances business owners should give greater consideration to it.

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E-Smoking in the workplace

We are all well accustomed to the smoking ban brought in by then Health Minister, Micheal Martin, a number of years ago. It is well engrained and is by and large accepted by Society in general. Essentially, people accept that it is not legally permissible or socially acceptable to smoke in work places, pubs, cinemas and many other social settings. People readily accept the success of its introduction.

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Making a Will

You have worked hard all your life building up your farm and/or business and /or saving to provide for yourself and maybe a family. Have you thought about what would happen in the awful event that you met with a fatal accident and the one thing you had not done was make your will? If you have not made a will and there are property and assets in your sole name, then the law sets out how your property is to be passed on. If you are married but have no children, then your spouse gets everything. If there is a spouse and children, then your spouse in entitled to two thirds and your children to one third in equal shares between them. You may have intended leaving everything to your spouse, but now the children have a legal entitlement to a one third share. This will cause difficulties where any of the children are under 18 or all the children cannot agree as to what should happen to their one third share. If you want to be in charge of what happens to any assets which are in your sole name after your death, then you must make a will.

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New Year Resolutions and E-Smoking

Every year a significant number of smokers try to kick the habit. E-smoking is increasingly being seen as a safer alternative. It would seem that the health experts and scientists are not in agreement over the effects of e-smoking. No one can conclusively say that e-smoking is definitely unhealthy for the person smoking/vaping or for people in the vicinity of the smoker. There seems, however, to be a consensus that e-smoking is definitely less harmful than smoking of conventional cigarettes.

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Personal Injury Claims and Reimbursement to the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

Under the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013 the Social Welfare Department can reclaim from Personal Injury claims the value of certain illness related Social Welfare payments made to injured Claimants which previously were not recoverable.

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Land Transfers and Stamp Duty Relief - THE END IS NIGH!

Stamp Duty on land has come down considerably in recent years from a high of 9% to the current rate of 2%. In addition to the flat rate, there is a 50% reduction of the Stamp Duty payable where the parties are related, such as Father and Son/Mother and Daughter. Accordingly, if the Stamp Duty on a particular transaction was say 2,000.00 euro, if the transaction was a transfer between related parties the Stamp Duty payable would in fact be 1,000.00 euro. This is a tax relief called Consanguinity Relief. Consanguinity Relief i.e. the Special Stamp Duty relief between related parties was ended in respect of dwelling-houses on the 31st December 2012 but it continues to be available in respect of transfers of land. However, this relief is due to end on 31st December 2014. Accordingly, to avail of the 50 percent reduction in Stamp Duty in respect of transfers of land between related parties, such transfers should be completed on or before 31st December 2014.

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New Building Control Regulations and Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations.

Anyone doing construction work, whether it is an extension or a new build must bear in mind the new responsibilities potentially imposed on them, the home owners, under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013.

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NPPR It Hasn't Gone Away!!

The Non-Principal Private Residence Charge (NPPR Charge) was introduced in 2009. At the time there was not that much of an uproar about the Charge. It was for a fixed sum of 200.00 per annum per property and in the minds of the general public it only affected people with 'second homes'. The notion that it was a second home Charge was misplaced as matters unfolded.

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I Give Devise and Be-Tweet

I am sure there are many people (myself included) who need not concern themselves about their digital legacy. There are however, a significant cohort of the population who have a digital legacy. The question of what happens to our digital legacy came to mind when I was discussing with a couple of colleagues whether or not we should be asking clients for their passwords and such other matters when it is that they are preparing their Will or whether or not we should be advising them to have their passwords kept in a sealed envelope with their Will.

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Commission and Holiday Pay

There was an interesting case of Lough v British Gas Trading Limited heard by the European Court of Justice which may affect any employer or employee where a significant portion of the employees salary is based on commission. The preliminary non-binding opinion of the Advocate essentially found that any pay 'intrinsically linked' to performance of the workers job (which in this instance related to commission) should be considered as basic pay for the purposes of determining an employees holiday pay entitlement.

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Advanced Healthcare Directives

A national debate has commenced on Advanced Healthcare Directives ('Directives') also known as Living Wills. There had previously been a private members bill introduced to the Dail on such Directives. The Department of Health has now commenced a consultation process and has also published a draft general scheme which presumably shall be incorporated into the intended legislation entitled, Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.

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Tax Incentive for Home Improvements

The Government has introduced a scheme whereby 'qualifying expenditure' incurred on works carried out to the principal private residence attracts a tax credit. The work has to have attracted 13.5% VAT and the value of the tax credit is 13.5% of the qualifying expenditure. The credit is claimed over the two years following the carrying out of the work.

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Local Property Tax

It would seem that the confusion regarding Local Property Tax continues. The liability date for Local Property Tax for 2014 is the 1st of November 2013. Therefore if you (or a client) owns property on the 1st of November 2013 then you will be liable to pay the Local Property Tax on it in 2014. If you (or the client) is selling the property you will have to pay your Local Property Tax for 2014 before you complete. In the normal course this would be dealt with by way of a condition in the Sales Contract seeking to make the Purchaser liable to reimburse the Vendor for the tax you or the client has discharged for the property for that period of time which they will occupy it in the relevant period.

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Changes in the Courts Jurisdiction

As and from the 3rd of February 2014 the financial jurisdictional limit of the District Court shall be increased from 6,348.69 euro to 15,000 euro. Consequentially the financial jurisdictional limit of the Circuit Court shall be increased also. It will now deal with all cases from 15,001 euro up to 75,000 euro for all cases with one exception, namely personal injury cases. The jurisdictional limit for personal injury cases is limited to 60,000 euro. What the rationale is for an exception to be made in respect of personal injury case, I do not know. It makes no sense for such a distinction to be made. If the limit for the Circuit Court is 75,000 euro then it should be that limit across the board.

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Symphysiotomy Claims

Symphysiotomy was a procedure carried on in hospitals from the 1940s until the early 1990s. The purpose of the surgery was to ease childbirth by widening the birth canal of a pregnant woman during childbirth. Essentially it involved the widening of the pregnant womans pelvis.It is clear from reported histories this procedure was widely misused and resulted in many women being left with life long problems with mobility, incontinence, chronic pain and depression.

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Personal Insolvency / a new regime

The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (the Act) was finally enacted last December. Before it could become effective the Minister for Justice had to issue Commencement Notices. The Commencement Notices have now issued and the majority of the Act is now in operation as of the 1st of March 2013. I have attempted to set out a brief summary of the effect of the Act.

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Rights of Way?/Is the clock ticking?

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WILLS WEEKS - 22nd - 26th October 2012

Make or update your Will with us during our Wills week and ensure that those you care about are taken care of in a properly prepared Will. In conjunction with "Best Will in the World Week" fees for Wills will not exceed 50 inclusive of VAT and all monies raised will be donated to Western Alzheimer's and the Quad Youth Centre.

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Pension Levy

A new levy of 0.6% shall be charged on the value of assets in Private Pension Plans. The purpose of the levy is to fund the Governments Jobs Initiative. The levy is 0.6% and shall apply for four years as currently constituted.

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APARTMENT OWNERS TAKE NOTE

The Muti-Unit Developments Act, 2011 was signed into law on the 24th of January 2011 and has altered significantly how Management Companies run and operates blocks of Apartments, Housing Estates and also Commercial Developments where there is a residential aspect. It came into effect on the 1st of April.

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CIVIL PARTNERSHIP ACT 2009 _ CO-HABITING COUPLES

There has been much publicity about the change in law allowing same sex couples to register their partnerships and acquire marriage-like rights but little media attention about the potentially significant new rights and obligations attaching to co-habiting couples.

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CODE OF CONDUCT ON MORTGAGE ARREARS

In February 2010 the Financial Regulator issued an updated Code of Conduct on mortgage arrears to be followed by all financial institutions dealing with Home Mortgages. This article will set out the main points in respect of the updated code of conduct.

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