Crane & Staples support Isabel Hospice and raise over £2700

Crane & Staples is proud to announce that their support of Isabel Hospice Make a Will Week campaign raised over £2700 in donations for the charity.

Erica Pearce-Howard, Samantha Webb, Eileen Ismay and Mandip Sumal met with clients to write their Wills free of charge in return for a donation to the charity and in doing so they and their clients helped support Isabel Hospice’s ongoing work.

Erica Pearce-Howard says “Crane & Staples is always willing and proud to support local charities and was more than happy to take part in the Isabel Hospice Make a Will Week scheme. We were thrilled to learn that we had exceeded last year’s donations as well as enabling people to access our services to write a Will which will give them and their loved ones peace of mind for the future”.

If you were unable to take part in the Write a Will Scheme week but wish to write a Will or discuss other matters please contact the team on 01707 387074

  Erica Pearce-Howard (

Posted in Uncategorized, Wills, Trusts and Probates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Later life planning day at Howard Centre – great feedback

Samantha Webb and Erica Pearce-Howard from Crane & Staples had another successful day at the Howard Centre, helping residents of Welwyn Garden City understand all the benefits of later life planning.  The event is part of a series run by the team, where members of the public are able to ask any questions they have on all aspects of later life planning, care home fees planning and lasting powers of attorney – as well as any other legal questions they may have.

If you missed the event, please feel free to call either Erica or Sam on 01707 387074.

Crane & Staples promote later life planning

Posted in care home fees planning, lasting powers of attorney, Later life planning | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Did you know…? If not, visit us at the Howard Centre on 5th April



Even a joint bank account can be frozen if one of the account holders lacks capacity and there is no EPA/LPA in place.

It is estimated that by 2021 more than 1 million people in the UK will have Dementia

80% of people living in care homes have some form of Dementia or severe memory problems.

Every hour 1 person in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s

One person in every 500 has Parkinson’s – that’s about 127,000 in the UK alone.

People over 50 are most at risk but 1 in 20 under the age of 40 is diagnosed with Parkinson’s

Selling your home to pay for care is not the only option – there are other ways that it may be possible to protect your home for your loved ones.

It’s not “an age thing” – a stroke, accident or brain injury can lead to loss of capacity.


 Talk to us!

 We at Crane & Staples can advise you on the best way to protect your assets for the future by exploring the current options available and offering the right advice for your circumstances.


 To discuss long term care planning options – please telephone us on 01707 387074 or email either:

Samantha Webb                          Erica Pearce-Howard   or

Posted in quality legal advice, Uncategorized, Wills, Trusts and Probates | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finalists for Inspiring Herts Awards 2014!

We were delighted to hear that we’d reached the finals of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Inspiring Herts awards for 2014!

Having entered two categories – Excellence in People Development and Small to Medium Business of the Year it was great news to hear that we are finalists in both.

Here’s what Herts Chamber had to say:  The Inspiring Hertfordshire 2014 Awards, launched to celebrate success and achievement and boost business confidence in Hertfordshire, has yet again had a fantastic response with a record number of entries

Chamber Chairman, Neville Reyner CBE DL, said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the response to these awards. The quality of the entries was most impressive and presented an almost impossible challenge for the judges. My thanks to all that entered, our hard pressed judges and our sponsors without whose support these awards would not be possible. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all who entered and, in particular, to those who were shortlisted.’

Crane & Staples Finalist Inspiring Herts 2014 

Crane & Staples finalist Inspiring Herts 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elder care planning? Come see us at the Howard Centre on Sat 5th April

Are you concerned about paying care home fees?

Do you worry that you will have to sell your or your parents home to pay for care?

Who will manage your or your parents affairs if you or they cannot do so?

There are ways that we can help!

Samantha Webb and Erica Pearce-Howard of the Private Client Department at Crane & Staples will be at the Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City on Saturday 5th April to answer any questions or concerns you may have, be it Powers of Attorney, Inheritance Tax, Care Home fees or asset protection.

They would be pleased to make an appointment to discuss your concerns in more detail and advise you of the options available and explain ways of planning for your and your loved ones’ futures.

Please contact:

Samantha Webb


Tel: 01707 387074


Erica Pearce-Howard


Tel: 01707 387074

Posted in quality legal advice, Uncategorized, Wills, Trusts and Probates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make a Will Week – once again supporting Isabel Hospice

Crane & Staples are pleased to support the Isabel Hospice Make a Will Week scheme from the 10th-14th March. We hope for another very successful year for the hospice. If you weren’t able to make an appointment during this time don’t forget to keep your Wills under review and our team are always happy to speak and meet with you to discuss making or updating your Will.

Posted in Uncategorized, Wills, Trusts and Probates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dragons Den require Landlord and Tenant Advice

A recent episode of Dragons Den saw applicants from Jollyday Luxury Campsite fail to secure funding for their established ‘glamping business’ as a result of possible misinformation regarding their business lease.

The glamping enthusiasts were impressing the dragons with their business proposals but failed to convince them that their investment would reap reward on a long term basis.  In particular, Peter Jones was concerned that they had only secured a 15 year lease of premises upon which the new luxury lodges would be located, meaning that potentially their occupation could be terminated after the end of that 15 year period.

It was suggested that a 40 year lease would have been more appropriate however, this is of course of a much higher risk and almost unheard of particularly in recent markets.

However, the business owners could (and perhaps have!) secure their occupation beyond the initial 15 year period provided that the benefit of the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 was not excluded when they originally took the Lease.  Subject to certain exceptions, the LTA 1954 gives business owners the automatic right to renew their lease at the end of the term and therefore continue their business from premises within which they have often generated goodwill.

If you need any advice or assistance in relation to Landlord & Tenant matters please contact Bonnie Twiggs on 01707 387072.




Posted in Commercial Property | Leave a comment

Manorial Rights and Wrongs

During the latter months of 2013 some local residents received a notification from HM Land Registry that the Marquess of Salisbury had applied to enter a unilateral notice to register pre-existing ownership rights over their properties. Naturally, this caused fear, distress and anger amongst the residents.

It is my guess that the following 5 questions are amongst the most common concerns for people affected by these rights.

1) What exactly are Manorial Rights?

Manorial Rights are very old interests which belonged to a Lord of the Manor and, in some cases, were kept by the Lord even when his land was sold. The rights enable a Lord of the Manor to exercise sporting rights, rights to mines and minerals under the land, rights to hunt, shoot and fish, and rights to hold fairs and markets.

2) Why did we not know about them?

Prior to the Land Registration Act 2002, there were some interests which could affect (bind) an owner’s property that were very difficult to find out about. They were not visible on the property’s title register nor was there any readily-available information to check for their existence. Manorial Rights are an example of these and they were collectively known as ‘overriding interests’. Importantly, ‘overriding interests’ did not need to be registered in order to remain in existence.

3) Why have they suddenly come to light?

The Land Registration Act 2002 changed the law. It gave owners of ‘overriding interests’ (such as the Marquess of Salisbury) 11 years (until 13th October 2013) within which to register their interest with HM Land Registry. Failure to register the interest resulted in it being lost forever. So, the interests were registered with HM Land Registry, who in turn notified the owners of the affected properties (e.g. the local residents). HM Land Registry is likely to notify the Freehold owner of a property, not the Leasehold owner. If you only own the Leasehold of your property I suggest you contact the Freeholder to find out whether he / she / they have received any notification(s).

4) Will I be able to sell my property?

There is no reason why, as the owner of your property, you will not be able to sell as and when you wish. You may find that some potential buyers are put-off from buying your property once they become aware of the Manorial Rights. However, this could also be the case with a property in a flood-risk area, or where a Tree Preservation Order is in existence, for example. In my experience, buyers have different levels of cautiousness when it comes to making a purchase and it is very much down to the individual.

5) Can anything be done to remove them?

If you receive a notification from HM Land Registry the first thing you must do is read the Explanatory Notes (part of the notification) very carefully as these provide key information. You will normally have three options. You can:

1. Do nothing and leave the unilateral notice on the title register.

2. Contact the Beneficiary of the interest (details will be on HM Land Registry’s notice) and ask them to withdraw it.

3. Submit a form UN4 to HM Land Registry to apply to have the unilateral notice cancelled. We could do this on your behalf and also handle any subsequent communications on your behalf should you wish to pursue a rejected UN4 application

We would be happy to assist you by checking your title deeds or by submitting a form UN4 on your behalf. For more information, please contact Tim Wild on 01707 329333 or

Posted in Residential Property | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why employers need a road map

January is the time for new beginnings, taking stock and planning ahead.  Employment law continually changes, both with new legislation coming into force and case law constantly being created by the Tribunals and Courts.  Now is the time to consider if all your policies and procedures are in place, particularly given the reforms that have been made to employment law in the last few months.

Employment is a fundamentally important area of law for business clients, as well as employees who find themselves made redundant. It is constantly changing and many employers struggle to keep up with their obligations and responsibilities.  I believe that clients want solutions to their problems, not further complications.  What we try and do is give employers a “road map” to help them navigate the employment road from beginning to end with as little fuss as possible.  The key is being prepared in the first place.

My approach is to provide sensible legal advice in plain English to employers to try and avoid problems occurring in the first place. It is a legal requirement that every employee should be given a written statement of his or her terms and conditions of employment, within eight weeks of starting work. Better still, a business should offer written contracts that go beyond the basic terms and conditions to give themselves more flexibility over their staff. I can advise on contracts of employment and other key documents that can be required, such as staff handbooks and consultancy agreements.

Many employers also worry about employees misusing social media at work or taking confidential information with them (such as client and supplier lists) when they move on.  We can help with serious issues like this or more mundane, but often equally important issues like parental leave, maternity/paternity issues and so on.

At the other end of the employment relationship we can help you navigate disciplinary/grievance processes and also redundancy situations. We can draft settlement agreements to resolve employment disputes and can also advise individual employees who have been handed them by their employers, provided there is no conflict in us acting.  In my experience most people, be they corporate clients or individuals, want to avoid litigation and mediation can be a good way of avoiding a protracted and expensive court dispute.

From this Spring, ACAS will offer Early Conciliation in every dispute heading to an Employment Tribunal. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of claims that get issued but for those that do, we can provide representation throughout the whole process from drafting the ET1 to the final hearing and all points along the way.

We’re local, based in Welwyn Garden City town centre with good parking nearby. If you have an employment law issue please get in touch to see how we can help.

Michael Scutt of Crane & Staples - employment law expert


Posted in Employment Law | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attorney General’s Social Media warning

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has announced advisory notes will be published to help prevent social media users from committing a contempt of court. This advice will be made available via the website and the Twitter feed of the Attorney General’s Office, @AGO_UK.

The Independent online (4.12.2013) reported: “The move represents a concerted effort by the Government to make the online world – described by Lord Justice Leveson last year as “a megaphone for gossip” that was governed by “mob rule” – aware of the rules that govern traditional media. In particular senior lawyers fear that the explosion in social media use threatens the chances of defendants in prominent cases receiving a fair trial.”

Mr Grieve said: “I hope that by making this information available to the public at large, we can help stop people from inadvertently breaking the law and make sure cases are tried on the evidence, not what people have found online.”

Posted in Litigation, Employment and Personal Injury | Leave a comment