Digital Assets & Wills

In our modern world which increasingly relies on technology, digital assets are something that people who use a computer, tablet or smartphone certainly have. While digital assets may not necessarily have a monetary value, they definitely have sentimental value. For example, photographs and videos create memories which makes them irreplaceable and priceless. This is why it is so important for people to understand what will happen to their digital assets and include them in their wills.

While social media accounts, emails and online account details may be treasured even more than physical possessions, very few people understand the importance of access to such information, and digital assets are very often overlooked in wills. The most obvious examples of digital assets are:

  • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
  • Share Trading Accounts
  • Email Accounts
  • Bank Accounts including PayPal
  • Online Gambling Sites
  • Virtual Currency
  • Cloud Storage
  • Content Holders – eBooks, Spotify, iTunes, etc.
  • Online Auction Sites – eBay, Gumtree, etc.
  • Domain Names.

According to the Law Society, the number of people making or updating their wills has skyrocketed during the pandemic. However, in spite of all these efforts, the majority of people still do not have their affairs in order.

The research conducted by the Law Society has found that 93% of those who have a will in place have not included any digital assets in it, and three quarters of people do not know what will happen to their digital assets at all.

Considering your digital assets when making a Will is more important than ever and in the event of death you need to consider putting in place a Will that makes provisions for the management of digital assets and to maintain a log of the digital assets you have.

At GSC Solicitors LLP we are able to advise people on the best way to include both their physical and digital assets in their wills. This is crucial to ensure that people’s estates will be inherited according to their wishes, and their family members will not face any unnecessary difficulties that will cause additional stress to their already grieving families.

To have a quick chat with about adding digital assets to your existing will or even if you do not have one in place, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

專業法律團隊 – 為您籌劃移居英國、投資每一步

香港 BN(O) 簽證政策

英國內政部大臣宣佈英國將為來自香港的英國國民(海外)建立一條自訂移民路線。這項新的香港 BN(O) 簽證政策非常慷慨,沒有施加技能測試或最低收入要求、經濟需求測試或人數上限,並且將允許 BN(O) 簽證持有人在英國居住、工作或學習,提供了一條定居而後獲得公民身份的途徑。

該簽證的有效期最長為 5 年,簽證持有人在英國居住5 年後,只要沒有犯罪行為,在經濟上自給自足,並且遵守簽證條款,便可以申請定居身份;並可以在繼續逗留一年後申請英國國籍。

私人客戶 移民前規劃

如果您正考慮持新的香港 BN(O) 簽證來英國,您務必要瞭解在抵達英國之前、之時和之後適用的個人稅項和法律含義。

我們的私人客戶團隊擅長提供全套私人客戶服務(包括稅收籌劃),當結合我們公司完善的公司和財產部門時,我們能夠為您提供全面的、度身訂造的建議,以確保您有最佳的策略來遷居英國。我們的建議可涵蓋以下範疇:

  • 如何最合理地在英國置業
  • 建立境內和境外信託以保全財富
  • 繼任計劃,以協助確保以最有效的方式處理各個轄區的資產
  • 針對所得稅和資本利得稅的居留和匯款計劃
  • 如何安排在英國的投資
  • 多司法管轄區遺囑和授權書
在英國的房地產投資 商業或住宅

對於世界各地的房地產投資者而言,英國一直以來都是最理想的目的地。無論您是想購買英國房地產自用還是投資,我們的房地產律師都能為您提供幫助。我們是一家採用現代和商業方法來遵守財產法但保留傳統價值的公司。我們確保收費人始終在最適當的層面,以最經濟高效率的方式處理您的事務,並具備適當的資歷來確保您獲得應得的服務。

商業地產

我們的客戶包括領先的房地產所有者、機構和私人投資者、開發商和建築商、銀行和其他金融機構、酒店經營者、私人業主、企業家、加盟商、具有綜合體職業租約的藍籌租戶、休閒和醫療保健物業所有者、初創企業、在英國或海外的老牌企業租戶和高淨值人士。

他們每個人都重視我們在各種房地產交易領域的卓著市場聲譽和經驗。

我們為所有層面的財產事務提供建議,並在過去十年中為一些最引人注目的、最前沿的房東和租戶案件提供法律服務,服務案例包括具有開創性的 Daejan Investments Limited Benson 及其他人員的案件裁決,這可能是近年來法院審理的最重要房東和租戶案件,EMI Group Ltd O & H Q1 Ltd

和 GSC 的房地產團隊討論:

住宅物業

GSC 的住宅物業律師處理整個英格蘭和威爾斯的高價值物業轉讓,包括皇室物業和其他歷史遺產。我們瞭解處理此類財產時可能會遇到的複雜問題,並且我們知道,只有以與您的稅務、家庭和私人財富管理無縫配合的方式來管理產權轉讓,才能最好地滿足您的最大利益。

這就是從未單獨與 GSC 進行住宅轉售的原因。與我們聯絡,您會發現您的財產律師與我們的私人客戶團隊合作,能夠確保您的所有利益都得到認真考慮和保護。

我們的財產律師可以在住宅物業法的所有方面提供協助,包括處置或獲得永久業權和租賃權、延期租賃、權利取得和優先購買權。

Carey 是私人財富團隊的律師。

她在和高淨值人士打交道方面有著豐富的經驗,涉及複雜的移民和財富規劃事務。她還為初創企業和公司業務提供法律服務,處理商業移民和聘僱問題。Carey 在迄今為止的所有移民申請中的成功率為100%。

她還是GSC大中華地區負責人,負責接待講中文的客戶,工作涉及移民、私人客戶、公司商業、財產和知識財產權等方面。她能操流利中文和英語。

如果您和/或您的企業打算遷入英國,請確保第一個聯絡 Carey。Carey期待盡心為您一一籌劃安排。

Carey Xu,律師

電話:+44(020) 7822 2231

電子郵件:cxu@gscsolicitors.com

網址:www.gscsolicitors.com

Hong Kong BN(O) visa policy

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has announced that the UK will create a bespoke immigration route for British Nationals (Overseas) from Hong Kong (“BN(O)”).  This new Hong Kong BN(O) visa policy is a very generous one without imposing skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers and will allow BN(O) holders to reside and work or study in the UK, with a pathway to settlement and then citizenship.

The visa will be valid for up to 5 years, and thereafter, provided that the visa holders have stayed free of criminality, have supported themselves financially and otherwise complied with the terms of the visa, they will be able to apply for settled status; and they may apply for UK citizenship after a further year of stay.

Private Client – Pre-Migration Planning

If you are considering coming to the UK under the new Hong Kong BN(O) visa, it is important that you understand the personal tax and legal implications that apply prior to, on and after your arrival in the UK.

Our Private Client team is adept at advising on the full suite of private client services (including tax planning) and when combined with our firm’s well-established corporate and property departments, we are able to provide you with holistic, tailored advice to make sure that you have the best strategy to relocate to the UK. Our advice may include, for example:

  • How best to structure purchase of UK real estate
  • Setting up onshore and offshore trusts for wealth preservation
  • Succession planning to help ensure assets in various jurisdictions are dealt with in the most efficient way
  • Residence and remittance planning for Income tax and Capital Gain tax purpose
  • How to structure investments into the UK
  • Multiple jurisdictional Wills and Powers of Attorney
Property investment in the UK – commercial or residential

The UK is a long-established favourite for property investors all over the world. Whether you are thinking of purchasing UK properties for yourself or for investment purpose, our Real Estate lawyers will be able to assist you. We are a firm that takes a modern and commercial approach to property law but retains traditional values.  We ensure that your matter will always be dealt with in a cost-effective way by a fee earner at the most appropriate level with appropriate seniority to make sure you receive the service you deserve.

Commercial Property

Our clients range from leading property owners and institutional and private investors to developers and builders, banks and financial institutions, hoteliers, private landlords, entrepreneurs, franchisees, blue chip tenants with complex occupational leases, leisure and healthcare property owners, start-up businesses, established business occupiers and high net-worth individuals, UK-based or off-shore.

Each of them values our significant market reputation and experience in dealing with all types of real estate transaction.

We provide advice on property matters at all levels and have acted on some of the most high profile and cutting edge landlord and tenant cases of the last 10 years including the ground-breaking decision of Daejan Investments Limited v Benson and others and, possibly the most important landlord and tenant case in front of the courts in recent years, EMI Group Ltd v O & H Q1 Ltd.

Talk to GSC’s Real Estate team about:

Residential Property

GSC’s residential property lawyers deal with high value conveyancing throughout England and Wales, including Crown property and other historical estates.  We understand the complex issues that can arise when dealing with such properties and we know that your best interests are only best served when your conveyancing is managed in a way that fits seamlessly with your tax, family and private wealth management.

That is why residential conveyancing with GSC is never carried out in isolation.  Talk to us and you will find your property lawyers working alongside our Private Client team to ensure all your interests are carefully considered and protected.

Our property lawyers can assist in all aspects of residential property law including the disposal or acquisition of freeholds and leaseholds, lease extensions, enfranchisement and rights of first refusal.

Carey Xu, Associate Solicitor

Carey is an Associate Solicitor in the Private Wealth Team.

She has an extensive experience in dealing with High Net Worth individuals with complex immigration and wealth planning matters. She also acted for start-ups and corporate businesses for business immigration and employment issues. Carey has 100% success rate of all the immigration applications represented to date.

She is also the Head of China Desk looking after Chinese speaking clients on a range of immigration, private client, company commercial, property and intellectual property matters.  She is fluent in Chinese and English.

If you and/or your business is thinking to relocate to the U.K., please ensure to make Carey as your first port of call.

GSC Solicitors LLP

T: +44(020) 7822 222

E: cxu@gscsolicitors.com

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Online court hearings – How to prepare yourself?

As we all know, courts also had to move to online platforms allowing hearings to still take place in the time of the pandemic.

However, as it is a new way for both, courts and those attending hearings in any other relevant capacity, how does one prepare themselves for an online hearing?

In today’s video under The GSC Academy digital series, GSC’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution expert Mark Richardson provides you with a step-by-step guide how to prepare yourself in the best way, should you find yourself in the situation when you’d need to attend an online court hearing:

 

For further questions please contact Mark Richardson directly on mrichardson@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2240.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Capital Gains Tax Review: Clawback Proposals

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), an independent adviser to the Government, has been asked by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to review Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to identify any potential administrative and technical issues and need for reform.

It is inevitable that taxes will have to rise to meet the cost of supporting the British economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, and this review is likely to use CGT as a way of increasing revenue for the Government.

We expect the report, to be released in early 2021, to make the following recommendations:

  1. to change the CGT rates to align them with Income Tax rates
  2. to reduce the number of CGT rates, and the extent to which liabilities depend on the level of income of the taxpayers
  3. to consider reducing the Annual Exempt Amount
  4. to remove the capital gains uplift on death if a relief or exemption from Inheritance Tax is applicable, and to treat the recipient as acquiring the deceased’s assets at the historic base cost
  5. to replace the Business Asset Disposal Relief with a relief more focused on retirement
  6. to remove relief for investors selling shares in unlisted companies if they have owned them for a minimum of three years.

Whilst the Government has commissioned the report, it is not obligated to accept its findings but, at some point, it will have to turn its attention to how to cover the cost of the pandemic.

We expect that clients will be considering accelerating their restructuring or exit strategy in preparation of the increase in tax rates in the near future.

If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

We continue supporting you

Following the UK Government’s announcement on Saturday evening regarding the planned national lockdown in England, that came into force today, Thursday 5th November 2020, we would like to take this opportunity to provide reassurance to all our clients of our continued support during this difficult time.

As was the case during the initial lockdown back in March, we can confirm that it is very much business as usual for GSC Solicitors LLP.  Our team will continue to be available to support you with your enquiries either by phone 0207 822 2222 or email: hello@gscsolicitors.com

Our priority remains the best interests of our clients and in particular the concerns that clients will understandably have regarding their staff and businesses. As per usual we are available to speak to clients about the challenges they are facing as well as to provide pragmatic advice on any specific concerns whether it is in relation to managing staff, dealing with cancelled contracts, managing supplier distress, dealing with tax concerns or cybersecurity issues.

We will continue to comply with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 to ensure the safety of our staff. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me personally or any of your usual contacts here at GSC.

On behalf of all of us at GSC we are wishing you and your loved ones to stay well.

Kind regards,

GSC Solicitors LLP

Legal guidance for you and our business – GSC Newsletter Autumn 2020

Here is our Autumn edition 2020 of GSC Newsletter that offers a number of useful and practical guidance to businesses and individuals to enable them operate successfully in the current climate.

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletters please send a confirmation email to: contact@gscsolicitors.com

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

Summarising the new Job Support Scheme

On 31 October this year, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will end.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that from 1 November it will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme. The headlines relating to the Job Support Scheme are:

  • It will apply to employees who work at least 33% of their normal hours.
  • For the hours not worked by the individual, the government and the employer will each pay the employee one third of the employee’s equivalent salary for that unworked time.
  • The level of contribution by the government for each employee will be capped at £697.92 per month.
  • To qualify, an employee must have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020.
  • Employers will be able to move employees on and off the Job Support Scheme.
  • Employees are not required to consistently work the same hours, but to qualify must work the same hours for at least seven days at a time.
  • The employer must agree any changes to working arrangements with the employee and notify the employee of the changes in writing (and any such agreement must be made available to HMRC on request).
  • An employer does not need to have been part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to participate in the Job Support Scheme.
  • It is currently planned that the Job Support Scheme will run for six months.

The law in this article is accurate as of 24 September 2020.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at dnathan@gscsolicitors.com or on 020 7822 2247.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

The perils of relying on passing off – Why you should register your brand name and logos

Many businesses in the UK operate successfully without the benefit of a registered trade mark to protect their brand name or logo.

It may be that they feel that their brand is too descriptive to be registered as a trade mark, the brand may still be in the process of development or it may simply be that registering a trade mark is one item on a long list that the business has not had time to address yet.

These businesses are still able to protect their brand in the UK using the common law, this is known as “Passing Off”. The right to bring an action for Passing Off does not require any registration and arises once a business has started to build up a reputation.

However, while it can be tempting for businesses to rely on Passing Off, registering a trade mark should generally be the preferable approach for the following reasons.

Immediate protection

Once a trade mark is registered, it will give the owner immediate protection over that mark, regardless of whether it has been used in the past or not and whether or. Although the mark could be revoked in the future if the mark is not used, in the UK there is an initial period of five years where the mark can not be challenged on this basis.

Whilst a Passing Off claim can be made without the need for registration, the brand owner will need to show that the name or logo has been used and that goodwill in the business has been built up. It follows that the protection afforded by Passing Off for a fledgling business will be more limited than that conferred by a registered trade mark.

Identification of potential conflicts

The application process for a trade mark will usually involve searches of the trade mark registry by both, the relevant Intellectual Property Office and by any professional firm that you use.

Applying for a trade mark can identify existing trade marks which may reduce the strength of your brand or even lead to litigation if any of those owners challenge not only your application but also your use of name or logo.

So the initial steps of a trade mark registration can assist in evaluating the benefits of using a particular name or logo.  The prospect of potentially re-branding at an early stage may not seem appealing, but it is much easier at the genesis of a business when there is limited value in that brand (and limited expenditure on the name and logo).

The alternative could be a costly dispute in the future and the prospect of losing the ability to use the brand that you have developed.

Alerting other parties to your rights

By registering a trade mark, that mark will appear on the relevant register. This is a public database which clearly identifies your right to the mark and the date when this arose.

There is no equivalent general database in respect of Passing Off and so rival traders may seek to register a conflicting trade mark without being aware of your pre-existing rights.

Furthermore, if you have a registered trade mark, then you may be notified of any applications for new marks which could affect that mark as the relevant intellectual property office (or anyone tasked with monitoring the register on your behalf) will usually check the registers for any conflicting marks.

Costs of enforcement

If you choose to rely on Passing Off to protect your name and logo, you will not incur the fees required to register a trade mark.  However, you are likely to incur greater fees where you seek to rely on the Passing Off to protect the use of your name or logo (whether by taking action in the courts to stop any interference or by opposing an application for the registration of a rival’s mark in the relevant trade mark registry).

The existence of a registered trade mark can be easily proven by reference to the applicable register.  Without being able to rely on a trade mark, you will instead have to show the following three elements of Passing Off:

  1. Goodwill – that your business has built up a reputation;
  2. Misrepresentation – that the Defendant has misrepresented their goods and services as yours; and
  3. Damage – that the misrepresentation is causing damage to your business, usually by way of diverted sales.
International Expansion

Where you are seeking immediate protection in a number of countries, you can use the international trade mark system to replicate the applications around the world, often before you have even started trading abroad.

While some other countries have similar laws to Passing Off, generally you will need to have traded in each country before being able to rely on those laws.

For further questions please do not hesitate to contact Ross Waldram directly on rwaldram@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2236.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

Residential Possession Claims: Stayed for an additional 4 weeks

The stay on residential possession claims was due to expire on 23 August 2020, with the Courts due to resume cases after a five-month pause.  At the 11th hour it was announced that the ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales will continue for a further four weeks until 20 September 2020.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said he was “supporting renters over winter” amid the ongoing effects of the coronavirus outbreak adding that, when the ban was lifted, the most serious cases of anti-social behaviour, other crimes, and unpaid rent for over a year would be heard first.

The government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction by requiring landlords to provide their tenants with a 6 months’ notice period, except for cases involving other serious issues such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators.

It remains to be seen what status will be given to the three month notices that have been served between March 2020 and whenever the proposed extension to a six month notice period is introduced.  It is also unclear as to whether the six month ‘use it or lose it’ notice period for section 21 notices already served will be extended.

We will provide a full update once further information is released.

For further questions please contact Mark Richardson directly on mrichardson@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2240.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Redundancies – Employer perspective

Mainly it appears as a result of Coronavirus, a lot of businesses are currently in the position of making redundancies.

To undertake a redundancy properly, a specific legal process must be followed.

An employer will first need to identify that there is a redundancy situation (perhaps as a result of a downturn in business) and which roles are going to face a reduced headcount.

The employer will then need to decide who is actually to be made redundant by following a process of consultation and meetings with the employees concerned.  The process becomes more complicated if 20 or more employees are to be made redundant within a 90 day period.

It is important to follow the redundancy process carefully, as by not doing so, the employer runs the risk of having to deal with legal claims from disgruntled employees.

If unsure, the best thing is to get professional advice.

GSC’s Employment law solicitors advise on all aspects of employment law from appointment to dismissal and employment tribunal proceedings.

We represent employers in cases of unfair dismissal, race, sex, disability and age discrimination, and unlawful deduction of wages.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at dnathan@gscsolicitors.com or on 020 7822 2247.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.