• There are more than 150 law firms in Bedfordshire. What makes OVAL LAW so different?

    Over 30 years experience.
    Extensive Local knowledge.
    Corporate Companies and Individuals.
    We visit your premises...
    because we know your time is valuable.

  • BUSINESS... is all about taking risks and reaping the rewards.

    We have the experience and understanding to help you protect what is most important to you.

  • Is your priority PROTECTING YOUR WEALTH and providing for those close to you?

    We help you eliminate unnecessary risks and minimise those that remain.

For sound, down-to-earth, legal advice. Contact Oval Law on 01234 860856

WELCOME TO OVAL LAW

Your local Law Firm for Business, Family and Private Client Matters

Oval Law is an independent law firm with offices in Biddenham in Bedfordshire. Our clients are based all across the UK, but particularly in the Home Counties, the East Midlands and East Anglia. The most important attribute for any lawyer is to deliver high quality work for clients. We are fully committed to this goal, in all areas of law.

At Oval Law, we create options to achieve realistic and attainable goals, offering guidance to assist decision-making in a commercial context.

We offer a very personal service, in particular, by visiting our clients at their premises (or home). This firstly saves our clients valuable travelling time and costs; secondly, it gives us valuable insight as to how their business operates.

  • CLIENT TESTIMONIAL
    avatar
    Mrs R Moore
    Private Client, Bedford
    Best experience from a solicitor with regard to personal help and advice we have had.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
  • COMMERCIAL LAW

    We assist our corporate, industrial and commercial clients manage their internal processes; address regulatory compliance issues; provide legal advice on contracts and disputes which encompasses corporate structuring, buying and selling businesses; terms of trade; preparing business contracts; managing and assisting with resolving commercial disputes.

    • Agricultural Matters
    • Commercial Property
    • Settlement Agreements
    • Property Development
  • FAMILY LAW

    The financial implications of the divorce or relationship breakdown can cause concerns. Our team is experienced in dealing with all types of financial resolutions. We can advise you in connection with agreements made in mediation or we can negotiate a settlement on your behalf or represent you in Court proceedings. We can also advise you on the division of matrimonial assets, maintenance payments and also in connection with any pension.

    • Divorce
    • Maintenance
    • Civil Partnerships
    • Male Representation
  • PRIVATE CLIENT

    With one-to-one legal advice and guidance, Oval Law can guide you through drafting and preparing your Will, administering the estate of a loved one, appointing an attorney and setting up a Trust Deed. We can help you to minimise tax liabilities and protect yourself and your family for the future. Whether you have modest assets or high net worth, we provide the same professional and personal service to help you plan ahead.

    • Wills & Probate
    • Living Wills
    • Powers of Attorney
    • Inheritance Tax
SOLICITORS
Paul Hillier
PAUL HILLIER BA
Founder / Solicitor

Paul Hillier has been a qualified Solicitor for over 30 years and is the founder of Oval Law.
Paul has wide experience in legal matters across many disciplines and is used to bringing swift resolution in complex cases for private individuals, as well as company and commercial clients.

  • GENERAL BACKGROUND

    General Experience

    Paul Hillier has an excellent personal presence and successful professional record having over many years dealt at senior level with Criminal Prosecution and Defence across the range from murder to traffic offences. He has undertaken and been involved in the disciplinary/regulatory process across many occupations and professions guiding organisations/individuals through sometime convoluted procedures and formalities. He is a capable performer across many occupations and styles and has previously been involved in scientific research agreements with Universities and in one case a Nobel Medicine Prize Winner.

    Career

    • 1984 -1987 - Solicitor and then Partner in Mellows Solicitors with offices in Bedford, Baldock, Hertfordshire and Kempston, Bedford.
    • 1987 - 2005 - Founder and Senior Partner in Hilliers Solicitors operating in Kempston and Baldock in 1987. One of the youngest Solicitors ever to form their own practice.
    • 2005 - 2013 - Senior Partner in HilliersHRW Solicitors, then became Managing Director of HilliersHRW Solicitors LLP.
    • 2014 - Present - Founded Oval Law in 2014. Managing Director of Old Vicarage Advisory Legal (Kempston) Limited.
  • LEGAL EXPERTISE

    Commercial and Corporate

    Having led many substantial deals for clients over the years, Paul provides a good practical overview of the commerciality of any sale, purchase or acquisition for any business alongside providing the legal know-how, necessary documentation and agreements.

    He is also involved in non executive Director roles for companies giving "sage-like" advice and guidance on the advantages and pitfalls in taking a particular choice or decision in relation to that business, not only in relation to legal issues, but from wide experience in management and business dealings including corporate leaders, dignitaries, government departments, and well known organisations.

    He has particular expertise in:

    • Forming new companies.
    • Directors / Shareholders agreements.
    • Buying and selling company shares.
    • Buying and selling company assets.
    • Buying, selling and leasing commercial property.
    • Commercial property development - with full local knowledge of planning and local issues with a history of previous involvement with likely developers, individuals or professionals and lenders who might be involved.
    • Private equity transactions.
    • Raising venture capital.
    • Loan finance.
    • Management buyouts.

    Agricultural Issues

    Having a son who graduated from Harper Adams University, the leading specialist agricultural seat of learning, he naturally has always had a general interest in all farming issues. Paul is an active supporter of Bedfordshire Young Farmers and has been involved with many farming issues for both large and small farms and tenancies and personally knows most local Land Agents throughout Herts, Beds and Bucks.

    He has particular expertise in:

    • Land development/promotion agreements.
    • Buying and selling farmland - with or without farmhouses.
    • Farm Business Tenancies (FBTs).
    • Occupation of farm buildings.
    • Grazing rights.
    • Milk quotas.
    • Single payment scheme and sporting rights.
    • Contracting agreements.
    • Share farming.
    • Agricultural Property Relief (APR) and Business Property Relief (BPR).
    • Inheritance Tax issues.

    Wills & Probate, Inheritance Issues

    For 27 years Paul led a Solicitors Practice that strongly marketed and advertised the importance of the making of a Will targetting families, individuals and business people. He is both a trusted Executor and Administrator of Estates, experienced in dealing with the most complicated or sensitive inheritance issues from modest to wealthy estates and a very capable advisory on all inheritance tax issues and allowances available.

    He has the expertise in:

    • Wills.
    • Probate.
    • Letters of Administration.
    • Powers of Attorney.
    • Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
    • Living Wills.
    • Residential / Nursing Home fees.
    • Trusts.
    • Disputed Wills.
    • Inheritance (Provision for Dependents) Act 1975.

    Employment Law

    Paul has for many years, advised company or business employers about all appropriate requirements for staff contracts, handbooks and procedures generally helping to guide employers through the sometimes difficult process of dealing with staff issues.

    He has had dealings with Directors and senior staff drawing up Contracts of Employment to protect IPR and secret information or detail that could be commercially sensitive.

    Advising and where appropriate, conducting Employment Tribunal Claims and Defences for employers and senior employees in a confidential and cost effective approach.

    He has often negotiated employment Settlement Agreements (formerly Compromise Agreements) for very senior staff and others to ensure the best settlement terms for all concerned.

  • EDUCATION

    Paul attended comprehensive school in Stevenage and then graduated from Coventry University with a BA Honours degree in Business Law.

FAQs
Private Client FAQs
  • What is probate?

    Probate is simply the term commonly used when obtaining the right to deal with a deceased person's affairs (called 'administering the estate').

    It can prove to be a difficult time following the loss of a loved one to find yourself confronted with lots of paperwork and legal words such as 'Grant of Representation'. It can be baffling and confusing to cut through the legal processes and to arrive at a clear understanding of what needs to be done in your own personal circumstances. Many people think a Grant is always needed and this may not be the case depending on the value of the assets or whether they were held jointly with someone else or in the deceased’s sole name.

    After a death various matters need to be dealt with, including dealing with any property that is owned whether jointly owned or not, the closing down of bank accounts, encashing or transferring shares and investments and settling any debts the person may have had. Banks and building societies may start referring to "probate" but this can become confusing as many people do not know what it means.

    If the person who has died had a Will, the executors (the people chosen to carry out instructions set out in the will) are likely to need a Grant of Probate in order to do so. The Grant of Probate means that the court confirms the validity of the will and gives the executors legal authority to carry out any instructions stated within the Will.

    If the person did not have a Will, and therefore died 'intestate', the law decides how the estate will be distributed. The 'administrators' (usually the next of kin) will need to have a Grant of Letters of Administration before they can start to deal with the deceased person’s affairs. Dealing with this type of estate can become particularly confusing as the administrators have to ensure that distribution is made to the correct people. The common belief is that if there is no Will, everything passes to a spouse but this is not strictly true and only applies to estates that are relatively small in value. Also under the intestacy laws there is no recognition of unmarried partners although it can be possible for an unmarried partner to successfully claim dependence upon the estate and then be provided for.

  • Why might I need to appoint a Power of Attorney?

    There may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs or personal welfare, you will need someone to do this for you. You can formally appoint an attorney before this happens – someone you can trust to manage things for you and act in your best interests.

    A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint someone you trust as an 'attorney' to make decisions on your behalf. It can be drawn up at any time while you have capacity, but has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. An LPA must be 'donated' willingly by you whilst you are fully aware of your actions. If this is not possible the Office of The Public Guardian can appoint someone for you. This could be a friend, relative, solicitor or an accountant but there is no guarantee that it would be the person you want.

    Currently you can create two types of LPA:

    • Property and Affairs LPA
    • Personal Welfare LPA
    Property and Affairs LPA

    A property and affairs LPA allows you to choose someone to assist you with your financial affairs. This could include running your bank account, managing your savings account and other investments, and paying your bills. You can also choose when you wish your attorney(s) to be able to act for you. They can either assist you as soon as the LPA has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, or you can restrict their authority so that they may only use the LPA once you have lost mental capacity.

    Personal Welfare LPA

    A Personal Welfare LPA allows you to choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare. This includes decisions to refuse or consent to treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when the LPA is registered and you lack the capacity to make the decisions yourself.

  • What is a Living Will?

    A Living Will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. A Living Will is a mechanism for holding and distributing a person's assets to avoid probate. It is important to have a Living Will as it informs your local Health Authority, your GP and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself.

    To avoid complications it is wise to have a solicitor prepare your Living Will. If you need to write or update a Will, you can take care of your Living Will at the same time.

  • If my spouse died, would I be liable for Inheritance Tax?

    The simple answer is no. There are a number of exemptions and reliefs that are available to reduce or dispense with any tax payable that can be briefly explained as follows:

    1. Spouse Exemption:

    Any assets passing between husband and wife will be exempt from any Inheritance Tax regardless of the amount and whether this is higher than the current threshold. This also applies to spouses in a same-sex marriage.

    2. Charity Exemption:

    Any bequests or gifts you make to charities will also be exempt from Inheritance Tax.

    3. Annual Exemption:

    We are all entitled to give away a certain amount of assets each year before Inheritance Tax becomes due. This is currently £3,000. If you have not used your annual exemption in the year of your death and the tax year before, you can offset this against the value of your estate.

    The subject of Inheritance Tax and its impact on you and your Will is a very diverse and complicated subject for discussion. We would therefore suggest that if you have any concerns over your potential Inheritance Tax position that you discuss it with us, if you have not done so already.

Commmercial Law FAQs
  • What are my duties and responsibilities as a Director of a Limited Company?

    If you put money into the company, and the company becomes insolvent, you’ll be at the bottom of the list of creditors. Talk to us about how to make yourself a secured creditor.

    If you breach any of your duties as a director you could be disqualified as a director and even prosecuted for criminal offences. Make sure you know what's expected of you.

    If you file your company accounts or annual returns late, you’re liable for a fine.

    If you wish to keep confidential certain personal matters, you need to draw up a private agreement between shareholders, so that these matters (the Articles of a Company) are not publicly available as a matter of course at Companies House. Let us advise you.

    The duties and responsibilities of a director are many and varied, and are not always stacked in your favour. We can help you redress the balance and protect your own position more securely.

  • I am entering into a business partnership. Why do I need a Business Partnership Agreement?

    Without a Business Partnership Agreement, the general law automatically applies. This means that in any disputes or difficulties between business partners, the law can set in motion a course of events that could be totally contrary to your own wishes.

    Without a Business Partnership Agreement...
    It may not be clear if any property used by the partnership belongs to the partnership or belongs solely to one of the partners.
    If one partner puts more money than the other(s) into the business, the law will still imply that profits are shared equally.
    If you are a partner on a salary, you will still be liable for any damage or losses made by one or more of your other partners
    If one partner dies or becomes bankrupt, the partnership will be automatically be dissolved and the assets distributed. If the partnership continues, you may have to raise a large capital sum to pay the estate of the deceased partner.
    To recoup your investment from a partnership you may have to dissolve it and sell the business and the assets.
    If there is a dispute or argument between partners, or one partner is acting untoward, with no other provisions in place, everything may have to be sold and the business closed.

    Why take the risk? For a relatively small outlay you can protect your interests from the start.

  • I own a family-run farming business. Why do I need a law firm that specialises in Agricultural Matters?

    You need to protect your interests now and to help you secure your land and property as it passes from one generation to the next. Plus, with ever-changing agricultural law affecting many aspects of day-to-day life and business in rural communities, an Agricultural Specialist Solicitor will provide a source of up-to-date expertise whenever you need it. It may be a small matter concerning the specific use of part of your land, or you may need advice on the wider spectrum of EU regulations and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    Oval Law's specialist service covers:
    • Inheritance tax matters and succession planning
    • Tenancies and lettings
    • Quotas, culling and compensation
    • Subsidies and grants
    • Farm and land use/management
    • Land ownership and use, including planning permissions
    • Sporting rights on your land
    • Boundary disputes and rights of way
    • Employment law for seasonal and permanent workers
    • Buying and selling farmland
    • Business and tax planning
    • Partnership agreements
    • Export trading regulations
    • Livestock health and environment issues
    • Diversification into organic and other types of farming
  • I've just developed a new software application. How can I stop the idea from being copied?"

    When you've spent a lot of time and money developing an idea or a product or design, it's essential to protect it and prevent your rivals from infringing your rights or copying your ideas. There are one or two ways to stop this happening:

    Copyright Protection

    Copyright protection covers items such as original music scores, books, newspapers and periodicals, sound recordings, photographs, films, technical drawings and computer software.

    Patents

    You can protect any new invention (including computer software) by registering it at the Patents Office. HilliersHRW have access to the top Patent Agencies.

    Trademarks and European Trademarks

    If your company logo, product or brand names have a key influence over your competitive position, make sure they are registered with the appropriate office of authority.

    Design Rights

    Where you've created something through an industrial process, you should have it registered.

    Call or email us to find out how you can best protect your creative ideas

CONTACT US
DISCLAIMER: The use of the Internet for communications with the firm will not establish an solicitor-client relationship and messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent.
ADDRESS, TELEPHONE & EMAIL

Oval Law

Winthorpe House

29 Church End

Biddenham

Bedford

MK40 4AR

t: 01234 860856

e: info@ovallaw.co.uk

OFFICE HOURS

Monday: 9am to 5.30pm

Tuesday: 9am to 5.30pm

Wednesday: 9am to 5.30pm

Thursday: 9am to 5.30pm

Friday: 9am to 5pm

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed