Cohabiting couples to benefit from changes to bereavement benefit rules

27th August 2021

Previously, a surviving parent could only claim the financial support if they had been married or in a civil partnership at the time of their spouse or civil partner’s death.

Under these plans, Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payments will be extended to surviving cohabiting partners with children who were living with their partner at the time of death.

It’s estimated that more than 22,000 families will now be able to claim this vital help, totalling an additional £320 million in support for bereaved children over the next five years.

DWP Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott said:

The death of a loved one is devastating, and can also come with significant financial implications.

This change will mean more families can access support during the most difficult of times, and I hope to make that possible as swiftly as I can.

Under these draft plans, a surviving partner with dependent children will only need to have lived with the deceased on the date of death.

Once approved by Parliament, the changes will apply retrospectively from 30 August 2018, with any backdated payments being made as lump sums.

Mediation – What is it?

26th August 2021

Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party helps two parties resolve their dispute. Mediation can be used to settle disputes between individuals, families, and even cases involving injury or property damage. Mediators are trained professionals who help you work out the details of your case and may mean it will be resolved faster and cheaper than through the court system. Mediation is often preferred by people because they feel they have more control over their own decisions when it comes to settling disputes with someone else.

Mediators do not take sides in the dispute but instead help each party understand the other point of view as well as their own position. They may also suggest possible ways for achieving win-win solutions. Mediation is not appropriate in all cases, especially if there are serious safety concerns,

The benefits of choosing a mediator instead of court can include:

– Faster resolution of the dispute

– Mediation may be less expensive than going to court

– Mediators are often more flexible in setting dates and times for arbitration

– Parties have a greater sense of control over what happens at mediation than they would with courts. The mediator will not decide or impose a solution, but rather help you explore options together.

– Mediators are able to provide a more personalised service and may focus on what is most important to the parties involved. The mediator does not have as many deadlines, restrictions or rules that they need to follow like in court cases.

The disadvantages of choosing mediation include:

– Mediation might be less formal than if you went to court

– Mediation might not be appropriate in cases of serious safety concerns

– Mediation may not lead to the same legal protections or benefits as a settlement reached through a formal trial.

Mediation is a process for resolving disputes without going to court. People who choose to mediate their dispute often do so because they want a more amicable, less formal way of solving the problem and are willing to compromise on some issues in order to reach an agreement. There are advantages and disadvantages when choosing mediation over litigation; however, it’s important that you understand both before making your decision.  We strongly believe that participating in mediation results in a better outcome than court proceedings and is likely to be cheaper, a great deal quicker and less stressful than litigation.

Sidmouth Classic Car Show

24th August 2021

The Sidmouth Classic Car Show is back this year and we can’t wait to see all the amazing classic cars on display. It’s going to be a lovely day of great entertainment, so make sure you don’t miss it!

We are very happy to be able to continue our support of this historical show which continues to grow in popularity each year.  We are sponsors and will have a stand at the showground, so do come by and say hello.

The show will be held at the Sidmouth Cricket Ground on 18th September 2021.  The Cricket Pavilion will be open where you can relax and enjoy a cream tea, or ale. A Jazz band and a variety of other entertainment will also be there to entertain you throughout the day.

Organised and run by Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with The Crash Box Club of Devon the event is always a top date in the Sidmouth  calendar:  “Whether you are a car enthusiast, a motorcycle enthusiast or simply interested in a great family day out in the lovely Regency Town of Sidmouth, you will receive a warm welcome.”

You can find out more information, and perhaps even enter a vehicle on their website:

Ongoing Crediton RFC Support

24th August 2021

Gilbert Stephens are very happy to be able to continue with their sponsorship of Crediton Rugby Club for the 2021/22 season.

Crediton RFC are open to new members joining in with their training: “We’re excited about the season ahead and we’d love for you to join us on our journey. We have top class coaching, great facilities and a fantastic atmosphere so why not give us a try!”  With 3 senior teams they offer rugby for all abilities and are excited to meet any new faces who wish to join them.  With top class coaching, excellent facilities and such a fantastic atmosphere what’s not to love!

We can’t wait to follow them through their season.

Keep up to date with their news and fixtures here


Legal team help school children stay safe

23rd August 2021

Just before the end of term we teamed up with Sidmouth Primary School to supply and sponsor their vital high-visibility vests.

The high-visibility vests are instrumental in ensuring the children and teachers feel safe and comfortable whilst out on their daily adventures and will be seen! They will be used on visits within the local community, particularly when children are walking to and from a venue.

Managing Partner Terry Bastyan said “This is an excellent way to give back to the community whilst strengthening our relationship with the school.  We are delighted to be in a position to help.  As a firm we are very committed to our local community, we feel it important to give back to help make a difference when we can”.

Sarah Prince, Deputy Head of Teaching and Learning said:  ‘We are so grateful to Gilbert Stephens for the donation of the jackets. Our children’s safety is of paramount importance to us and to know we can take the children out and about safely is wonderful. Thank you for your generosity.’

Adam Tompkins and Laura Newberry-Butcher from our Sidmouth office joined the primary school pupils during their last week of term and treated them all to an ice cream from Taste in Sidmouth, whilst admiring their visibility!

You can read the full article that was recently published in the Sidmouth Herald here 

CODS Sister Act – Both cast and audience were thrilled to be back!

21st August 2021

We were excited to attend the opening show of CODS performance of Sister Act recently. Having been delayed from earlier in the year it was a real treat to finally sit and enjoy such a fabulous performance by all. 

The Sister Act performance was both cast and audience’s first time back on the Crediton stage for a long while thanks to lockdowns, so it was no surprise the audience were thrilled to be there, as were the cast!

Sister Act is based on the 1992 film Sister Act, and tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses a murder by gangsters. In order to avoid being killed herself she goes into hiding in an all-girls school as Sister Mary Clarence for her safety.

A few of our team from the Crediton office attended the opening night which we were proud to sponsor. It’s important to us to support our local events, they bring so much to the community in which we live.

Samantha Tapp, one of our team who attended said: “We really enjoyed the show – the cast were full of energy and enthusiasm and you could tell that both cast and audience were thrilled to be back!”

Congratulations to the cast and crew, it can’t have been easy not knowing quite what was happening and having to rehearse with social distance in mind; despite all this it was a top performance and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

We are very much looking forward to CODS next performance!


Exmouth RFC Support

20th August 2021

We are delighted to be continuing with our sponsorship of Exmouth Rugby Club for the 2021/22 season, we are very much hoping this season will see games continue as normal without disruption!

Exmouth RFC have commenced their pre-season training sessions at Woodbury Park.  They welcome new members and you can register your place or ask for further information by contacting their Director of Rugby, Nick Smith on 07870 666630

Training sessions take place on a Tuesday and Thursday evening and are controlled sessions in accordance with RFU guidelines.

We wish Exmouth RFC every success for their forthcoming season and look forward to following them.

You can keep up to date with their fixtures and news on their website and by following them on Facebook.


Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival Returns

20th August 2021

We are so excited to be supporting the Ottery St Mary Food & Families Festival this year, another event which we are very happy to see return! The OSM Food & Families Festival is a community-organised, not for profit event and takes place on September 11th. The festival is free and driven by a passion for local food and drink. There will be an array of wonderful producers there with the goal of raising regional awareness about Ottery St Mary as a destination for all things food related!

For entertainment various local artists will be performing throughout the day in and around the town centre.   Areas you should particularly look out for them in are Mill Street and outside the library.   There will be additional entertainment but it’s not yet been announced, so keep an eye on the website and social media for updates.

The should be entertainment at the Marquee from 9.30 to 10.00, ahead of the official opening and then lots more to follow– keep an eye on the website for up to date information.

There will be a huge variety of produce available at the market including cupcakes, smoothies, cheese, spirits, mushroom & truffle products, oils, craft beers, bread, samosas, pork pies and so much more – there’s something for everyone! You can find a full list of those that will be there here.

We hope to see you there!


Budleigh Lions Golf Day

17th August 2021

Exciting news! The Budleigh Lions Golf Day is just around the corner on Thursday 19th August.  This year all proceeds will be going to ‘Diabetes and Vascular Research’ at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital,  which means that they’ll go towards helping people living with diabetes-related illnesses.

We are so happy to see this event go ahead again, it’s one we always look forward to.  Golfing and tournament fundraisers are a great opportunity to get together, enjoy the outdoors, make new memories whilst enjoying ourselves, and support a good cause all at the same time.

The Budleigh Lions run a number of events through the year, having sadly been curtailed recently due to Covid it’s great to see them starting up again to raise much needed funds for the community.  Their motto is “We Serve” and Club members get involved in various community projects to help either individuals or local organisations that need some support.  You can find out more about the work they do here

Patrick Langrishe from our Budleigh Salterton office met with organiser Geoff Paver this week to hand over the bundle of tees provided by Gilbert Stephens,  ready to be placed in all competitors welcome bags for the event.  Geoff said: “This is our 17th Charity Golf Day and Gilbert Stephens and their predecessors have sponsored hole No.1 since commencement, additionally they have provided us with golf tees this year to include in our starter packs.    We have raised many thousands of pounds since we started for various local charities.

Not only have Gilbert Stephens sponsored us for our Golf Day but they have also, for 38 years now, sponsored the pebble building/design competition held on the beach during our annual Gala Week at the end of May.    Unfortunately, this has been cancelled for the past 2 years due to Covid-19 but we are holding the event on August Bank Holiday Monday from 10.00 am – 12 noon”.


Looking forward to the Okehampton Show!

6th August 2021

It’s time for Dartmoor’s biggest and best agricultural show of the year! On Thursday 12th August, we will be thrilled to be at the Okehampton Show and see all that our incredible local businesses have to offer. From trade stands from across Devon showcasing everything you need in a modern lifestyle, along with exhibits demonstrating just how important agriculture is as an industry—we’re sure this event won’t disappoint.

On the day of our show, we will be running a special competition for one lucky person to win their very own hot tub! As this is the only event that we are attending this year, your chances at winning have never been better. To enter, and for some light refreshments, come and find us -you won’t regret it!

Our Okehampton office has been buzzing with activity since the last show with a move to new our premises at 9 Red Lion Yard, Okehampton and we are settling in to our new space well.     The Gilbert Stephens’ team has been supplying the needs of farmers and landowners for generations.  We love being able to come together at the Okehampton Show, a time-honoured tradition that brings people from all over Devon – including us!

As a firm we understand the pressures of rural communities and we are well-placed to give practical, realistic advice.   Many farmers and landowners wish to consider diversifying their business so as to maximise the potential of their land.  It is important that proper advice is taken on all the factors that need to be considered such as tax consequences, planning requirements, National Park consent and legal consents.

As a result of ever-changing agricultural policy, farmers are experiencing many rapid developments. They must keep pace with a wide range of changes such as reforms in CAP, the impact of planning and environmental policy and reforms to the law of agricultural holdings. There is also the ever present need to arrange their affairs in a tax efficient manner.

You can read more about how we can help you here.

We are very excited to be exhibiting at the Okehampton Show, if you’re in the area, we hope that you will stop by our stand and say hello! One of our team members can tell you more about what we do or answer any questions you may have. If there’s anything we can do before then, don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Tel:  01392 424242