Employment Agreements are increasingly important, particularly given employers’ emphasis on compensation reviews; confidentiality; non-competition obligations at the end of your time with your employer; and Fair Work and anti-Bullying legislation.
Loan Agreements for purchasing homes or investments, whether you be a lender or a borrower, should always be properly documented and signed off by all parties.
Guarantor Agreements, where you are guaranteeing a lender to a friend or family, need to be carefully read and understood, as the terms give the lender a strong right of claim over your assets, if the borrower defaults.
Asset Purchase & Lease Agreements
Asset purchase and lease agreements should be carefully read, and in the event of breaches of warranty or unsuitability of the goods, you may need recourse to the Australian Consumer Protection Laws.
Residential Tenancy Agreements
Residential tenancy agreements are covered by the relevant State laws and these are available on the relevant websites.
Conveyancing & Leasing
Our conveyancing and leasing services are based on a competitive fixed-fee-for-service, of which we notify clients, in advance.
Both conveyancing and leasing involve transferring and registering a legal interest in real estate, be it title to the land, or an interest in use of the land, respectively.
We act for sellers and lessors; and buyers and lessees.
In both cases we follow a careful end-to-end process.
It can be very emotionally and financially distressing for a person who tries to handle these matters themselves, should they discover that they have not secured the right or title for which they contracted. Your house is your biggest asset, and where you live is the key to happiness.
Using a solicitor, rather than a ‘cut-price conveyancer’ is recommended because, if there are problems created by the counter party, your solicitor can give immediate legal advice and take appropriate remedial legal action, whereas a ‘conveyancer’ who is not a solicitor, cannot.
Wills/Estates & Marriage
You may have heard the term “Estate Planning.” This is the term used to bring together all the life and death considerations relating to your health and your wealth. It is a dynamic process during your life: it is not a “once-only event”.
Life considerations relate to what happens if you lose capacity to manage your own financial and health affairs, while you are alive. It is important that Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardian documents be completed. They should nominate someone you trust to make these decisions for you. You may even need an Advanced Healthcare Directive to cover the particularities of your preferences for health care, or religious or other reasons.
Having these documents ensures that your health and wealth will be managed to the best extent possible, when you are alive. It also goes a long way to eliminating the stress for your family members as you age.
Death considerations relate to your will which, amongst a raft of other things, should specify who you want to be your executors and how you want them to distribute your assets on your death. If you die without a will, or your will is found to be invalid, a court-appointed administrator will distribute your assets based on a predetermined formula, which may have very different results from what you intended.
Your will may also include a testamentary trust or trusts if, for example, you have a child with special needs or a cause for which you may want to make continuing provision. Also, generally, but particularly in blended families, care must be taken to have fairness applying to the children of existing and prior relationships lest, after your death, there be legal claims (family provision claims) against your estate by disgruntled beneficiaries.
When you pass on, if you have property of certain amounts and nature to be distributed to nominated beneficiaries, the executors of your estate will need to have Wilson Haynes apply for Probate. This is a formal certification by the Supreme Court that the will is valid, and its terms can be given effect to (subject to any subsequent challenges by parties who believe that they have a legal entitlement to a part of your estate.)
Superannuation, technically, is not a part of your estate (assets) under the control of your executors, when you pass. What happens to your superannuation is governed by the Trustee of the fund, and we encourage you to ensure that you have a current binding death benefit nomination form lodged with the trustee of your fund. More than likely, you should direct the Trustee of your Superannuation that, on your death, he/she is to pay the proceeds of your super to the executor of your estate, to be distributed in accordance with the provisions of your will.
If you have a self-managed superannuation fund, similar provisions apply, but there are certain specifics that need to be checked to ensure that your fund remains a complying one, in varying circumstances that may apply to you.
Reviews of your Estate Plan should occur every 5 years as a minimum, or earlier, especially when you have purchased or sold property; entered a marriage or de-facto relationship; have divorced or separated; or a spouse or partner has died.
Relationships & Marriage
We are able to assist you in the following areas of family law:
Property settlements after separation (de facto and married)
Consent orders regarding property and children
Binding financial agreements
Since 1 March 2009, the laws regarding the rights and obligations of de facto couples are essentially the same as those relating to married couples. In the event of separation, the court can make orders regarding the distribution of assets, spousal maintenance and the care of children. Preferably, the parties can make their own decisions in respect to their terms of settlement, which reflect their individual circumstances and avoid the financial and emotional stress of court intervention.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Any private settlement agreement will be unenforceable, unless the parties formalise the settlement by filing consent orders in the court or enter into a binding financial agreement.
We specialise in helping separating couples create enforceable family law agreements that provide timely resolutions which both protect your rights and allow you to move on with your life. We also recognise that your former partner may not always be reasonable or willing to participate in meaningful negotiations and, if this proves to be the case, we have the litigation experience to ensure that your rights are protected and your family law entitlements are not sacrificed.
Once the parties have reached agreement regarding their property settlement and possibly the care arrangement for their children, these can be formalised by filing the terms of the agreement in the court. If the court determines that the proposed settlement is just and equitable in the circumstances and/or in the best interests of the children, the court will approve the orders and they will become legally binding and enforceable against the other party.
Binding financial agreements
More commonly known as “prenups” or “separation agreements”, binding financial agreements are private agreements entered into by parties to a relationship who wish to contract out of the provisions of the Family Law Act which apply in the event of separation and replace them with their own pre-determined formula. Contrary to popular belief, in normal circumstances these agreements will withstand legal challenge, provided they are drafted correctly and the parties have provided full and frank disclosure as to their financial situation.
Binding financial agreements can be entered into at various stages of a relationship (married or de facto), including:
Prior to moving in together
They provide enormous flexibility and can deal with a broad range of issues, including:
Distribution of assets, liabilities and financial resources
Management of corporate entities, trusts and partnerships
Inheritances, compensation payments and other windfalls
In addition to resolving the division of property and care of children of the relationship, married couples must file an application for divorce in the Federal Circuit Court to formally bring the marriage to an end.
We provide a streamlined process for couples to make either a sole application or joint application for divorce, which can usually be carried out on a fixed-fee basis, without any requirement for the parties to appear before the court. We can also advise you regarding your eligibility for filing fee concessions.
Litigation can arise from disputes in which you are involved either as a plaintiff (claimant) or a defendant, in each of the following: agreements; conveyancing and leasing; contested wills and estates; and property settlements, as part of divorce proceedings.
Depending on the nature of the proceedings, they can be heard in the relevant State’s Civil Administrative Tribunal; the Magistrates Court; the District Court; the Supreme Court; the Federal Court, or the Family Court.
We advise on the substance of any claim by or against you, and set out clearly our opinion of your prospects for success, and what it will cost you.
Litigation in the courts is the most expensive of all legal services, because of the need for us to obtain and plead considerable detail; its highly adversarial nature; the uncooperative conduct of parties who are against you; the need for mediators and barristers; filing and court costs; and barristers’ fees.
Come and see Wilson Haynes to ‘get it right’ up front- to reduce the risk, cost and stress of litigation down the road!”
Cost Free Initial Consultation
If you are interested in knowing more about how we might be able to assist you, please call 07 5536 3055 to make a cost free initial, 40 minute consultation with our Principal, Mr Jim Wilson.