Contesting a Will

MKG-newThere are certain classes of people that may contest a Will.  The law appreciates that a person has the right to choose who their Estate is left to, but the Succession Act 2006 allows some people to challenge a Will if they have been unfairly left out.

The people that are able to challenge a Will include the following;

  • A wife or husband;
  • Those that are in a de facto relationship, with the deceased, at the time of death;
  • A child of the deceased;
  • A former wife or husband of the deceased; and
  • A grandchild or member of the household that has been dependent on the deceased.
Read More

Power of Attorney and Online Assets

KJSbwThe form of power of attorney (‘POA”) now used in NSW is a very simple but often misunderstood form.

Whilst the standard form is simple, it will often be appropriate to make significant changes to it to reflect the individual circumstances of the person giving the POA.

The issues that may need to be covered by a POA are constantly evolving. A good example of this is the treatment of so-called “digital assets” which are becoming more and more important to all of us.

Research in the USA indicates –

  • More than half of individuals over 65 use the Internet;
  • 95% of people have an online presence from the age of 2; and
  • A representative sample of Internet users had, on average, 25 passwords.
Read More

Put the power in the hands of people you Trust

Lesley McDonnellEvery day people are involved in accidents or become sick. Sometimes this can mean that you are unexpectedly not able to make decisions for yourself.  There is a way to ensure that someone you trust can make decisions for you should this power be taken away from you.

Making a document called an Appointment of Enduring Guardian is a powerful and proactive step that you can take today whereby you can appoint a trusted friend or family member (or more than one) to make health and lifestyle decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.… Read More

Are your grandchildren your dependents?

KJSbwGrandparents are often very generous in their support of their grandchildren. Sometimes that is a matter of choice. Sometimes, a matter of necessity. The issue of whether a grandchild is financially dependent upon a grandparent can be relevant in many areas of the law.

It is quite common theses days for grandparents to wish to pass their death benefit superannuation entitlements to their grandchildren . The ability to demonstrate the financial dependency of the grandchild is very relevant in this context.

In order to pay a superannuation death benefit to a grandchild, and for the grandchild to receive it tax-free, the grandchild needs to establish financial dependency upon the grandparent.… Read More

Extension to the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes)

Lesley McDonnellRecently, the Office of State Revenue announced that the First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) of $15,000 is being extended for a further two years from 31 December 2013 to 31 December 2015. On 1 January 2016 it will reduce to $10,000.

The First Home Owner Grant (New Homes) applies to the purchase of a new home only. It does not apply to the purchase of an established home, vacant land, business premises or a holiday home.  A new home is a home that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence.

To be eligible to apply for the Grant, you must be able to meet at least the following conditions:

  • You must be over 18 years of age;
  • The property must be purchased in your name and not in the name of a company or trust;
  • If there are two people buying together, one person must be a permanent resident or an Australian citizen;
  • All applicants and/or their spouse/de facto must not have previously owned a residential property, jointly, separately or with some other person in any State or Territory before 1 July 2000;
  • The purchase price must not exceed $650,000;
  • The applicant and/or their spouse must have not previously received a first home owner grant in any State or Territory; and
  • At least one applicant must occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of six months, commencing within 12 months of purchasing the new home.
Read More

The Transition to Retirement Living

Lesley McDonnellThe transition to retirement living can be a rewarding one. Along the way some important decisions need to be made.  One of those decisions may include moving into a retirement village. In an effort to help make that decision process easier for prospective residents, new laws come into effect on 1 October this year. It is timely to look at those changes and retirement living more generally.

Under the law, a retirement village is defined as being a complex containing residential premises that are predominantly or exclusively occupied by retired persons who have entered into a village contract with an operator of the complex.… Read More

Organ Donations – Should it be in your Will?

TRIt is not uncommon for a client to want to record their wish to become an organ donor in their Will. Is this the best way to notify family and doctors that you wish to donate your organs?

Unfortunately, by the time family members have turned their minds to firstly finding and then reading the deceased’s Will, their organs are unlikely to be of any use.

There are only very limited circumstances in which human organs can be ‘harvested’, and an extremely limited time window of opportunity to do so.

Only people who have suffered brain death, that is, their brain has died whilst the rest of their body has continued to function usually on a ventilator, are capable of donating organs.… Read More

Yours, Mine and Ours

Lesley McDonnellPurchasing property can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Exciting because on the one hand you have found the property you have been searching for and you start dreaming of what you will do to transform the house into your home. In what can seem like the daunting side to your property purchase is the point at which you first lay eyes on the contract for sale of land. The contract requires you to make some important decisions. When you purchase property with your spouse or partner, you must decide how you will buy the property together. You can purchase either as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

Read More

Where there’s a Will

There’s usually a relative, sometimes one who is hurt and sad because he or she has been left out of the Will or otherwise treated unfairly.

The hurt can be undone. Under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), the Supreme Court can rewrite an unfair Will on the application of wives, husbands, de factos, children, former wives or husbands, dependents, grandchildren or members of the household of, or those living in a close personal relationship with the deceased.

An applicant for relief must show a need by reference to his or her age, health, financial situation, earning capacity and the like.  An applicant must be  “deserving”  that is to say to have had such a relationship with the deceased that it might be expected that he or she would benefit under the Will.… Read More

Farm Succession – Is it Straightforward?

TRMr Farmer died in 1988 leaving the farm to his wife during her life time and then to his son after her death.  The son has worked on the family farm since childhood and is now in his late forties.

As the son does not own the family farm, he has had difficulties negotiating funding with his bank because of his mother’s life interest.

His mother agrees to surrender her life interest in the family farm during her lifetime,  to enable the legal estate in the family farm to be passed to her son.

Stamp duty on the transfer of mum’s interest to the son is exempt under the inter-generational stamp duty exemption for primary production land.… Read More