What is an Office Syndicate

office syndicate
Many workplaces have the traditional office syndicate where everyone chips in a few dollars every week to buy a Gold Lotto entry.  No one expects to win but shock horror you actually win a substantial prize.  This is where things can turn ugly and there are lessons to be learned.
We were recently involved in such a case.  8 staff were in an office syndicate for Gold Lotto.  They won $250,000 however one member was on holidays at the time and hadn’t paid their money.  The “leader” of the syndicate and a few others then argued that the holidaying employee wasn’t entitled to a share of the prize because she wasn’t paid up.
Don’t think it could happen at your workplace? Well think again.  Where money is involved, especially a substantial sum, people have a habit of reacting in an unusual and sometimes nasty manner.  So my advice is:
1. Have some clear cut rules as to membership and eligibility of the syndicate.
2. Make sure someone is responsible for running the book on who has paid and who hasn’t and what the rules are around payment and more importantly non-payment of dues.
3. Post your rules on the noticeboard or on the fridge in the staff kitchen or some other prominent place at work where everyone has access to them.
4. Register a syndicate with Golden Casket.

Property Settlement

property settlement

 

Today I wish to discuss property division and what things the Court takes into consideration when making its decision.

The first thing to ascertain is the asset pool. In other words, one needs to identify all the assets (and their value) of both parties. Generally, all assets must be taken into account, whether they were obtained before or during the marriage, or even after separation.

The definition of “property” is very wide and includes everything that you and your spouse own either jointly or separately. For example, any real estate, shares, motor vehicles, jewellery, savings and household contents/furniture whether registered in your name solely or in both names.

It is also necessary to take into account ‘financial resources’ such as superannuation entitlements, interests in any trusts, long service leave entitlements, personal injuries claims etc.

The Court also looks at each parties contribution towards acquiring, increasing, maintain or improving any asset. Both financial and non-financial contributions are considered. For example, if one party has been running and looking after the household and caring for the children whilst the other spouse has been working fulltime and earning income, the non-working spouse is deemed to have made a contribution as a homemaker and parent and their non-financial contribution is taken into account. Initial contributions towards the marriage such as who brought what assets into the marriage as well as gifts and inheritances are also relevant.

In deciding who gets what, the Court also has regard to the future needs of both parties taking into account a wide range of things such as each parties age, health, income earning capacity, if they have the care of any children etc etc.

The law governing the division of assets is very complex and therefore, you should obtain legal advice before making any agreement with your spouse.

Book a consultation at McLaughlin & Associate Lawyers to ensure you receive Brisbane’s best legal services.

Civil Partnerships, Different From Marriage?

Civil Partnership

A lot has been said and written about the new Civil Partnerships Act but what is it really all about?

Basically the Civil Partnerships Act allows all de facto couples (whether heterosexual or same sex) to formalise their commitment to each other and this union will be registered at the Births Deaths and Marriages Registry, just like a traditional marriage.

The first of these ceremonies was held on 5th March 2012.

And, just like a marriage, if the parties want to terminate their Civil Partnership, they will need to apply to the Court to dissolve the union.  However unlike married couples, an Order made by the Court takes effect on the day the Order is made, so there is no waiting 30 days for the Order to become absolute.

So what does this new Act mean for couples?

Well, for separating heterosexual de facto couples, there is really no change. Heterosexual de facto couples will continue to enjoy the same rights for property settlement that they presently do, which are the same rights as for married couples. However, by formalising the relationship it takes away any argument as to whether a de facto relationship exists.   This will provide more certainty to the parties that their relationship will be governed by Family Law.

In the case of same sex couples it means the public and government’s formal recognition of their relationship.  It takes away any argument as to whether a couple are in fact in a de facto relationship.

One of the biggest impacts will be on a person’s Will and Power of Attorney. Presently a Will or Power of Attorney is only revoked upon the marriage of the person however, should a person now enter into a Civil Partnership, that union will also automatically revoke a person’s Will and Power of Attorney unless there is a contrary intention shown in the document.

Therefore it is important for a person entering into a Civil Partnership to make sure that they have a valid and enforceable Will and Power of Attorney.

Is an Electronic Will Valid (iPhone)

iphone will

In a recent case the Court had to consider the validity of a Will made electronically.

The question for the Court was whether a series of messages, made by the Deceased, on his iPhone, shortly before his suicide, should be declared a Will under Section 18, Succession Act.
Section 18 provides that the Court may dispense with the execution requirements for a Will, alteration, or revocation.
In the case, the Judge found that the three conditions required by Section 18 were satisfied.
• The messages created and stored in the iPhone constituted a document. Under Section 5 of the Succession Act a document, for the purposes of Section 18 is defined as any disc, tape, or any other article or any material from which writing can be produced.
• The document stated the Testamentary intentions of the Deceased which disposed of all of his property and appointed an executor and a substitute executor.
• The Deceased intended the document to form his Will.  He commenced with the words “This is the last Will and Testament…”, an executor was appointed and the Deceased’s name was typed at the end of the record on the iPhone. It was intended to be legally operative in disposing of the Deceased’s property on his death.
A declaration was made that the electronic document was a valid Will.

Leases

leases

Whether you are a Landlord or Tenant, you want certainty. You don’t want to risk being thrown out or having your tenant vacate on a months notice. The following are some of the key points:

1. Is your Lease current?

2. Is it the right Lease for your situation eg a Commercial or Retail Shop Lease?

3. Is it properly executed by the all parties (including Guarantors)?

4. When does the Lease expire?

5. Is there an option to renew?

  • How and when is notice to be given to exercise the option?

7. Have you made a note of that date in your diary?

8. Does the Lease need to be registered?