Busting the Four Most Common Myths
In all my years dealing with clients and urging them to make a Will, I have heard every excuse for not making one. But of all the unfounded excuses, these four are probably the biggest myths I have come across.
“I Don’t Need a Will Because my Wife / Husband Will Get the Lot Anyway”
This is simply not true. Who will get what is determined by a strict formula set out in the Queensland Succession Act, and your partner does not automatically “get the lot”.
“I Don’t Need a Will Because My Children Get Along Well”
There is an old saying, “say you know not a man until you have shared an estate with him”. Ugly scenes often come about from the influence of those outside the family. There are far too many people giving incorrect and poor guidance based on “folklore” and not what is actually the law. I have seen families torn apart fighting over the estate of a parent. Do not bring this upon your family. Make a Will so your wishes are clearly set out.
“It Costs Too Much”
Trust me when I say the cost of preparing a Will is nothing compared to the costs, both financially and emotionally, that your family will have to pay if you die intestate (ie. without having made a Will).
“I am Not Old Enough to Have a Will”
Unfortunately age does not protect you from accidents and tragedies. The rule is simple, everybody over the age of 18 should have a Will.
Hopefully this article has laid to rest those myths and cleared up any doubts and uncertainties you may have. If you love and care for your family then you owe it to them to ensure that they are protected.
The easiest way to address these matters is to speak to us at McLaughlin and Associates Lawyers. We will tailor a Will to suit your specific needs.
Book a consultation by calling us on 07 3808 7777 or email us at email@example.com
By John McLaughlin
Principal, McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers.
The new first home loan deposit scheme (FHLDS) aims to give first home buyers a leg up in the property market by reducing the deposit amount required to purchase a property.
First homebuyers were previously slugged with lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) if they did not come up with at least 20% deposit.
The First home loan deposit scheme works by providing a guarantee to first home buyers to purchase a property with as little as 5% deposit opposed to the onerous 20% required by most lenders. On a $500,000.00 property, that’s a whopping $75,000.00 difference!
Places are limited! The Australian Government has reported nearly 3,000 potential first homebuyers have registered with the banks since the 1st of January for the scheme. The remaining 7,000 places will open from the 1st February 2020. It is important that you have your finances in order, have spoken to a financier (i.e bank) and have started looking at potential properties.
Can you apply?
If you are a first time homebuyer then you are most likely eligible for the scheme. The Australian Government website has a handy eligibility tool to see if buyers qualify for the scheme. In a nutshell, you will need to be a first home buyer and:
· Pass the income test;
· A prior property ownership test;
· A deposit requirement; and
· Pass the owner occupier requirement.
Before you sign a contract of make an offer on a property, make sure you get legal advice to protect your interests. At McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers we have a team dedicated to residential conveyancing. We can assist you with pre-purchase contract conditions and also make sure the contract you sign protects your interests. See our page on Conveyancing for more info and guides for buyers and sellers.
Written by Dominic Doan, Commercial and Property Solicitor
For further information or to book in a consultation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 07 3808 7777.
Have any questions? Send us an email:
Read some of our other residential conveyancing articles:
Intern to Associate: Life After Law Boot Camp
What outcomes you can expect at McLaughlin & Associates
At McLaughlin & Associates, we’ve been operating a very successful internship program for many years and we’re especially proud of the outcomes we have achieved, especially for our interns.
Much of this success we attribute to the formal, standardised format of our program which we have developed with the fundamental underlying theme – to get interns to start thinking and acting like a valuable contributing member of a team.
We want to get them ready for their working life and to give them a competitive edge over other graduates when vying for a job in what is a very tough market. We like to think of it as a boot camp for law students.
Life as an Intern
The first premise of our program is the fact that most law students have never set foot inside a legal office and have no idea how an office functions and how they are supposed to act and operate within it.
So the first things we teach them are, the:
- responsibilities and obligations of being part of a team
- need for punctuality
- need for courtesy and respect to others
- need for honesty and ensuring every task assigned to them is done correctly and to the best of their ability.
They are made well aware that others in the team will rely on them to play their part and to do their job to the best of their ability and by failing to do this, they are letting down the other members of the team.
They are taught to be responsible for their actions and how to interact with others. They learn the shattering truth that getting a Law Degree is only a very, very small part of actually being a lawyer.
Armed with the skills acquired during their internship program, interns leave us and go forth to grab with both hands the opportunities which await them.
One of the great things about our internship program at McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers is that interns tend to stay in touch and remain friends of the firm forever and we are always very interested in their progress and achievements.
By John McLaughlin
Principal, McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers
Employers do you have employees or contractors?
It can be time consuming and confusing for clients to try and understand the exact type of arrangement and obligations that go with it. Also there have been many cases where a business owner thinks that a person has been engaged as a Contractor only to subsequently discover that they are deemed to be an employee and hence entitled to certain benefits and entitlements.
The Australian Taxation Office has set up a couple of online decision tools which are a series of questions and answers and resulting explanations. The good thing is there is no requirement to enter the TFN so the results are confidential.
Are you ready for the PPSA?
New legislation called the Personal Property Securities Act (“PPSA”) came into effect recently. It will dramatically alter the way we deal with personal property and the way in which security over personal property can be protected.
“Personal property” is any property (except real estate and fixtures to land) such as machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, book debts, stock, trademarks and patents etc.
The PPSA will regulate any “security interest” in personal property. If you do not protect your rights you risk losing your interests in that property.
For example you could lose:
- priority to another creditor; or
- title to your property if it is left in the possession of someone else (eg. if they sell it or if they go into liquidation etc ).
How does the PPSA affect you?
If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you should contact us to discuss how the PPSA may affect you and what steps you should take to protect your interests.
- Do you own personal property that could be in someone else’s possession for longer than 90 days ?
- Do you consign goods to other people to sell ?
- Do you manufacture and sell goods ?
- Do your conditions of sale state that you retain ownership until you are paid (i.e.
retention of title clause)
- Have you granted “fixed and floating” charges or have they been granted to you ?
- Do you include charging clauses in your standard documents to give you security for an obligation ?
A single national online register of Personal Property Securities interests called the PPS Register (“PPSR”) has been established.
It is essential to register your security interests in order to obtain priority. By registering your security interest you can prevent another person taking ownership of your goods.
Any delay in registering your security interest or inaccuracy in the registration could be disastrous. New security interests created must be registered quickly and in some cases may be registered before the transaction is completed.
If you have any questions about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact McLaughlin & Associate Lawyers via call or email.
Alternatively, you may visit our office in Springwood.
At some stage in your life you may be approached to go Guarantor either for one of your children or for a relative or friend. I tell my client’s that there are three groups of people for whom you should never go Guarantor.
2. Friends; and
I repeat never go Guarantor for family, friends or strangers. If you rule out those three groups you will be safe (because there are not too many others left). The reason I advise this is that unfortunately we see case after case where client’s, who did not wish to offend, or did not understand what they were really getting into, find themselves in a plethora of trouble.
I appreciate that sometimes it is hard to say “no” to a child or a sibling or best friend who comes to you with a request to go Guarantor because at the time there doesn’t seem to be too much harm done by simply signing a piece of paper. But it is what happens down the track when things go wrong which can have devastating effects.
If you think about it for a second the reason why a bank wants somebody else to guarantee the loan is because they, after careful consideration and analysis of the borrower’s financial position, ability to repay etc have not go the confidence to lend the money to that person without someone else guaranteeing repayment of the loan. If the banks, with all their billions of dollars, aren’t prepared to take the risk, why should you?
Another factor that a lot of people don’t understand is that if you go Guarantor for say a $300,000.00 loan then as far as your bank is concerned that is a debt on your balance sheet. Therefore, if you then later decide that you wish to borrow money, the amount of your guarantee will be taken into consideration along with your other existing debts in determining how much you can borrow.
I appreciate that sometimes parents want to give their child “a helping hand” in buying their first property and will agree to go Guarantor. If you must, then there are some steps you can take to try and protect yourself.
- Always go for the minimum amount the bank will accept. The bank may only need you to go guarantor for $80,000.00 on a $350,000.00 loan. In which case you must make sure that is all you guarantee.
- Always ensure that the Guarantee is limited to a maximum amount. That way, in a worst case scenario where your guarantee is called upon you know exactly how much you are up for.
- Make sure that you only guarantee the specific loan for which you have been asked to Guarantee. The fine print of some guarantees actually provides that the Guarantor is responsible for all loans of the Borrower both existing and future.
- Request that you be provided with bank statements of the loan so that you can ensure that it is being kept up to date and has not fallen into arrears.
- Terminate the Guarantee as soon as you can, don’t let it continue in perpetuity.
I can recount dozen’s of cases where I have seen parents who have had to sell their home or lose their nest egg because they had gone Guarantor for a child in a failed business venture. Invariably, the first notice that the Guarantor has of there being a problem is when they are notified by the bank. Most borrower’s are too embarrassed (or thoughtless) to approach the Guarantor to let them know that there may be a problem.
So remember my advice DO NOT go Guarantor for family, friends or strangers.
Do You Require Window Coverings?
Landlords who supply corded window furnishings in rental properties, and Property Managers who offer services in relation to those properties, must now comply with national Mandatory Product Standards designed to reduce the risk of strangulation of infants and young children.
The legislation is part of The Australian Consumer Law which came into effect on 1 January 2011 and incorporates The Trade Practices Act. It prescribes standards for child safety devices, mandatory warning labels and safety installation instructions.
Any corded window covering supplied by the Landlord such as Vertical Blinds, Venetian Blinds, Holland Blinds, Roman Blinds and Curtains must comply, even if they are second hand or already installed.
As a breach of the Mandatory Standards carries a potential fine of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 Million for companies, Landlords and Property Managers need to take their obligations seriously.
I recommend to you the services of Safer Property Solutions Pty Ltd, “SPS” who offer a specialist compliance inspection and retrofit installation service tailor made for Property Managers. SPS provides free advice on how to identify non-compliance and template letters that you can use to inform your landlords of their obligations.