Updating your Will

One of the most important factors when protecting your family is ensuring you have an up-to-date Will. Not only does life evolve, but there are some circumstances in which your Will might be revoked or ineffective and you will need to prepare a new one. Some circumstances may also revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney. Examples of circumstances include, without limitation:

  • Your financial circumstances change;
  • Your family circumstances change. For example, if you marry, start a new relationship, divorce, separate, or have children or grandchildren;
  • A beneficiary under your current Will dies;
  • An executor or trustee appointed under your current Will dies or becomes unsuitable to act due to age or ill-health;
  • You sell or give away assets that are specifically mentioned in your Will;
  • You buy or inherit significant assets;
  • You create self-managed superfunds, companies or trusts; or
  • The entities or structures you hold assets in change.

When updating your Will, it is important to revisit your entire estate plan to ensure that all of the assets that you control are properly dealt with. We work with you to create a detailed estate plan including assets that are generally not dealt with in your Will such as superannuation, family trusts or companies.

LET US HELP YOU!

You should revisit your Will regularly to make sure that it still gives effect to your wishes.

We are experienced in estate planning – either call us today or fill out the form below to ensure your family is protected.

Protect Your Kids By Securing Their Device

Hands up if you have a kid with access to a device! With so much access to everything at their fingertips, it can be hard to know what your kids are seeing and doing. So, if you want a little peace of mind, there are a few things you can do before they start swiping and scrolling away.

Whether your kids have an Android or an Apple device, take a moment to get to know their device so you are better equipped to monitor their activity. Enabling specific restrictions doesn’t limit them from the benefits of their devices, it just allows them to use them more safely (and gives YOU a little peace of mind).

The instructions below are related specifically to Apple devices. For Android (and Apple) users, be sure to scroll to the bottom for additional Cyber-Security related tips.

The first step to setting up your device is to Enable ‘Restrictions’ (Apple users: Go to Settings – General – Restrictions). When you choose to enable ‘Restrictions’, you will create and confirm a password before being able to make any of the changes mentioned below. Make sure to make it unique and occasionally change it to prevent children from disabling restrictions without your knowledge.

There are so many ways to customise Restrictions for kids so we wanted to help get you started with some of the more common options. Once you enable ‘Restrictions’, it might be good to have a look around and explore some of the options you have on your specific device.

Instructions for Apple devices:

YouTube:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Choose the ‘Allowed Content’

Safari:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Choose the ‘Allowed Content’

Turn Off In-App Purchases:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Turn Off ‘In-App’ Purchases

Disallowing Uploading or Deleting of Apps:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Switch off Installing or Deleting Apps – Not Green

Disable Safari Browser:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Switch off Safari- Not Green

Disable SPECIFIC Websites:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Allowed Content
  5. Click ‘Websites’
  6. Choose ‘Specific Websites Only’
  7. Select Allowed Websites

Guided Access:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Accessibility
  4. Guided Access
  5. Turn On (Make it Green)

Make iTunes Safe:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Restrictions
  4. Allowed Content – ‘Music, Podcasts & News’
  5. Turn Off ‘Explicit’ (Make not green)

Other Resources on Cyber Safety:

Cyber Safety:

https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-kids-safety-5-cybersafety-tips-every-parent-should-know.html

Safe Internet:

https://www.safesearchkids.com/cell-phone-safety-tips-for-tweens-and-teens/#.WytBTBIzaMI

YouTube:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-make-youtube-kids-safer-for-your-children/

You NEED A Will: Blended Families

There is no “one size fits all”  solution when it comes to estate planning because the dynamics and needs within families evolve and change over time.

Recently, we met with a client who was concerned about providing for their current partner and their children from a previous relationship. Our client wanted to make sure their children received a benefit whilst also protecting their current partner from any conflict or claim against them.

By listening carefully and understanding our client’s concerns, we were able to provide an estate planning strategy that included structuring the client’s property portfolio and superannuation.

Traditionally, a will states that the deceased’s estate is gifted to the surviving partner in the first instance or, upon the partner’s death, to the deceased’s children. This is generally inappropriate for blended families. Furthermore, if an adequate provision is not provided by an estate, an eligible beneficiary may make a family provision claim that could cause distress, delay and uncertainty.

LET US HELP YOU!

Many people struggle with the competing interests of past and present partners, biological children and step-children. We can help you identify your estate planning aims by discussing your circumstances and objectives.

Of course, the key to ensuring your wishes are outworked is regularly reviewing your estate planning in the event that anything changes.

We have experience in estate planning call us today or fill out the form below to discuss your Will and your wishes to ensure your family is provided for!

You NEED A Will: Directors and Shareholders

We often meet clients who do not realise the importance of estate planning where they are involved in a private company as a director and/or shareholder.

Recently, we met with a client to prepare their Will, they were ready to tell us about their intentions for their assets and children. However, when we tried to discuss their business succession, they had not thought about it or reviewed their company constitution and trust deeds to see if they provided any options. 

We know you work hard to ensure your business is thriving which is why it is important to consider every scenario. A death may leave your business without someone appropriate or properly authorised to immediately manage the business.

Our experience with small-to-medium businesses, coupled with our extensive Wills and Estates knowledge, allows us to develop tailored, practical, and holistic succession planning for you.

THE RISKS

If you do not have a Will – BEWARE! The following risks are just some of the lengthy and costly delays that may arise for your family and your business:

  • If there are other directors, your family may not continue to have a say in your business;
  • Your family may not receive distributions from the business;
  • There may be lengthy delays in making business decisions;
  • There may be an inability to continue operating your business;
  • Your business may be forced to cease trading;
  • Your business may be unable to pay employees or suppliers;
  • Your business may be unable to deal with banks or other institutions; and/or
  • If you are sole or majority shareholder, your business may not be sold because there is no recognised owner of the shares.

It is easy to see how the above risks could quickly have a disastrous effect on the reputation and value of your business.

Your family may be forced to apply for letters of administration to manage your estate which is both costly and time-consuming.

LET US HELP YOU!

 It is important to have appropriate succession planning mechanisms in place to ensure your wishes are carried out.

We have experience in both commercial law and succession law – if you plan to leave a lasting and stress-free business legacy to your family, call us today to discuss your business and your Will!

 

What to do if an Airbnb host cancels your booking

Booking a holiday soon? Airbnb can be a great option whether booking an entire home or just a room, but there is always a chance your booking could get cancelled; in fact, it is the TOP complaint on their website.

Frustrating and inconvenient as it might be, you have two options:

1. Transfer your payment to a NEW Airbnb booking

If you select a new Airbnb booking, the full amount you originally paid will be available to use on a new booking along with any eligible credit*. If your new reservation costs less than your original booking, you will be refunded the difference.

If your new reservation costs MORE, Airbnb says online “If you choose to rebook and the new place you book costs more, we may help by covering a portion of the difference.”

*The amount of credit you receive for a cancelled booking varies and it will only be available for use on another Airbnb booking. That amount cannot be refunded.

2. Get a full refund

If your host cancels your booking and you need to book accomodation elsewhere, you are entitled to a full refund. The option for a full refund is available in the ‘My Trips’ section of the site. Find your cancelled reservation and request a refund.

A few more things…

DO NOT cancel the booking, even if the host asks you to do so. In order to receive the refund or credit, the host must cancel the booking.

If they are not communicating with you, Airbnb support is available to help and will do so promptly. If you have a concern, it’s best to communicate with Airbnb.

Hosts get penalised for cancelling a booking and will not be allowed to rebook for those dates if they cancel on their end. They receive a payout deduction, an automatic review added to their listing to indicate that they cancelled the booking and potential account deactivation.

You will only be entitled to a full refund and/or credit if the HOST cancels.

Airbnb monitors their community and if a host is consistently cancelling bookings at the last minute, they could become suspended from the site and it will help prevent other people from experiencing the same inconvenience you did. It helps keep them honest.

For more Airbnb help, visit: https://www.airbnb.com.au/help

 

This information current at time of posting.

Productivity Hacks – A few ways you can work smarter right now

There’s a never ending amount of things to accomplish in a day and it can be really challenging to tick off all the things on your to-do list.

We can all benefit from finding ways to become more productive in our lives; especially those of you starting or running a small business. We are passionate about the power of small business in the community and hope these tips help can you to work smarter so you can get more done.

Thankfully, some professionals in the workplace have offered some really valuable insight into how to increase efficiency and productivity – Storytelling Expert, Nick Bowditch, theright.fit and WINK Models Founder and CEO, Taryn Williams, and The Big Smoke’s CEO and Publisher, Alexandra Tselios.

The Three Hour Rule

Storytelling Expert, Nick Bowditch believes the answer to productivity lies in outsourcing tasks you can’t get your head around.

“I don’t try to learn how to do something that someone else can do if it’s going to take more than three hours to learn it.” Nick says. “For instance, if I want to learn how to create a landing page for my website, and it’s going to take me more than three hours to learn how to create a landing page for my website, it’s more efficient and productive for me to get someone else to do it.

“I don’t try to learn how to do something that someone else can do if it’s going to take more than three hours to learn it.”

“It doesn’t make sense for me to waste those hours if I could be doing other things.”

In addition to his productivity hacks, he also has some tips for finding ways to find inspiration when he hits a block. Nick says, “I drain inspiration and ideation from everything around me, if I’m trying to write something and it’s not coming, a walk in the sun, a swim in the ocean or a couple of hours watching Netflix can often be the impetus I need to get stuff done. Other people’s creativity often spurs my own.”

Frogs Are Best, Fresh

One of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs, Taryn Williams, believes multitasking is out, ‘no’ templates are in and ‘eating the frog’ will save you a lot of time and money.

Taryn Williams of theright.fit and Founder and CEO of WINK Models Founder and CEO says, “We all have that one task we put off because we don’t want to do it or it’s a big piece of work,” Taryn says. “I call it ‘eating the frog’ because it’s the last thing you actually want to do.

“So, each day, I list my ‘eat the frog’ item and get it done first thing in the morning, while I’m still fresh, before the chaos of the day unfolds. It’s a great way to start the day knowing you’ve crossed it off the list and can move on to more enjoyable items.”

“Each day, I list my ‘eat the frog’ item and get it done first thing in the morning, while I’m still fresh.”

Taryn is also a big fan of Trello for project management and utilises a ‘no’ template for those sticky conversations.

“I am terrible at saying no,” she laughs. “I had to get someone to write me a template that I can use! It’s easy to get caught up in attending meetings that aren’t the best use of your time, speaking at events – so I have a no template that is your go to that is a polite ‘thanks but I can’t right now’ so you’re not tempted to default to a yes.”

Toss the Watch

Alexandra Tselios, Entrepreneur and founder of digital opinion platform, The Big Smoke, claims her AH-HA moment for productivity hit her at 2am.

“In the early years of my company, I would be up at 2am trying to solve an issue, and obviously by 5-6am, I was exhausted and overwhelmed,” Alexandra says. “I would do this for months at a time but it’s not sustainable, and you have to manage yourself well”

“My dad was the guy who reminded me about the 11th hour, that I haven’t come this far to fail now and would tell me to shut off the issue when I can no longer actively fix it, or at least have the brainpower to try and solve it.

“Sometimes we get so stuck on a problem that it not only remains a problem, but also impacts our productivity from lack of sleep and stress causing even bigger issues to solve that seem insurmountable.”

Alexandra keeps a really busy, around the clock schedule and believes that removing the usual boundaries in regard to time have helped propel her efficiency.

“Many won’t agree with me on this,” she laughs. “But, if it’s 6pm on a Friday, that doesn’t mean you get to switch off if you have opportunities and responsibilities outstanding. I don’t know of any small business owners who can afford the luxury of switching off all weekend, I imagine switching off all weekend could result in your business remaining small.

“If it’s 6pm on a Friday, that doesn’t mean you get to switch off if you have opportunities and responsibilities outstanding.”

“I work seven days a week, as do many of my team. However, we are flexible with our lives, and not confined by a 9-5pm Mon-Fri timeframe for work.”

 

Originally published on Cairns Post 03/04/2018

 

Beware: Advice from Gumtree ‘lawyers’ could have you barking up the wrong tree!

Would you take legal advice from a “lawyer” offering his/her services through a Gumtree ad?

The situation seems laughable, but a recent case dealt with an uncertified lay-advocate who had offering advice and services on Gumtree under the guise he was a certified legal practitioner.

The Western Australian Supreme Court decision in Van Der Feltz v Legal Practice Board (2017) resulted in the arm-chair expert being slapped with a $20,000 fine!

The court sent a clear warning to others undertaking similar activities, stating legal work can only be undertaken by a lawyer acting pursuant to the relevant Legal Profession Act in their state.

The Queensland Law Society has warned of a growing number of uncertified people offering cheap or even free legal advice and assistance online.

The QLS advised that engaging an unqualified person poses a number of risks, and may even end up increasing your costs! Such risks include:

  • Your right to confidentiality is not guaranteed
  • Your right to privilege cannot be assured
  • Unqualified practitioners cannot obtain insurance, while qualified solicitors are required to
  • And, non-certified practitioners are not bound by any codes of conduct or ethics

In Queensland a solicitor is required to hold a practising certificate to be legally allowed to give advice.

You can check that your legal representative is certified by contacting the Queensland Law Society or accessing the QLS website.

At Brandon and Gullo Lawyers, our certified lawyers ensure the advice we give our clients is accurate and in line with the latest developments in the law, so that you can be confident in the legal process ahead of you. Your peace of mind and confidence in your legal team is our number one priority.

If you need advice on a Personal Injury, Business Law, Wills and Estates or a Litigation matter, give our team a call on (07) 5479 4733 or email us at info@bglaw.com.au.

Dispute Resolution Clauses – Why You Need One in Your Business Contract

The commercial reality of business is that even the most agreeable of parties, can butt heads over issues arising in the course of operations. If disagreements aren’t resolved quickly and effectively, it can have a huge effect on your business. This is why including a dispute resolution clause in your business contract is so important.

A dispute resolution clause sets out how the parties involved in the contract will resolve a dispute. It allows a clear view of the process from the outset, which can help preserve your business relationship, keep things professional, and save time and costs associated with drawn-out disputes. A well-drafted dispute resolution clause can help you bring your disagreement to an end before you need to engage lawyers, or undertake formal court processes.

Dispute resolution clauses need to be clear, unambiguous and set out a process which the parties are to follow. As such, they should be drafted deliberately and carefully according the particulars of your business arrangement and the contract, rather than simply using a templated version.

A dispute resolution clause which is not well thought-out will not be effective if and when it comes time to actually use it.

So, how do you draft a dispute resolution clause which is specific to your business arrangements?

  1. Get good legal advice!

A lawyer will know the ins and outs of dispute resolution methods and terminology. They will also be able to help you identify some of the potential disputes which could arise and the legal scenarios they would create.

  1. Make the clause a precedent to formal court action.

A dispute resolution clause cannot prevent either party from commencing court proceedings. However, it should be clear that the clause provides an alternative dispute resolution process which is a condition precedent to litigation (i.e. – undertaken before litigation is commenced). An aggrieved party may still apply directly to the court however an application may be made to “Stay” proceedings and to enforce the dispute resolution process prior to court.

  1. Anticipate problems which may arise.

Think about the kind of problems that may arise under your particular business contract. Which parties would be involved? What are the potential issues? What would each party’s interests be in these problems? What would the key factors in the resolution of the problems be? (For example – timeliness? Cost?

  1. Include key details:
    Most dispute resolution clauses typically include the following:
  • The way in which a party is to provide notice to other parties to the contract that there is a dispute, and the nature of the dispute. This will trigger the dispute resolution process to begin.
  • A single tiered, or multi-tiered, approach to resolution:
    • The first step in the resolution process, for example a meeting to negotiate.
    • The next step in the resolution process, if the parties were unable to resolve their dispute at step one. The process used in step two will depend on your unique needs, but commonly it is mediation. If mediation is chosen, the clause should stipulate who will mediate the dispute, or how a mediator will be chosen; the timeframe of when mediation is to take place; any guidelines on how the mediation will be conducted; and how the parties will meet the cost of the mediation.
  • Guidelines for when the dispute resolution process is at an end and, if unsuccessful, the parties may commence formal court proceedings.
  • What jurisdiction any litigation should be commenced in.

As always, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice to assist you in drafting a dispute resolution clause which is specific to your business needs, and can help you save time, money and preserve your business relationships.

You can contact Brandon and Gullo Lawyers for legal advice regarding Business Contracts on (07) 5479 4733.

Smooth Sailing for Pirate-Blocking Legislation

Most of us will remember the landmark case last December in which the Federal Court ordered various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take steps to disable access to some of the biggest movie and TV show pirating websites.

It was a major win for the Australian film and Music industry, which had reported big losses due to pirating.

The two proceedings heard together from Village Roadshow and Foxtel were the first decided under the (then) newly introduced section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), which enabled the court to grant an injunction for ISPs to block overseas websites which have the primary purpose of infringing copyright.

The decision resulted in the disabling of access to a heap of notorious websites such as SolarMovie, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound and IsoHunt.

Since then, the legislation has affected another giant in the pirating industry – KickassTorrents. In a case which relates to music copyright, Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd was successful in having ISPs ordered to block access to Kickass Torrents in April this year.

Australia’s major rights holders including Foxtel, movie distributor Village Roadshow, and music corporation Universal Music, have all filed and won site blocking applications over the last 12 months.

The latest case is part of a broader industry strategy to systemically knock large piracy websites off the internet.

And it seems to be working; Village Roadshow this year hailed their win in last year’s case as a great success.

“Access to The Pirate Bay website has been blocked, resulting in a dramatic reduction in downloads from that site,” the company said in February.

Other sites have reported the slow in illegal downloads may be due to the rise in Netflix, Stan and other legal streaming services.

It seems the stormy seas of pirating may be calming at last.

The 2017 Queensland Budget – How Will it Affect Commercial and Residential Property?

The recent Queensland Government budget saw a number of changes introduced in relation to both commercial and residential properties.

The suite of changes, most of which took effect on June 16 2017, had some positives and some negatives.

The major positive for those on the lookout for their first home was the extension of the First Home Owner’s Grant. The temporary increase to the amount of the grant from $15,000 to $20,000 will be extended another six months.

This means the $20,000 grant will be available for eligible applicants who enter into contracts up until 31 December 2017. This is great news for those looking to either buy or build their first house, unit or townhouse valued at under $750,000.

There is also good news for tenants of some commercial properties, and not so good news for the landlords of said properties. Changes to the Land Tax Act will restore a prohibition on landlords passing on the cost of land tax on commercial leases entered into after January 1992 and before 30 June 2009.

Other amendments to land tax include an absentee surcharge of 1.5% imposed on people who don’t ordinarily reside in Australia but are liable to pay land tax in Queensland. This tax will take effect in the new financial year.

Finally, there have been some changes to the Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty (AFAD), which foreign acquirers of residential land are liable to pay.

The AFAD applies to foreign acquirers who are acquiring certain types of residential land in Queensland, such as homes and apartments, vacant land on which a home or apartment will be built, properties that have been refurbished or renovated for residential use and land for residential developments.

The budget amendments will mean the duty will apply even when the purchase is made by an Australian person acting as an ‘agent’ for the foreign purchaser. It will also apply to pre-incorporation contracts if the intended ultimate transferee is a foreign corporation.

You can contact Brandon and Gullo Lawyers for like legal advice regarding commercial and residential land and property on (07) 5479 4733.