Below are a number of case studies based on our experiences here at Bradley Lawyers. These examples were chosen because they reinforce the importance of receiving accurate and timely legal advice in order to protect you, your family and your assets.
Do You Have A Will? Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Earlier this year a client’s son passed away soon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Prior to his death, the deceased indicated verbally that a Will presented to him for signing was in accordance with his wishes; however, he never had the opportunity to sign the Will before independent witnesses, and thus died without an executed Will.
As the deceased had no spouse or children, under the rules of intestacy his father, our client, was the sole beneficiary of the Estate. This was an undesirable outcome for the family, as the father’s pension would have been affected and he preferred that the siblings of the deceased, his other children, benefit from the Estate rather than himself.
Fortunately, we are able to prove the unsigned Will by establishing to the Supreme Court’s satisfaction that it may dispense with the formalities of signing required and admit it to Probate. While we managed to achieve a successful outcome for our client, the costs to the Estate were much higher than if the deceased had executed a valid Will prior to his death.
Are You Fully Aware of Your Director’s Duties?
A client was recently referred to us by his accountant. He had accepted directorship of a family company after family members had applied pressure on him to do so. Enquiries established that these family members were recently bankrupted as a result of other business activities so could not remain as directors.
The client had no knowledge of or access to information regarding any possible financial liabilities of the company. Other than the risk of being held personally liable if the company were trading insolvent, the Federal Government recently amended rules which potentially hold directors personally liabile for any unpaid company taxes, specifically PAYG and Superannuation Guarantee.
We acted quickly to have him removed as a Company Director and notified the company’s accountant that the company was without a Director.
If you are invited to become a Company Director, it is imperative that you carry out full due diligence so that you are aware of the potential financial and legal risks you may be exposed to, and held liable for. In this situation we are able to act before the client’s potential liabilities became actual liabilities.