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Our Team2018-08-30T09:03:47+09:30

Our Team

Our clients tend to be people who take business personally. As we do.

They are entrepreneurs who feel deeply emotional about the successes and failures of their business, and investors who have expended significant blood, sweat and tears in building their wealth.

These people are not the type who hire IBM just because no one ever got fired for hiring IBM.

They come to us because it is their choice.  They want the best commercial outcome, without all the fluff.  They appreciate that we invest our resources in the best legal talent, and modern business systems, rather than in designer furniture for our foyer.

They appreciate the fact we have assembled one of Australia’s most uniquely qualified and experienced teams to service this market.

‘UPEs’ and ‘FMDs’, and your estate planning

What is, and what is not, in your personal estate? This may sound like a academic question not worthy of a lot of thought. However, if you are in estate planning mode, it is critical that you answer this question correctly.

‘Tag-along’, ‘drag-along’ and other strange rights

When you first read these clauses it isn’t always clear what they are trying to achieve, and why you would include them in your Shareholders Agreement (or Constitution).

“Show me the money!”: Tread carefully with loans to children

People are more aware – and wary – than ever of family law issues in relation to their assets. More and more couples seek binding financial agreements to protect their assets, or put off living together or marrying to minimise their financial exposure.

5 practical reasons you need ‘Terms & Conditions’ in place before you trade?

You think you know what's expected of you. Your customer thinks they know what they're getting. But who's right? If you don't have 'Terms & Conditions' in place, chances are you're both mistaken. Avoid the argument and take the time now to put clear Terms & Conditions in place before you start trading.

5 things to consider when preparing or updating your incorporated association’s rules

If you are involved with an incorporated association or considering setting one up, then chances are you have come across the term ‘model rules’. Did you know that you do not have to use the model rules? Incorporated associations can choose to write their own rules. Here are 5 things to consider when preparing or updating your incorporated association’s rules.

5 things you need to know about ‘vendor finance’

Whether you are buying or selling a business, the chances are that 'vendor funding' will play an important role in getting the deal done. This article discusses 5 issues that should be considered by a seller when using vendor finance in a business sale.

Accountants now liable for Fair Work breaches made by clients

The Fair Work Ombudsman has won its first case against an accountant being ‘knowingly involved’ in the workplace breaches of his client. The accountant could now face up to $357,000 in penalties, as though he committed the breaches himself. Find out what you can do to avoid this problem.

Are trusts a ‘tax loophole’ exploited by the wealthy?

People who say this are just demonstrating their ignorance. Here’s why. The ability to use a trust as a ‘tax loophole’ was pretty much closed out in the 1970-80s. To suggest that trusts somehow make tax disappear for the ‘wealthy’ is plain silly.

Are you an ‘employee’ or ‘independent contractor’, and why should you care?

Over the past couple of decades there has been a clear shift away from ‘traditional employment’, and towards people acting as independent contractors or ‘freelancing’. This has important impacts on both 'employees' and 'employers'.

Are you first in line? Understanding ‘pre-emption’ clauses

Well drafted 'pre-emption' clauses in a Shareholders Agreement or Constitution provide you with important protections. But there are a number of potential traps that you need to be aware of.

Are you going to be personally responsible for your company’s debts? We explain how to make sure you are protected.

The personal consequences of insolvency for directors continue to deepen. Set out in this article are some indicators of when you should be taking advice on your potential exposures.

Are you handing your clients to your ex-employees and key-competitors on a platter?

LinkedIn and other social media networking sites have their uses, and can be good for ‘profile’ building. But the question is – can you afford to lose control of your business contacts and spend time building value for another business, the social media site?

Are you paying for your grandchildren’s school fees?

If you're paying for your grandchildren's education costs, then you're not alone. But is this financial support a 'gift' or a 'loan' to your children? If this is left in any doubt, then bitter family disputes will arise. Take the time now to make sure the ground rules are clear.

Are you ready to sell your business?

If you're thinking of selling your business, we bet there are 2 key outcomes you are looking for: 1. Getting the highest purchase price possible; and 2. Being able to make a clean break from the business, so you can think about something else (and maybe even relax or take a holiday). These outcomes are both realistic and achievable, but it will take some planning before you put the business up for sale.

Are your trade secrets walking out the door?

Losing an employee, whether by dismissal or resignation, is never easy. But it’s even harder when the employee walks out the door with a head (and possibly a briefcase or USB) full of your confidential information.

Avoid Additional Stamp Duty in Victoria – Exclude Foreign Beneficiaries from Your Discretionary Trust

The Victorian State Revenue Office (SRO) has announced that from 1 March 2020 it has adopted a new approach in applying the ‘foreign purchaser additional duty’ (FPAD) provisions of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) to discretionary trusts. Make sure you don't get caught by this additional 8% of duty.

Avoid Surcharge Land Tax in NSW – Exclude Foreign Beneficiaries from Your Discretionary Trust

If you hold residential land in NSW in a discretionary trust, chances are you will be subject to surcharge land tax due to changes that take effect at midnight on 31 December 2019. We can help you avoid the surcharge.

Before you get appointed, get prepared

Who wants to be a director? Not an easy question to answer these days, with over 700 laws that can make you personally liable for various actions (or inactions) of your company. This article provides some handy safeguards to consider before you agree to become a director.

Binding Financial Agreements – The basics

A ‘Binding Financial Agreement’ is a way for couples to put in writing what they would like to happen to their property if their relationship breaks down, or if their relationship has already broken down and can avoid costly disputes.

Bullet-Proof Your Business Seminar – 10 April 2013

Join us for breakfast on 10 April at 7.00am and hear about how to keep the wealth you are building in your business. For many SMEs the value you are building in your business represents your nest egg for retirement. The difficulty you face is that the place where you are building your wealth is also the place where you are exposed to the most risk. If you do not manage this conflict you risk throwing away the fruits of your hard work.

Business succession and your super fund

Sometimes people look to their super fund as a means of funding life insurance for a business buy-sell arrangement. This is possible, but there are some tricks and traps to be aware of...

Can the trustee of your discretionary ‘family’ trust make a distribution to itself?

The short answer is that it depends on whether the trustee first falls within the class of potential beneficiaries, and then whether the trustee is specifically excluded from benefiting.

Can your partner change their Will after you die?

Just because you and your partner make 'mirror Wills' does not mean that your partner cannot change their Will (either before or after you die). Furthermore, your partner does not have an obligation to inform you if they do change their Will. Find out how to deal with these issues.

Careful what you say about the future – misleading representations

It’s not unusual to make a decision to enter into an agreement, based on a statement or promise by the other party about what the future will hold. Then when that promise doesn’t hold or ring true, you could find yourself out of pocket.

Company Constitutions v Shareholders Agreement

When people go into business together it’s common for them to enter into a Shareholders’ Agreements to govern how they will own and administer their company. Our preference is to use a tailored version of the company’s ‘Constitution’ as the primary instrument to regulate the affairs of a company. Our reasons are:

Critical clauses in employment contracts

In this article, we will discuss some of the critical clauses that are often missing from basic employment documents. We will cover what each critical clause does and why it is important, and the potential consequences of not including the clause in your employment documents.

Dealing with the 8 common excuses why you haven’t been paid

If your customers are not paying your invoices on time this may indicate they are under financial stress – which should be of a concern. However, more often, it merely demonstrates a lack of respect. In either case, dealing with late payment excuses quickly and firmly is needed to set your relationship back on track.

Do I have to refund the deposit? ‘Event cancelled!’

COVID-19 has meant that weddings, parties and celebratory events are being cancelled all over the country.  In many cases these events are merely postponed, but if you are a caterer, party planner or event manager, the question you need answering is ‘do I have to refund the deposit?’

Do you and your spouse have more than $1.6 million (in total) in super?

Everyone gets a $1.6 million cap on the assets that can support a tax-free super pension. You and your spouse each get a separate cap. But super pensions that pass to you from your spouse when they die may put you over your cap. This will have adverse tax outcomes. You need to plan for this as part of your estate planning.

Empathy trumps raw intelligence

I read recently that if your business model relies on 'restricted access to information', then in the internet age, you are as good as dead. We live in a time of almost complete democratisation of information - and this trend is only accelerating. The natural traits of empathy, humility and real interest are critical to being a good lawyer. Skills in active listening, industry knowledge and commercial experience are more important than ever.

Essential things you need to know about SMSFs with only 1 member

This briefing note discusses your options for appointing a trustee for your self-managed super fund, and what happens if you lose mental capacity, die, or leave the country.

Estée Lauder

When you stop talking, you've lost your customer. When you turn your back, you've lost her. Young Estée Lauder (born 1907, died 2004), was born to immigrant parents in the Corona, Queens section of New York City. She began experimenting as a child with skin treatments her uncle cooked up.

Fancy giving your tenant’s creditors your security bond?

By now, everyone has heard about the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), which came online on 30 January 2012, (well, we hope so!). However, the implications of the new registration system are still not widely known.

Farmers, how can you protect yourself if a customer doesn’t pay?

It's always nice to make a sale - but the fun soon ends if you don't end up getting paid. You need to ensure that your 'terms of trade' protect your interests, and you also need to ensure these interests are register on the PPSR. Find out how.

First-quarter employment law tune-up

The end of the first calendar quarter for the year is fast approaching, and this is a great time to think about improving your employment processes and procedures.  To get you started, these are our favourite employment law 'nuts and bolts' that may need some tightening.

Fixed term contracts masterclass

In Australia, there are 3 main types of employment contracts: permanent (full-time or part-time), casual, and fixed term (whether full-time or part-time). This article focuses on fixed term contracts.

Getting your estate planning up-to-date. Part 1: Ownership of Assets

One of the reasons you accumulate assets and savings is to ensure your loved ones are adequately looked after when you die. Your accountant is likely to have put in place strategies to save you tax and protect your assets. But without proper planning, this can mean that your assets don't end up in the hands of the people you intend. FInd out more.

Getting your estate planning up-to-date. Part 2: Who gets what?

In this article we cover the important questions you need to answer to put in place an effective Will, namely: why should you make a Will, who gets what, how do you fairly divide your assets if you are in a 'blended family, and who you will need to involve in your estate plan? Time to act!

Getting your estate planning up-to-date. Part 3: What happens if you’re incapacitated for a period of time?

If you are incapacitated for a period of time, things won't stand still and wait for you to recover. Someone still needs to manage your legal and financial affairs, and others will need to make personal and healthcare decisions for you. Do you have the necessary documents in place to make this happen, and avoid the need for your loved ones to apply to the Government for help? If not, read this.

Henry Ford, Industrialist

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Hey founder, are you being left behind?

Founding a company is a lot easier than retaining control of it. Part of your journey will necessarily involve other people. First, it may be a co-founder. Then family and friend investors, and ultimately professional investors. During this evolution, the chances of you being left behind, and things getting out of control, increase exponentially. We’ll help you get back in control, with a binding entitlement to what you’re worth.

How do I comply with my parenting orders during the COVID-19 crisis?

Many parenting orders put in place by the Family Court may not be able to be strictly complied with during the recent and ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic. The Family Court has issued advice to parents who cannot practically comply with parenting orders already in place or who feel that for the safety of their child, the orders should not be followed at this current time.

How do I protect my ‘ideas’?

Most people realise the importance of protecting their Intellectual Property. But ‘ideas’ and ‘concepts’ aren't a form of IP, as there is no 'property' capable of being protected. Don't despair, there are ways to protect and exploit your interests.

How do I use superannuation to minimise taxes, protect and build wealth and provide tax-effective benefits for me and my family in my retirement and on my death?

Superannuation is now an important part of all wealth-building and retirement strategies. We discuss the key issues that you should consider when setting up your superannuation strategy to make sure you and your family get the full benefit that superannuation can offer.

How effective is your Enduring Power of Attorney? You may be surprised…

Most people understand the importance of making an Enduring Power of Attorney. If you are not able to make financial decisions for yourself, your Enduring Attorney can step into your shoes and keep things in order on your behalf. However, not all Enduring Powers of Attorney are created equal.

How should you deal with employees as part of a business sale?

Dealing with employees and their entitlements as part of a business sale or acquisition is not straight-forward. There are plenty of traps and tricks for the uninitiated. Find out what you need to know.

How to make sure the wealth in your family trust ends up where you intend

How do I ensure that the assets in our “family trust” end up being shared among my children in a fair and appropriate manner? How do I pass control of my trust to the next generation, or control over specific assets? What are the tax consequences of passing on trust assets now, or when I die? Find out here.

How to use gift cards and vouchers to get you through these difficult times

We all want to support our local businesses during this period of ‘social distancing’. One way for us to do this it is to purchase ‘vouchers’ or ‘gift cards’ from our local merchants. If you are in business and you want to put a voucher scheme in place, read this to find out how.

I want to set up a charity to raise money for people overseas. Where do I start?

If you want to do charitable work or raise funds to help people living overseas, you should carefully consider your options to make sure your aid is targeted to where it's most needed.

I’m a ‘start-up’. How should I set up my new business?

So you've just come up with a great business concept, given it a test-drive among your family and friends, and now want to go to the next stage. What do you do? You need to put together the 'playing field' for your venture. In other words, you need a 'business structure'.

I’m setting up a not-for-profit organisation. What’s the best structure to use?

We are commonly asked what's the best structure to use when setting up a new charity or other 'not-for-profit' (NFP) organisation. While incorporated associations and public companies limited by guarantee are often suitable, they are not the only options, and there is no easy 'one size fits all' answer.

I’m an executor, what do I do?

Disputes involving executors of deceased estates are increasing. Usually, a trusted family member or friend appointed as an executor is just trying to do the right thing by their loved one. So, what are they doing wrong? Read on to find out how you must perform your duties as an executor.

If you saw it on an episode of Mad Men, don’t do it…

Sexual harassment can cost a business dearly in terms of lost productivity, staff turnover, recruitment costs, legal fees and court awarded damages. Two recent court cases have shown us that courts are now prepared to make increasingly large awards to compensate victims of sexual harassment. Here we give you the tools to identify sexual harassment in the workplace, and provide the steps you need to take to prevent it.

If you see the word ‘indemnity’ in a contract – SEEK LEGAL ADVICE IMMEDIATELY

Indemnities are often treated like a ‘standard’ or ‘boilerplate’ contract clause, when they are anything but. If they are ignored or overlooked, you could be in trouble when something goes wrong. However, when used properly, indemnity clauses can help you to manage your risk when entering into an agreement.

Is your commercial lease compliant with the PPSR regime?

Is your commercial lease compliant with the PPSR regime? You need to know the answer to this question. Everyone has heard about the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), which came online on 30 January 2012. The implications of the new registration system are still not widely known. For many people the need for registration is only discovered after it is too late.

Is your dental practice in need of a brush and floss?

We have a lot of dentist clients who have downed tools during the Level 3 restrictions. One thing they have in common is that they’re making lemonade out of lemons and getting their practices ‘shipshape’ for when the restrictions are downgraded back to Level 1 or 2. If this sounds like you, read on!

It’s official. Super isn’t part of your estate.

Your super doesn't form part of your estate, and is not subject to the terms of your Will. It's therefore critical to have in place appropriate arrangements to make sure your super ends up where you intend.

Lending to family members: How to avoid the pitfalls

So you want to help a family member under financial strain? What starts out with the best intentions can soon result is family disharmony. Confusion about whether the advance is a loan or gift can quickly result in argument. The tragedy is that this is so easy to avoid if you take some simple precautions from the outset.

Marijuana anyone? The ins and outs of employee drug testing

Employers have long struggled with the balance between an employee’s responsibilities at work and their right to a life outside of work. This has often given rise to the question of whether an employer can discipline employees for recreational activities conducted outside of working hours.

Mind the gap: private child support agreements and how they can work for you

If you are separating from your spouse, and assuming the primary role of looking after your kids, then one of the most important issues you need to understand is how child support works. At its most basic level, the purpose of child support is to protect your kids from the economic impact of your separation. There are both advantages and disadvantages to private child support agreements, depending on your circumstances and what you hope to achieve by entering into one.

Modern employment awards – are you a risky business?

Picture this: You are a small business owner. After getting through the first five years of trade, you are starting to see returns on the time, emotion and finances that you have invested into the business. Then a document comes in the mail and your fortune turns on its head. You are faced with a claim by a former employee and you realise your business is faced with an unexpected liability worth thousands of dollars. All due to a clause nested in a Modern Award that you had simply overlooked or misunderstood. Here’s how to avoid becoming that business.

My trust is expiring – can I get an extension?

We all love our trusts, but unfortunately they don't last forever. They have an ‘expiry date’.  When you reach this date, the Trust ends and its property must be distributed to beneficiaries. Before this time you need to consider who will be entitled to the assets, and what tax and stamp duty liabilities may be triggered. You also need to see if the date can be extended...

New South Wales Stamp Duty Concessions on Transfer of Property from a Member to a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund

In certain circumstances you can now transfer NSW real property to your super fund with only nominal stamp duty.

Our answers to your top 5 questions about Private Ancillary Funds

Do you want to be more strategic in your charitable giving, make a real impact on the community and create a lasting legacy as part of your family’s story? Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) can be a great option to achieve these goals. To help you decided whether PAF is right for you, we’ve pulled together our answers to 5 questions we are frequently asked by those considering establishing a PAF.

Our top 5 tips for creating an effective social media policy for employees

A clear and comprehensive social media policy is essential to set the guidelines of what you expect from your employees. Here are our top five tips for creating an effective social media policy for your SME business.

Podcast Review: Rhonda Patrick with Satchin Panda on biological clocks

In this podcast Dr Rhonda Patrick interviews Dr Satchin Panda on 'biological clocks' and the circadian rhythm. This material has day-to-day application for all of us - how to sleep better, eat better and generally optimise things with nothing more than a better understanding of how important our body clocks are to our general overall health.

Raising money in Australia – our brief guide to the legal issues

Irrespective of why or how, raising money in Australia is a heavily regulated activity, with severe penalties for people who do not comply with the rules. There are rules for both the party raising the money and for people who assist them.

Separation and your estate planning

When you are separating for your spouse or partner, it's easy to get bogged down in negotiations about your kids and dividing up your property. But don't forget your estate planning - otherwise you may just end up leaving your former partner the biggest gift of them all.

Sharpcan Case Update – Revenue expenditure or capital expenditure?

Our opinion about the Sharpcan case (Commissioner of Taxation v Sharpcan Pty Ltd [2018] FCAFC 163), being a Federal Court case from late 2018 (a copy of the full judgment can be found here: https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/pdf/misc-case/rdr_2018fcafc163.pdf).

Should you own your farmland in Super?

A common frustration experienced by primary producers is that they cannot use their super savings in their business. Not being able to access your retirement savings until you are 60 (generally) and retired, can feel like you are diverting capital away from where it is needed. One way around this issue is to own farmland in your Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).

Significantly reduce the risk of unfair dismissal claims by following these 6 rules of effective employee management

Plan how you are going to terminate an employee when you first take them on. Reduce the risk of an unfair dismissal claim, and make an otherwise unpleasant experience that bit easier. We have spoken to many employers who wish they had planned more carefully from the outset.