Archives 2017-11-23T11:11:54+00:00

Blog Archive

Take a look at the articles we have published so far:

February 2018

January 2018

The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) in a nutshell

The Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) is the legislation that governs everything about security interests in personal property, which is almost all property that is not land. The broad purpose of the PPSA is to create a system for the registration of security interests, which is searchable by anyone and which can then be enforced against other parties.  This register has been formed as the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR).

December 2017

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.

November 2017

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.

September 2017

Thinking of buying a hotel or pub? Read this first.

Like any business, hotels have several moving ‘parts’ that need to work together so that the machine runs smoothly. If you are thinking of buying a hotel or similar hospitality business, make sure you are familiar with these unique features before you sign on the dotted line.

What the doctor ordered: dealing with employee medical records

We are often asked what rights an employer has to require their employees to undergo a medical assessment or provide their medical records.  The answer is usually not straightforward, as there are some serious personal and privacy issues to consider. The question comes down to striking a balance.

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

What do I need to know about setting up a Public (or Private) Ancillary Fund?

An 'Ancillary Fund' is a special type of trust that can be used to collect and distribute donations for charitable purposes. The Fund can be set up through a trust deed while you are alive, or through your Will. Importantly, the Fund does not undertake charitable work itself, but can be used as a collection point to pool donations and then distribute them to charities and causes, as decided by the trustees.

May 2017

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.

Some less obvious observations about the 1 July super changes…

As most people now know, from 1 July 2017 the amount a super fund member can have in a pension account will be capped at $1.6 million. There has been a lot of general commentary on these changes, but little deeper analysis of the details.

April 2017

March 2017

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.

“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.

February 2017

‘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.

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.

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.

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.

Take-it or leave-it (or perhaps ‘void-it’)? Some things to consider in your Website Development Agreements

Website developers understand very clearly the notion of the ‘information architecture’ of a website, yet not all of them get it when it comes to the architecture of the service agreement they enter with their clients

January 2017

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.

December 2016

November 2016

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'.

What to pack? Our 7 steps to leaving a relationship

Your relationship is over, and you want out. But you aren’t sure what you need to organise before you leave. Hopefully this doesn't sound familiar - but if it does, we recommend you read-on... In this article we set out our 7 steps to leaving, which we hope will help you through this difficult transition. These steps will also help someone assisting a relative, friend or client through this process.

October 2016

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.

August 2016

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.

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

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.

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.

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.

April 2016

March 2016

Work Communications Policy

Our gift to you is our Work Communications Policy, which is designed to be a set of fundamental rules for an SME to adopt internally to ensure that the quality of its communications is regulated. Click on the link to download a copy of the Policy to adopt in your workplace today.

February 2016

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.

January 2016

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.

What is a Testamentary Trust and why would I need one?

When you give an outright gift to someone under your Will, the beneficiary receives the gift from your executor, with no strings attached. The beneficiary can do what they like with it. If you impose any rules on the gift, then you have effectively created a 'testamentary trust', and things get a little more complicated.

November 2015

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.

October 2015

August 2015

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.

‘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).

We’re the losers in the winner-takes-all strategy game…

Everyone is playing a winner-takes-all game – at your cost. Microsoft, Google and Apple are trying to own you, and keep you from being ‘part-owned’ by the other guys, and they have been playing this game for years.

July 2015

June 2015

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...

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.

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?

May 2015

What is a Special Disability Trust and why would you need one?

A Special Disability Trust (SDT) is a special type of trust that allows parents and immediate family members to plan for current and future needs of a person with severe disability. The trust can pay for reasonable care, accommodation and other discretionary needs of the beneficiary during their lifetime.

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.

April 2015

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.

March 2015

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.

February 2015

January 2015

November 2014

October 2014

August 2014

June 2014

March 2014

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.

February 2014

January 2014

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.

November 2013

October 2013

Getting ‘Hitched’ in Business Seminar – 6 November 2014

We continue our practical seminar series with a presentation about going into business with other people. Going into business with others can be one of the most rewarding things you do - whether they be family, friends or third parties. Sharing the highs and spreading the lows is much more fun. Ultimately this seminar is about preserving your relationships with your business partners.

September 2013

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.

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.

July 2013

Will you ever realise the value within your business?

If you’re like me you pour your life and soul into building your business. But when did you last stop and ask yourself, ‘What for?’ If, like me, being in control of your financial destiny is important to you, then it's important to make sure that the value of your business is protected if something unexpected happens.

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

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.

February 2013

January 2013

Taming the ‘Seven Dogs’ of business succession planning

No matter what type of business you're in, it's important to protect yourself against the unexpected - what we refer to as the "Seven Dogs": Death, Disability, Divorce, Default, Departure, Disagreement and Deadlock.

December 2012

Do you know how to make effective trust distributions? Don’t leave it to chance, read our comprehensive ‘Trust Distributions Guide’

Find out how to make effective trust distributions.

November 2012

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'.

October 2012

What are my options for owning and managing property jointly? How can I avoid disputes with my co-owner?

Tenancy-in-common ownership gives each co-owner title to and control over a fixed interest in the property. This makes it a flexible and autonomous way to own property. But what happens when the co-owners don’t agree?

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.

September 2012

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.

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.

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.

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.