Brace yourselves: A claim against your Will is coming

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It seems that along with dragons and Westeros, the idea that a person has substantial discretion in how to gift their estate on their death is a myth. Those left underwhelmed by the conclusion of the final season of Game of Thrones need look no further than the recent ruling on Steinmetz v Shannon [2019] to satiate […]

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Not sure where to start? Ask.Will™

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Although most Australians know the importance of having a valid will, the nuances of how — and what — can be challenging. Understanding and using those nuances is what turns a simplistic will into a truly valuable and effective estate plan. To help make the process simpler, Townsends Lawyers offers a suite of tools and […]

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The pitfalls of a homemade Will

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While homemade Wills and Do It Yourself Will kits may appear to be an ‘easier’, ‘timely’ and ‘cheaper’ alternative than instructing a lawyer to draft your Will the recent Victorian Supreme Court case of Re Hely; Application by Arbuthnot & Donaghue [2018] is a reminder of some of the pitfalls which may arise when a homemade Will […]

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Can an SMSF be liable for foreign purchaser surcharge duty?

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John and Mary, a married couple, are members and individual trustees of their SMSF and their benefits in the fund represent 10% (John) and 90% (Mary) of the total value of the fund respectively. John is a foreign person for the purposes of the surcharge duty in NSW. Is the SMSF subject to surcharge duty […]

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Where is your trust deed?

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Document provider, SuperCentral, gets calls from SMSF clients weekly asking where their trust deeds are stored. Peter Townsend from SuperCentral said that he sometimes feels like he is running a detective agency. “We are often asked to provide a signed copy of a fund’s deed, usually at a time when it is of utmost importance, […]

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Superannuation death benefits are a minefield and arguably in need of simplification and reform

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It’s a fair question to ask: What happens to a family if there is not an estate plan in place and change/tragedy occurs? Who has control? Quite simply, your family’s estate plan is then in the hands of the Courts as they decide which assets go to which parties. It’s an involved process, and the […]

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What happens to a testator’s Will after divorce?

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Going through a divorce may upset the best laid out estate plans by partially or completely revoking a couple’s Wills. Jennifer and Thomas were married for 5 years before Jennifer filed for divorce earlier this year. They have 2 children under the age of 10 and previously executed a Will appointing each other as the […]

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When gifting your estate, why stop at grandchildren?

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Just how many generations of your descendants should you consider in your Will and is there an easy way to do it? No one has ever said that to me before. My client had just remarked: “I expect to live to be one hundred”. He was deadly serious. That may not have come as a […]

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Work test exempt contributions (aka ‘last drinks contributions’) details now released

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In the 2018 May Budget, the Government announced the proposal to allow individuals who are recent retirees and who have attained age 65, to make last chance voluntary contributions by providing a one year exemption from the work test. This proposal will apply from 1 July 2019 to the 2019/20 and subsequent financial years. As […]

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Can an email serve as a good notice under a contract?

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Electronic communication is certainly the dominant method of communication nowadays and it is tempting to believe that in today’s modern society sending a simple email as opposed to a formal letter will surely serve as a valid notice under a contract. Let’s consider an example. John is a tenant and his initial lease term is […]

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