“We used to terrorize our babysitters when I was little, except for my grandfather because he used to read to us from his Will”
(comic Janine Ditullio)
Whether you are young or old, healthy or ailing, wealthy or not-so-wealthy, married or single – you must have a Will.
Dying “intestate” (i.e. without leaving a valid Will) means your loved ones must deal with a whole series of legal and financial risks just when they are least able to cope with any additional trauma.
Only by leaving a valid will can you protect your loved ones properly:
It’s never a happy thought, but we are all going to die sooner or later. And even the youngest and healthiest of us could, as the old saying goes, be “run over by a bus” today, or tomorrow, or next Wednesday. We know death will come for us, we just don’t know when.
None of us can afford to procrastinate – make your will now. Today.
How should you draw your will? Doing it the right way.
“It is a never-ending source of amazement that so many people rely on untrained advisors when preparing their wills, one of the most important documents they are ever likely to sign.” (From a 2012 Supreme Court of Appeal judgment)
There is just no substitute for professional advice and assistance here. To be valid, your will must comply with several legal requirements, including strict rules on signature and witnessing.
But beyond that it should also be concise and unambiguous. A sloppily drafted or executed will (and template wills are particularly risky here for the uninformed) may be outright invalid. Even a technically-valid will can be a recipe for disaster if it doesn’t clearly and simply address your particular needs and wishes, risking expensive and distressing litigation, loss of protection for your children, tax inefficiency because of poor estate planning – the list goes on.
Our law reports are replete with bitter and costly family disputes which could have been avoided by better drafting of the disputed wills, so don’t be tempted to take shortcuts; if things go wrong it is your loved ones who will pay the price.
So you have your valid Will in place, properly drawn and executed. What’s next?
Safekeeping: Your Will should be kept somewhere safe. Tell your heirs where it is and who you have nominated as executor.
“Men keep agreements when it is to the advantage of neither to break them.” (Solon, Athenian lawgiver c. 638 BC - 559 BC)
Here’s the story of yet another High Court battle over a disputed property sale agreement. A fight over how to interpret the “bond clause” again highlighted how vital it is to clearly express the intentions of both the seller and the buyer in every word of the agreement.
The relevant facts were these:
The Court ordered the seller to proceed with the transfer, rubbing salt in his wounds with a costs order against him.
The bottom line is that if, as seems likely, the seller wanted the comfort of something more from the buyer’s bank than just draft letters of guarantee, he should have worded the bond clause to provide clearly and unambiguously for an actual signed bond approval to be lodged.
It’s once again a warning to both sellers and buyers: Sign nothing before taking proper legal advice!
PAIA (the Promotion of Access to Information Act) requires you to prepare, lodge and publish (including on any website you have) an information manual in the prescribed format.
Every business operation , no matter how small (the definition includes any person or partnership carrying on “any trade, business or profession”, together with any “juristic person”) must comply.
If you are one of the many smaller businesses (see below to check) who benefitted from a last-minute extension of your deadline from 31 August 2005 to 31 December 2011, and then another to 31 December 2015, this applies to you:
The 31 December 2015 extension applies to most smaller businesses - specifically to any “private body”, including any private company, but not to any non-private company, nor to any private company in any of the business sectors listed below with either:
Our business rescue legislation aims to save, wherever possible, any company in financial difficulty from total collapse and liquidation.
So for example the BRP (Business Rescue Practitioner) appointed to run the rescue process has the power to suspend any of the company’s obligations for the duration of the process. Moreover as a creditor you cannot start legal action against the company without a court’s authority (or the BRP’s consent).
Where does that leave you as the landlord if your tenant goes into business rescue?
A recent High Court case illustrates.
The facts: The sorry saga of an ailing nightclub
Finding for the Landlord, the Court held that:
That’s good news for landlords generally. It means that commencement of business rescue does not in itself stop you from cancelling the lease.
As mentioned above, during business rescue you need a court’s authority (or the BRP’s consent) to start any legal action.
Where, as in this particular case, the business rescue has already failed and liquidation is imminent, you are likely to get that authority. If the Court finds that the lease has been validly cancelled it might even decide you don’t need its authority to take the next step and apply for eviction.
But where a successful business rescue is still on the cards the outcome might be different. The court in such a case may for example decide that you do need its authority, and refuse to give it to you because allowing you to proceed with eviction would jeopardise or destroy the business rescue effort.
Each case will be different – take advice on your particular circumstances.
Next time you plan a marketing event (big or small) think about what a boost it will be for your credibility and reach to broadcast it LIVE.
Social Media Examiner’s article “How to Use YouTube Live Streaming to Boost Your Exposure” gives you step-by-step instructions on using Google Plus and YouTube to best effect and at zero cost. There are also paid options with positive reviews – for example, Livestream at https://livestream.com/
Note: Test your local broadband speeds to make sure they are up to the task before you commit to anything!
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