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PERSONAL LAW

WHAT WE DO

  • Enforcement of anti discrimination rights on the basis of homosexuality, sex, race, religion, ethnicity and physical or mental disability
  • Protection of clients from harassment and bullying in all areas, including social media
  • Powers of attorney and enduring guardianships
  • Compliance with requirements of foreign jurisdictions in all matters concerning protection of individuals
  • Applications for guardianship for persons with incapacity

Our job as lawyers is to protect and pursue the rights of our clients and to ensure their freedom from cruel, unfair and intolerable persecution.

IN BRIEF

Personal law covers matters such as wills, powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney and enduring guardianship.

Wills:

Wills are our way of ensuring that those close to us are provided for, as far as possible, from our assets.

Points to remember in contemplation of and drawing up a will include:

  1. Possible change in circumstances from the time the will is drawn up until the death of the testator.
  2. Clients need to provide for an executor (usually the major or sole beneficiary) and then another, in case that first named executor predeceases the testator.
  3. In making provision for beneficiaries, testators need to apply themselves to questions of possible predecease of beneficiaries, and whether that beneficiary’s interest disappears. This is to ensure the residue of the estate to be divided among other beneficiaries becomes larger.
  4. Alternatively, if predeceasing beneficiaries leave children or grandchildren, then those descendants may take what their parent/grandparent would have taken if he/she had survived the testator.
  5. If any beneficiaries are or are likely to be minors, the will needs to establish trusts to manage the inheritance of a minor beneficiary until that beneficiary turns 18 or some other age fixed by the testator
  6. Under the laws in Australia a testator is not obliged to make provision for a member of the family, unlike many other jurisdictions, but there are provisions for claims by partners and others close to the testator, if a closeness can be demonstrated and provision would reasonably be anticipated under a will. To avoid this, any reasons for not making such a provision should be clearly explained in the will.

Powers of attorney:

A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to act on your behalf. This can be parallel to your acting for yourself, in place of you if you are or will be absent, or effectively to replace you if you no longer have the capacity to act for yourself.

If the power of attorney is to enable another person to act for you in any matter concerning real property, the power of attorney must be registered at the Land Titles Office.

Enduring power of attorney:

This is the power of attorney designed to enable another person to replace you when you no longer have the capacity to act for yourself. To be effective, this needs to be explained to you by lawyer, who the attaches a certificate to this effect to the power of attorney.

Enduring guardianship:

An enduring guardianship normally goes together with an enduring power of attorney to allow the enduring guardian to make decisions on medical care and life support when the person afflicted is no longer able to do so.

An enduring guardianship requires a certificate of a lawyer, who certifies having explained the enduring guardianship to the person giving the enduring guardianship and the person(s) accepting the enduring guardianship.

Guardianship:

This situation arises where a person no longer has capacity to look after his/her own affairs for personal daily care, financial control, or both, and no enduring power of attorney and enduring guardianship exist.

A person in a relationship with or family of the intellectually / medically incapacitated person, and who is in the jurisdiction, may make application to the Guardianship Tribunal to be appointed guardian for the intellectually incapacitated person. This provides for all relevant decisions and actions on behalf of that person.

If there is no one is resident in the jurisdiction to be appointed guardian, then application may be made for a committee to be appointed by the Guardianship Tribunal to take that role.