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ENQUIRIES@BUTLERS.COM.AU

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COVID-19 and the Effect on Existing Orders:

For many people, COVID-19 has caused a great deal of uncertainty in areas that they previously regarded as stable: their income, the value of their assets, their ability to travel and even their ability to maintain social connections.

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49699 Hits

Who May Apply For Parenting Orders?

In our previous article ‘Who is a Parent??’, we touched on the importance of being a ‘parent’ under Australian Law, and the legal consequences associated with paternity.

Naturally, a good way to follow up such an article is with an explanation of why, when seeking Parenting Orders from a Court, it does not matter who a child’s parents are at all.

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  700 Hits
700 Hits

Co-parenting through Conflict

Separation from a spouse or partner is one of the most stressful situations a person can go through. When you have children, you have the added pressure of functioning as a parent in the midst of your grief, loss or anger surrounding the breakdown of your relationship.

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  660 Hits
660 Hits

Homemade Wills Can Be a Curse - A Warning to Blended Families

Making a Will is one of the best ways of ensuring that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes when you die.  In this age of technology with the availability of information at our fingertips, some people consider that they can do it all – and home-made Wills are no exception.  

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861 Hits

Why "Young" people Should Have a Will

When asking younger people if they have a Will, I often hear the cliché response of “I don’t have anything to give” – wrong!

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994 Hits

Superannuation Death Benefits and Conflict of Interest

It is becoming more common for a person’s superannuation to be their most valuable asset upon their death.  Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the importance of making provision for what happens to their superannuation upon their death, causing problems for their loved ones left behind.

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  779 Hits
779 Hits

Does an Executor Get Paid?

There is no requirement to pay an Executor a commission for acting in that role.  In a lot of cases, you may find that the person appointed as the Executor of an Estate is also a beneficiary of the Estate, and that they do not have the professional skills required for the tasks involved in administering an Estate.

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  724 Hits
724 Hits

How to get through the holidays and festivities after separation.

The spirit of Christmas is often exemplified when being with and around children. After you have separated, however, not being with your children can be difficult.

Here are #10 things to help you plan ahead and assist in getting through the holidays:

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703 Hits

Wait?! Am I a sperm donor or a parent?

In our previous articles “Who is a Parent?” and “Parenting Orders and What You Need to Know” we discussed what it means to be a parent under Australian Law, and the fact that people who are not ‘parents’ are still able to apply for Parenting Orders in relation to children.

Both of these issues were recently considered earlier this year by the High Court of Australia in Masson and Parsons & Ors. The matter made headlines due to the relative rarity of Family Law issues being heard in Australia’s highest Court and the importance of the findings made for many families across Australia.  

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  1555 Hits
1555 Hits

Parenting Orders and what you need to know.

In our previous article ‘Who is a Parent??’ we touched on the importance of being a ‘parent’ under Australian Law, and the legal consequences associated with paternity.

You might then find it strange to learn that when applying for Parenting Orders at Court, you do not have to be a parent. In fact, you don’t even have to be a relative. Parenting Orders can cover all aspects of the care and welfare arrangements for a child and are not just limited to who a child lives with and spends time with.

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2318 Hits

Who is a Parent??

Modern families come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional definition of who a ‘parent’ has been challenged by the increasing number of single-parent families, adoptive parents, surrogate parents and extended families.

Recent advances in medical science have complicated things further.  On 6 April 2016, the first child in the world with three parents was born. A Jordanian couple had been unable to start a family for 20 years, due to a rare genetic disorder carried by the mother. Doctors used a newly developed technique called Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy to implant the genetic material of a third person into the embryo, ensuring that the child did not receive the portions of the mother’s genetic material that could cause the disorder. Being the first child in the world born this way, the baby was dubbed the world’s first ‘three parent’ child.

But how many legal parents does the child born on 6 April 2016 have, and why would it matter?

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  1854 Hits
1854 Hits

Avoid legal limbo - create a valid will

Avoid legal limbo - create a valid will

The Public Trustee has revealed that 50 per cent of Western Australians over 40 do not have a valid will. With litigation regarding wills increasing in Australia, it’s become more important than ever to create a valid will using a suitably qualified, experienced solicitor.

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  3530 Hits
3530 Hits

iPhone 10 yes please....get your priorities right!

In a recent Supreme Court Decision, Kenneth Martin J made the remark that society as a whole simply do not appreciate the importance of having a valid, up to date Will.
He stated that:
“Wider public educational efforts should be made to advance the general state of knowledge of the community on these matters, in my respectful view. This is an age where people outlay significant amounts on a regular basis to update their phones - so they are equipped with the latest technology. But a small outlay to correctly execute a will to secure potential benefits for loved ones and dependants should be an elevated priority. A person's last will is perhaps the most important document that they will ever sign in their lifetime. The long-term worth of leaving a valid will always exceeds the cost of a new electronic device.”

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  3027 Hits
3027 Hits

Deadline - Orders regarding Children's living arrangements for Christmas!

Deadline - Orders regarding children’s living arrangements for Christmas

For most every family, Christmas is a happy but also stressful time. Whether it is ensuring there are no gift double-ups, Santa’s true identity remains undiscovered, or that there are no pistachios in the salad as Aunty Laura’s allergic, chaos is a part and parcel of the end of the year.

When mum and dad are no longer together the co-ordination and logistics are even more challenging. And that’s when they are getting along.

When parents are embroiled in a Family Court dispute Christmas, New Year’s Eve and that lengthy summer school holiday period are often an issue which cannot be resolved by discussion alone.

Because so many estranged couples seek the assistance of the Court to determine how their children will celebrate the holidays and spend their school break the Court has strict rules regarding such applications. This year all applications seeking orders regarding children’s living arrangements for the 2016/2017 Christmas school holiday period must be filed before 4pm on Friday 11 November 2016.

The Family Law Team at Butlers are experienced in preparing and filing such applications and ready to help. Don’t leave it too late, contact us now!

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3718 Hits

Butlers awarded Doyle's Guide 2016

Doyle’s Guide is considered a prestigious recognition in the Legal Industry as an independent guide to the legal profession in Australia that awards the best lawyers, barristers and law firms in the industry.  Within each area of law, and for each State, rankings are allocated, identifying pre-eminent, leading and recommended practitioners.  Further, the guide recognises law firms specialising in specific areas of law.  What makes the guide special is the process by which these rankings are decided.   Feedback is gained by counsel and peers practising in Australia, who identify firms and individuals through surveys, telephone and face to face interviews.

Butlers are proud to be recognised in Doyle's Guide for Leading Family & Divorce Law Firms – Western Australia, 2016 and John Butler, personally in Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers – Western Australia, 2016. 

We look forward to continuing to offer our Clients exceptional service in all areas of Family Law and Wills & Estate Planning in Western Australia.

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  4433 Hits
4433 Hits

A rose by any other name...

Ask anyone and they will tell you that now is the time for girls to run the world. For the first time ever, we’re staring down the barrel of women running the USA and the United Kingdom at the same time. Women have never been more powerful. Or have they?

We all know that it’s a well-accepted tradition in Australia that when a woman marries, she “assumes” the surname of the lucky man who bagged her. This is a tradition that stems all the way back to a time when a woman “belonged” to her husband, and her husband wanted everyone to know it.

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  4828 Hits
4828 Hits

The real cost of DIY Wills

There are some things in life that are just so much better when they’re homemade. Like Mum’s secret recipe sponge cake with fresh strawberries. A hand knitted beanie. Or even a handmade birthday card from your 5 year old niece. But then there are some things that are just better left to the professionals.

Why is it that we’re more willing to let the experts take the reins on some things than others? I wouldn’t try to replace the chipped windscreen in my car, because I don’t have the tools or the skills to do it right – and if I don’t get it right the risk is that I will hurt myself (or even worse, someone else) and end up costing myself a lot more money than I would have forked out if I’d just left the job to the right people in the first place.

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  4974 Hits
4974 Hits

Will your son/daughter in-law take your family legacy?

Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the concept of pre-nups, with American celebrity culture it is all too common to hear about a couple splitting up and Popstar X being crazy for not having one, or about how B-list actor Y is applying to a Court to overturn the pre-nup.

In Australia our Family Law Act allows for parties to enter into their own private agreements about asset division if a marriage or relationship ends, called Financial Agreements. Couples can enter into these Agreements before marrying or entering into a de facto relationship, during the marriage or relationship and even once it has come to an end. So pre-nups, post-nups and just plain nups perhaps?

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5201 Hits

To describe or not to describe?

Whilst the plaintiff questioned whether the gift to Katherine was dependant or conditional on her being the de facto of the deceased at the date of his death, one of the defendants argued that the phrase, “my de facto wife” was merely descriptive and should be ignored.

The Court held that the Will is said to speak from the date of death. The Court reasoned that because Katherine was no longer in a de facto relationship with the deceased at the date of death, the intended disposition of his estate to Katherine should fail.

So, what do we, as practitioners, consider when drafting Wills for our clients? Are we doing our clients a disservice by describing the relationship of a beneficiary to the client without more? For instance, if a bequest is made to a friend,Joe Blow, of the client, and at the time of death, Joe Blow is no longer a friend of the client, then would the gift to the estranged friend fail? Was it the client’s intent that Joe Blow remained his friend in order to receive the gift? And more importantly, how could one prove that the relationship was no longer amicable?

I suppose if the description of a relationship to the client is just that…a description, then a bequest should remain valid. On the other hand, if it is the intention of the client to only benefit a particular person if he/she remains in the relationship described, then probably the best practice is to clearly state such an intention in the Will as a condition precedent to receiving the gift.

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3309 Hits

Choosing the Right Executor?

There is no single right or wrong, one-size-fits-all recommendation for everyone, but there are some useful questions you can ask yourself when thinking about who would be the right Executor for your Estate. Some of these questions are:

  1. Whom do I trust?
  2. Who would be equipped to make sensible, rational and fair decisions after my death?
  3. Who would be willing and able to take on the job, and could stand up to any pressure from my beneficiaries?
  4. Where does this person live, and how difficult would it be for them to act in the role?
  5. How old is this person, and are they likely to survive me or to be fit enough to do whatever is required?
  6. Has this person ever been bankrupt, or do they have a criminal background?
  7. Does this person have a parent or spouse (or anyone else in their life) who could influence them to make decisions in a certain way in the course of administering my Estate?
  8. How “messy” or complicated is the administration of my Estate likely to be?
  9. Should I appoint more than one person? If I do this, what do I want to happen if these people don’t get along, or can’t agree on something?
  10. Should I nominate a professional person or trustee company, knowing that this might come at a cost to my Estate, and might be disempowering for the loved ones I leave behind?
  11. Should I nominate a substitute Executor in the event that my first choice is unable or unwilling to act as my Executor?

If you anticipate that there is the potential for a claim against your Estate by a disgruntled beneficiary, you might not want to nominate that particular person (or any other beneficiary named in your Will) as your Executor. For example, if you want to leave your entire Estate to charity, rather than to your children, you might think twice about appointing your child as your Executor.

Every person (and every Estate) is different, so of course this cannot be an exhaustive list of things to think about when choosing your Executor. We encourage you to turn your mind to what is important to you, and what you wish for your loved ones after you’re gone.

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5371 Hits