During this unprecedented and unsettling time, there is an opportunity here to take advantage of the phone calls and emails slowing down (for some) and use your time to address those things you have been putting off – a bit like that painting job most people have been meaning to get to.
In the legal profession, most lawyers will advise that you should regularly review your legal affairs, a bit like a legal check-up, and check they fit what your current and anticipated circumstances are.
This includes things like:
• Making sure your estate planning tools are right – Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Advance Directives. Consider questions like:
Do they refer to the right people?
Are the assets referred to in the documents still in existence?
Do I have other assets which I need to refer to?
Are the powers right?
• Agreements like contracting out agreements (also known as 'pre-nups'), shareholders agreements and property sharing agreements, and whether they still fit current circumstances. As life and business changes, so should these documents. Some of these documents also require reviews to occur regularly.
It is easy to procrastinate with these, especially when these types of issues are not at the forefront of people's minds. We often find that where a review did not take place that changes in circumstances have raised significant issues as to interpretation, use and enforcement.
If you would like to get on top of these now, we can assist with reviewing these documents and advising remotely via either phone, email or video conferencing tools.
As a note, complying with the strict requirements for signing and witnessing a Will during the Lock down (Alert 4) period will have some practical issues. If you are considering changing your Will over this time, please discuss this with us first – a recent article prepared by Peter Fuscic of our firm has more detail about this "Wills for the Lockdown".
Stay safe, stay home (unless you're an essential worker, in which case we thank you) and let's get through this.
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© McVeagh Fleming 2020
This article is published for general information purposes only. Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.