The pitfalls of lending money to family members

Should you lend money to a relative?  It can be hard to say no but you need to be aware of all the things that can go wrong if the money isn’t paid back.  

DBH Family Law expert, Megan Dansie explains what to do when you find yourself in this situation on ABC afternoons with Sonya Feldhoff.

 

Click below to listen to the full interview.

 

Read more about a similar case here.

‘Parents sue their daughter after she failed to pay back $368,000’ – News.com.au – 11 May

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When a trip to the shops costs more than you bargained for

We often relate personal injury claims to motor vehicle accidents or workplace injuries, but did you know that you might also be entitled to compensation for other injuries?

Examples can include slipping on loose food or liquid spills in a supermarket, falling on flooring or steps which are in disrepair, getting hurt playing sport or during other activities… the list is endless.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages.

Things like a failure to properly clean a spill, signpost a wet area, maintain floors or stairs, ensure adequate security or crowd control, can all form the basis of a claim.

In these cases, which are often referred to as public liability cases, damages can be claimed for:-

  • Pain, suffering and disfigurement, and loss of ability to engage in everyday life activities.
  • Past and future loss of income.
  • Past and future care and assistance.
  • Past and future medical expenses.

So if you have sustained injuries as a result of someone else’s failure or omission, call Duncan Basheer Hannon today on 1800 324 324 or send us a message for advice in relation to whether you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

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I’m divorcing and I run a business with my spouse. Can I force them out?

Many of our clients work in family businesses, either as a tradie or in a small business. Most of them have a spouse who also works in the business.

If you have separated or are thinking of separating and run a family business, it is vital that you get legal and accounting advice as soon as possible.

When you separate, both of you will be anxious to make sure that your interest in the business is recognised as part of any property settlement. If one of you is a tradie, the other may do the books. You may be concerned to make sure that all the income (and value) of the business is properly accounted for.

In the short term, your spouse may need to stay involved in the business to help keep it running.

You should make sure that you have copies of the business records. That may involve making photocopies, copying computer records and keeping track of passwords. All your records should be up to date. Avoid cash in hand work.

If it is impossible to keep working with your spouse, we can help you to negotiate for them to step back from the business.

If having you both involved is affecting staff or customers, or there is a risk of assets or money being removed, we can help you go to court to get an order to remove them.

You will need a well prepared and expert case. Recently a judge in the family court found that the spouse was essential to the running of the business, and let them stay on.  Read about this case here.

 

The value of a business is part of your assets when you settle your property. Valuing a business can be complicated. DBH Family Lawyers can help you with ensuring the proper value of your business is brought into account.

If you are going through a similar situation and would like to get some advice, contact DBH Family Lawyers today on 1800 324 324 or send us a message.

 

 

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Know your rights – When a HR manual can work in your favour

When making decisions to suspend workers for their conduct, it is important that employers follow their own policies and procedures which are often set out in a company’s HR manual.  It is just as important that you are also familiar with the HR manual so that if an allegation is ever made against you, you know where you stand.  

Take this recent case as a great example.

 

What happened?

A worker suffered a psychological injury for several reasons, including how he was treated in the workplace with his boss making vague allegations about his behaviour.  The process began to suspend the worker but despite specific procedures laid out in the HR manual the worker was not advised of all information being considered in the decision.  He was then suspended without being given an adequate chance to respond.  Not long after, the employer found there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations and advised the worker he could return to work.  Unfortunately, by this time, the worker’s psychological injury had worsened as a consequence of this treatment and he was unable to return.

So who won?

At trial, a single judge found that the worker had suffered a psychological injury as a consequence of his treatment at work.  Yet he also found that the employer had taken “reasonable administrative action in a reasonable manner”.  In other words, they’d followed the right process in the circumstances.  As lawyers for the worker, we did not believe this was the correct application of the law and appealed this decision.

Then what happened?

On Appeal, the Full Bench of three judges overturned the decision and found in favour of the worker.  They said that in the circumstances the employer had not acted in a reasonable manner and found that the worker should have been given the relevant information they relied on to suspend him and given an opportunity to respond.  They also referred to the significant relevance of the employer’s HR Manual and the employer’s failure to comply with clearly set out principles.  It found the employer was bound to follow the promises as set out in the HR Manual, including specific procedures when dealing with unsatisfactory performance, discipline and termination.

So, what’s the lesson?

Make sure you know your rights in the workplace and become familiar with the HR manual and its processes. You may never need to use it but if there’s a dispute, it could be extremely important.  Secondly, visit a lawyer as soon as you can as complicated workplace issues can seem overwhelming and you’ll need help and support to understand your rights and achieve the right outcome.

 

If you have been involved in a similar situation and are wanting advice on how to act, call us today on 1800 324 324 or send us a message.

 

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Capital Gains Tax

Can you explain the changes to Capital Gains Tax?

There have been some important changes to Capital Gains Tax or CGT Withholding for property transactions over $2 million dollars.  The Federal Government introduced some new changes which commenced from 1st July 2016, which is the CGT Withholding Requirement on purchases.  This means that vendors basically don’t get their 10% of the property sale/transaction funds until the obligation is completed.

Does this apply to all types of property?

Yes.  This applies to all types of property.  Commercial property, residential property, primary producing property.  It also applies to consideration for when the market value is over $2 million dollars.  It also applied to matrimonial transfers, deceased estates, gifts and any transactions on any property where the market value is over $2 million dollars.  Whether it is a consideration or not.

Is it a big change?

It is an important change to the way property transactions and contracts are processed.  It is important to make sure you get the right advice from the start, whether you are the purchaser or the vendor or the seller.  It is important that you have the right advice and whatever Solicitor you are consulting is aware of the change to the legislation because everyone likes a smooth property transaction and everyone likes to be paid the correct amount.  This legislation is important in the sense that it sets a requirement on both parties to withhold 10% of the sale price until the criteria are satisfied.  The criteria being that you need to inform the Government of your residential status.  Until you do that the Government holds 10% of the funds.  Capital Gains Tax is an important requirement to comply with.

 

If you would like more information on Captial Gains Tax or CGT Withholding requirements, contact DBH Commerical Lawyers on 1800 324 324 or send us a message.

 

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When and why not to sign a pre-nup

Pre-nups are often in the news and almost always because something has gone wrong.

Our Family Law expert, Megan Dansie was on ABC radio with morning presenter Ali Clark earlier this week talking about the prevalence of pre-nups and explaining when, why and why not to sign one.

It was a fascinating discussion.

 

Listen to the full interview here.

 

For more information about pre-nups, click the link below to read a relating article from The Australian.

‘Widow’s test of $11m pre-nup veracity’ – The Australian – 18.04.2017

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What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied at school

Having your child bullied at school is something no parent wants to see their child go through. Unfortunately, bullying is a prominent issue in schools. In some circumstances, bullying behaviour which results in physical injury or psychological trauma may give rise to a claim against the school for negligence.

Here are some simple steps you can take if you are aware, or suspect, your child is being bullied at school and are not satisfied with the school’s response.

  1. Notify the school of the bullying behaviour.
  2. In the first instance if you are aware your child is being bullied, arrange a meeting with your child’s home group teacher/supervisor or the school’s principal to discuss the bullying behaviour.
  3. If your child is able and willing to identify the bully, bring this to the staff’s attention but ask them to discreetly deal with this information to avoid further conflict and distress.
  4. If this is the first bullying allegation and the bullying behaviour is not too serious, it may be helpful to suggest a meeting with the parents of the children involved to discuss the bullying behaviours under the supervision of a staff member of the school. Remember, the bully’s parents may not be aware of their child’s behaviour.
  5. Document your child’s complaints and the details about the alleged bullying behaviour, along with the date the bullying commenced.
  6. Keep a record of the date the school was first notified of the bullying behaviour.
  7. Review your child’s schools bullying policy and procedures. If you do not have a copy, request one from your child’s school, they are obligated to provide a copy to parents and guardians.

Lastly, remember difficult situations can arise for children throughout their school years and these situations do not automatically give rise to a cause of action against the school. However, if the bullying behaviour persists and your child is suffering psychological trauma or physical injury, and you are not satisfied with your the schools response to the bullying allegations, seek advice from a legal professional.

For legal advice about bullying claims and/or injury claims against educational institutions, please contact Duncan Basheer Hannon on 1800 324 324, or send us a message to arrange a no obligation first interview.

 

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