Tag Archives: legal

Are you getting ready to sell in spring?

SPRING IS usually a busy time in Melbourne for those thinking of buying or selling real estate.
To make the process as smooth as possible, here are some things you can do to get ready to sell your property in spring.
Make your house picture perfect First impressions count, so start packing and decluttering as soon as possible.
You want your house to look as attractive as possible for prospective buyers.
Cluttered houses often look smaller than they are, so decluttering creates an illusion of space, making your home feel larger.
If this seems too overwhelming, ask for help. There are many service providers that can assist with getting your house prepared for sale.
Property stylists, packing and decluttering services, landscape gardeners, and real estate agents can provide tips that may be beneficial in preparing your house for sale.
It is also an opportune time to have a working bee with family and friends, and perhaps even a garage sale to get rid of unwanted clutter.

Choose your real estate agent

If you have been looking to sell for some time, you may already have developed a relationship with a real estate agent who you will use to sell your property.
If not, start researching or asking around for some referrals. Ask friends or trusted colleagues about their experience and who they would recommend.
When selling your property, you are likely trusting your real estate agent with your biggest asset.
So, it is important to get this decision right and select someone you are completely comfortable with who can guide you through the process.

Have your Contract of Sale and Section 32 Vendor Statement ready

Instructing your conveyancer or property lawyer at least 2–3 weeks before putting your home on the market is ideal.
That way, the Contract of Sale and Section 32 Vendor Statement will be ready for your first open inspection.
Things that your conveyancer or property lawyer may need from you to complete a Section 32, Vendor Statement include:

  • Details of any structural or non-structural works completed on the property over the last seven years.
  • There may be further requirements in this respect, and your Conveyancer or Property Lawyer will be able to guide you; If your home was built less than seven years ago, there are additional requirements around providing Domestic Building Insurance, Occupancy Permit and Building Permits.
  • Now is a good time to locate each of those so that they are ready to provide.
  • Copy of pool/spa registration and pool/spa barrier compliance.
  • Any easements or covenants on the property and checking to ensure that there has been no non-compliance.
  • Lists what services are or are not connected.

What you need to know about Section 27 Deposit Release

If you are relying on the release of the deposit from the sale of your home to purchase your new property, you need to ensure that you are aware of how the Section 27 Deposit Release process works — so that there are no surprises that leave you in an unfortunate financial predicament.
A number of requirements must be met if you wish to apply for the early release of your deposit. You should discuss with your conveyancer or property lawyer when instructing them that you would like to access the deposit before settlement so that they can walk you through the process and discuss whether you meet the appropriate criteria.
There is a common assumption that your deposit can just be released once the Contract of Sale is unconditional; however, this is only sometimes the case and, in most circumstances, not that common.

Before you purchase

Before you sign the Contract of Sale, it is extremely important to have the Contract of Sale and Section 32, Vendor Statement looked over by a property lawyer or conveyancer.
They will review and advise you of any matters that may be detrimental or that you may need to look into further before purchasing the property.
This will give you a comprehensive understanding of the property and help you decide whether this is the right property for you.
Selling your property is a big moment in your life, so preparation is the key, and surround yourself with a team that can support you in getting your desired result.
And don’t forget to take a moment to stop and smell the roses.

Louise Aitken, Conveyancing Manager at Madison Sloan Lawyers in Park Orchards.

Preparing for the worst: top five estate planning mistakes

THE BEST WAY to take care of your family and loved ones in the event that you are no longer here is by putting in place a comprehensive Estate Plan.
The documents that comprise your Estate Plan must be well drafted to ensure that your wishes and intentions are clear so that everything happens the way you would like it to happen upon your death.
If your estate planning documents, such as your Will, are incomplete or ambiguous, it may result in people that you do not wish to receive your assets receiving them, or prospectively a claim being brought against your estate, which would be both costly and time-consuming.
Let’s look at the five most common mistakes to avoid when putting your estate plan in place.

Putting in place a DIY Will

If you are inclined to use a “do it yourself (DIY) Will kit” or personally prepare your own Will to save money, be warned that it may often cost your estate money after you die.
DIY Wills are often ambiguous, and your wishes and intentions may not be clearly defined, and at worst, your Will could be deemed invalid.
A high level of care is required to make your Will a legally binding document, and your Will and other estate planning documents should be put in place by an estate planning lawyer, who will be able to provide you with the appropriate legal advice in respect to your circumstances and ensure that you have a comprehensive, well-documented estate plan in place that is reflective of your wishes.

Poor choice of Executor

In appointing someone as an Executor of your Will, you give them the keys to everything you own and control.
That’s big.
You, therefore, need to appoint someone that you trust implicitly to undertake this role.
Appointing someone who resides overseas as your Executor can present challenges, as can appointing an elderly parent in some instances.
Often people elect to appoint two executors jointly, and if you are inclined to do so, I would encourage you to think of the following:
Do they know each other?
Will they work together as joint Executors of your Will?
Is there any conflict between them?
Will they focus on your wishes and the best interest of the beneficiaries?
Essentially, when appointing an Executor, you select the person you trust the most.

Gifting assets that you do not own

In putting your estate plan in place, it is important to understand what assets you own individually and what assets you control.
Many people fail to understand that you cannot gift joint assets, trust assets, or company or partnership assets in your Will.
You may only gift assets if you personally own them.
Joint assets, such as a joint bank account or a property owned jointly with another person, cannot be gifted as such assets will automatically pass to the surviving joint owner.
Concerning your superannuation, most superannuation funds allow you to nominate a beneficiary by putting in place a binding death benefit nomination, directing where you would like your superannuation to be paid at the time of your death.

Not putting the Power of Attorney documents in place

Putting in place a Power of Attorney document allows you to appoint someone to make financial, legal, guardianship and medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and can no longer make your own decisions.
If you do not put this document in place, someone may be appointed as your guardian and administrator to make these decisions on your behalf, and they may not be the person you would have chosen to make these important decisions.
It is, therefore, imperative that the Power of Attorneys are an integral part of an estate plan.

Failing to update or review your estate plan

Life changes.
An estate plan you put in place 30 years ago is unlikely to be relevant today.
If you don’t review your estate plan regularly to accommodate your changing circumstances, you may leave yourself and your beneficiaries exposed.
By regularly reviewing your estate plan, you will be identifying any major life events and the need to update your Will to ensure that it is current and reflects your wishes.
The content of this column is not intended as a substitute for seeking professional advice.

If you need the services of a legal professional for any content covered in this column, consult the relevant professional.
Melisa Sloan is an Estate Planning Lawyer based in Park Orchards; find out more about her business at madisonsloanlawyers.com.au.