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Your money lives on when you are gone

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Anyone who has watched Midsummer Murders on TV will know how unexpectedly death can occur.As distressing as your death might be, handled properly it is a fantastic tax avoidance event. With a well set-up trust, your business affairs can continue and no one need miss you at all (so accountants say). However, leave a mess and your relatives must sort it out, as well as coping with their abject grief at losing you.There are three steps to putting your legal affairs in order prior to your immediate demise.STEP 1     A willMany of you might prefer to leave this detail until you are on your deathbed. Apart from causing your lawyer to run around like a scalded cat it can be a prelude to the family dividing between those who were at the deathbed and who, coincidentally, benefited from the will, and those who couldn’t make it and lost out.STEP 2     An enduring power of attorneyThis enables one, two or more people chosen by you (called attorneys) to deal with your affairs if you are in a coma …

Fights with Members of your Club or Association

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Club membership has so much more to offer than a game of tennis, bowls or a few social drinks. Add to that intrigue, gossip, conflict, and the cut and thrust of the committee meeting which spills over to the AGM and it can be all-out war.You may not know the club rules back to front. Nonetheless, every committee member and any member being disciplined should know the law of natural justice which has two basic rules:Rule 1 - No biasEven the most hard-nosed committee should be using words like “We want to listen to your side,” “We want to be fair to you” and “Have you anything else to say?” before finding an accused member guilty as charged. Punching the air and other expressions of joy at an exclusion or suspension is behaviour that committee members should try to avoid.Rule 2 - Every person is entitled to a fair hearingThis means that the accused member is to be given reasonable notice of the hearing and written details of the allegations in advance.In these two rules, there lies a mu…

Suspicious Circumstances: 7 Things to Check When You are Left Out of a Will

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Sun Tzu: The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an ambush. Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming.When your rich uncle leaves you out of his will, the obvious explanation is that he was nuts. However if the will appears rational and correctly executed the court will presume that the deceased was mentally competent unless there are suspicious circumstances. The nature of the suspicious circumstances can depend on the inventiveness of the deceased's family, friends and neighbours but here are some examples:Enfeebled physical and mental state e.g. medical evidence of significant cognitive impairment and continual deterioration. Evidence of confusion e.g. concerns by friends that the deceased would sign anything put in front of him.  Lack of care in preparation by the lawyer e.g. no written record or over 5 (make that 15) typos. A carer left a substantial benefit.Terms of the will departed significantly from previous will e.g. it excludes a person you woul…

Defame And Be Defamed-Insult And Be Insulted.

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Libel is the written word.  Slander is the spoken word.  If you must defame someone then it is best to choose slander as it is harder to prove that you said it.However, with the advent of email most people prefer to write their insults down. This is exceptionally good evidence or exceptionally bad evidence depending on which side you are on.It is not enough to insult your enemy to their face; someone else needs to hear it to make it defamation.  It needs to be “published”.  A letter in a local newspaper or post on Facebook is a perfectly adequate way to publish a defamatory statement as is shouting it at the top of your voice.  Both popular methods.Saying a few bad words about someone is one thing.  But the important question is how much damage have your words done, as that will determine the “damages” (the amount of money to be awarded by a court).Another factor to take into account is how big the audience is.  If you are keen to raise the defamation stakes, then a comment in the loc…

Copyright - What is it?

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The great thing about being industriously creative is that copies of your creative work can be sold again and again for years and years. But do you have ownership? Have you given it away? Or did you not own it in the first place, i.e. your boss owns it?
 When I say anything creative, I mean for example books, articles, training materials, plays, drawings, paintings, graphics, music and songs, those photos of the dog all sorts of creative stuff. If you create something good, other people will want it.

 At present, you use the creative works of others anyway, and are never challenged, but attitudes are changing. People will increasingly enforce their IP rights over creative works that they own. So will you. Such works are protected by Copyright literally, the right to copy. Normally if you create the work, you have the right to copy it, and have the right to allow other people to copy it. Copyright is a very powerful protection.

 If you are a twisted individual who likes to steer conversat…

Restraint of Trade Watchouts

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Anyone who has watched Fatal Attraction especially the final scene will know how hard it is to get rid of some people. Many people who buy businesses find the sellers to be helpful people. They transfer the business and then fade away. Other purchasers find that the vendor is a ratbag who will not go away and keeps popping up again and again in their lives. At first you will be pleased that the vendor has not died of the life threatening illness and/or has overcome the family crisis which was his declared reason for selling. You will appreciate his advice and continued support with your customers and referrers but there comes a time when he must go.“But he sold the shop, he can’t come back, the contract says so” I hear you say. Well yes, there is usually a “restraint of trade” clause. But these clauses need to be approached with caution and where they are unreasonable they will not be allowed.“But people wouldn’t buy businesses if owners did not get lost”. Well yes, however judges don…