10 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Make – Legally

new years resolutionThe New Year brings with it an opportunity to take stock of what has happened in the previous 12 months, and to look forward and plan ahead for another 12 months and beyond.

You may want to make changes in your life, in business and in terms of your assets.

While New Year’s resolutions in relation to health and lifestyle are often made but usually broken, we think now is a perfect time to look at how you are set up from a legal perspective, and having good legal advice and assistance will ensure that any “resolutions” you make will not be broken.

We’ve come up with at least ten such legal New Year’s resolutions, across the most important areas of your life:

Your estate plan

  1.  Do you have a will? This is a simple question but it still shocks us as to the vast numbers of people in the public who have a lot to lose and still do not have a will. If you don’t have a will, now is the perfect time to make one.
  2.  Even if you do have a will, it may be time for it to be reviewed, particularly if your circumstances have changed since you last made your will.
  3.  A will is only one (albeit significant) part of your estate plan. Another calendar year means you will be a year older by the end of it, and you therefore might need to have an enduring power of attorney or an advance care directive in place.
  4.  While your superannuation assets might not form part of your estate in the event of your death, you can certainly control how they are to be dealt with in that event, for example by making a binding death nomination. Such nominations lapse every three years so you are best advised to check your position annually.

Your business

  1.  If you are running a business, now is the perfect time, after Christmas holidays and New Years celebrations, to consider what goals you wish to achieve in the coming year and what risks to minimize if not avoid, starting with the major issue of whether your business structure suits your present commercial needs. Although it is probably wise to look at this at the end of the financial year, you should plan to make any changes 3 months or better still 6 months ahead.
  2. Are your terms of trade in order? Have you lost money in the previous calendar year because your terms of trade were not air tight enough? It may be time for a review of your terms of trade.
  3. Review your debtors. Actively pursuing your debtors, especially aged debtors, now ensures a better chance of getting paid by the end of the financial year – thereby improving cashflow in the usually slower months of January and February, and ensuring the best possible outcome for your EOY Profit and Loss Statement.
  4. Have a look at your internal agreements – partnership agreements, shareholding agreements, trust deeds etc. Once again, reviewing them weeks out from the end of the financial year may be too late. Do this now when your accountant may be less busy ahead of tax season, and seek out advice and assistance if necessary.Your investments (property and money)
  5. Christmas and the New Year is usually considered a quiet time for the sale and purchase of property, but that is far from the case. We’ve found it is a very active period. If you are buying or selling property, we can assist in relation to your conveyancing and asset disposal/protection needs.
  6. Check the status of your loans (home and investment). Whether you’re a home owner or a seasoned property investor, keeping on top of the loan market could make a big difference to your financial future. Consult your loan broker in relation to the different offers available, and us if you feel you need – or are required – to obtain legal advice in relation to any new contractual obligations.

Most of the above “resolutions” should be made now because they may take weeks or months to plan and put into effect, in advance of the end of the financial year. Have a think about your legal position, the risks that you may be carrying in your family, personal and business life, and get on the phone and call 8354 2233 or email us at admin@dirosalawyers.com.au for a free initial consultation, so we can start helping you plan for the next year in your life.

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