Festive and Holiday Season Reminder

2 December, 2009

In the rush up to Christmas with all of the extra commitments and pressure at this time of year be diligent and maintain your risk management practices. This is when you most need them.

Keep track of dates and deadlines, particularly if the office will be closed over the holiday season. It is at this time of year that conditional contract deadlines can slip by and suddenly the contract is unconditional. Clients will be as busy as you and forget to ring and tell you about their finance. Make sure your client understands the effect of the ‘subject to finance’ clause before the time expires.

Don’t let the clients pressure you into taking shortcuts. They will be insisting you prepare their contract or their vendor statement or their section 52 statement yesterday. Take the time to proofread your work or have someone else do it. Don’t forget to give them a letter warning about the risks of using a short form vendor’s statement or entering into risky agreements.

If you are pressured to distribute estates before Christmas double check the cheques are going to the right people for the right amounts. Warn executors in writing of the risks of distributing within 6 months. If you are calling in estate assets make sure you have those instructions in writing.

Many staff will take extended holidays after Christmas. Do you know what needs to be attended to over that time — are there any settlements due or deadlines looming? Are the remaining junior staff going to be adequately supervised and supported?

This season brings with it ample room for mistakes each year, so take steps now to ensure you and your clients have a Happy New Year.