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Family Law

As family law clients are often preoccupied and in emotional distress, they require particular care.

LPLC sees claims in the family law area every year. While the percentage cost of family law claims each year is not high (typically 5 per cent of LPLC’s total claims cost), it is an area where simple risk management steps can make a difference.

The scope of the retainer needs to be carefully defined and documented. Documenting advice and instructions and keeping the client informed about the progress of the matter and the costs also deserve special attention. Financial agreements are an ongoing problem when it comes to claims; it is certainly not an area in which to dabble!


 

27 March 2018

In Check Issue 78 | March 2018

Cyber fraud – it can happen to you No firm is immune from cyber-criminals and their fake emails. We are seeing an increase in attempts to steal money by hackers masquerading as either the client or the lawyer in fake emails. Below is a summary of two of our recent notifications. The law firm duped […]

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1 March 2018

Will it be right?

Mistakes in the preparation of wills can be avoided with careful proofreading. In the 2016-17 policy year, wills and estates claims accounted for 11.7 per cent of the total cost of claims and 8.4 per cent of the total number. In the previous 10-year period, these figures were 6.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent […]

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12 December 2017

In Check Issue 77 | December 2017

Thorne v Kennedy on financial agreements The recent High Court case of Thorne v Kennedy [2017] HCA 49 further illustrates why family law financial agreements are fraught with risk. In that case, Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane and Edelman JJ held two substantially identical financial agreements voidable due to undue influence and unconscionable conduct. Nettle […]

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1 June 2017

Stay on the estate

Practitioners handling estate matters should not get involved in family disputes. As disputes between family members arise frequently in estate matters, practitioners need to be alert to their duties to executors and beneficiaries as well as potential conflicts of interest. LPLC has received claims where practitioners handling an estate were not proactive in distancing themselves […]

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31 March 2016

In Check Issue 70 | March 2016

Table of contentsCyber-crime – how alert are you?Common GST questionImportance of good working relationships within the professionReminder for RedCrest2016 Risk Management SeminarsCheck your contracts for deemed serviceNew look websiteLaw Institute Journal articles Cyber-crime – how alert are you? Lawyers and the legal profession are increasingly becoming targets of cyber-crime and while many law firms may not […]

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25 May 2018

You need to take the good with the bad

When acting in litigation, it is essential to take detailed instructions about any circumstances that weaken your client’s case in addition to those that support the case. In one claim, the practitioner acted for a claimant in a claim under Part IV of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic) against the estate of her […]

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13 April 2018

A risk to avoid in the TFM list

Failing to comply with paragraph 7.2 of the Testator Family Maintenance List Practice Note SC CL 7 could expose you to a cost order. The Supreme Court issued a notice on 11 December 2017 informing practitioners that as of 1 March 2018 they were expected to comply with paragraph 7.2 by 2pm on the Friday […]

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9 February 2018

High Court decision underlines vulnerability of financial agreements

The recent High Court case of Thorne v Kennedy [2017] HCA 49 further illustrates why family law financial agreements are fraught with risk. In that case, the plurality comprising Kiefel CJ, Bell, Gageler, Keane and Edelman JJ held two substantially identical financial agreements voidable due to undue influence and unconscionable conduct. The parties met online […]

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27 October 2017

Managing risks in the wills and estates area

LPLC has published Wills and estates, the latest in our series of snapshots which are designed to provide data about claims against practitioners in specific practice areas as well as risk management strategies at a glance. This snapshot shows that between 2007 and 2017, claims in the wills and estates area accounted for eight per […]

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20 October 2017

Time to retire retirement village claims

Since 2013/14 LPLC has seen 18 claims involving aged care facilities and retirement villages. The current estimate of the cost of these claims is in excess of $4million. Claims arise in the three main areas of: buying and selling retirement villages or aged care facilities advising on retirement village contracts for residents drafting wills. With […]

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17 July 2014

Key Risk Checklist: Family provision claims

Acting for claimants – out of time TFM ☐  Be familiar with the provisions of Part IV of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic) (Act). ☐  When taking initial instructions from a potential Part IV claimant ensure you clearly discuss with the client: the eligibility requirements for a family provision claim at section 90 […]

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14 July 2014

Key Risk Checklist: Testamentary capacity

Testamentary capacity ☐  Take comprehensive instructions from the will maker in person, on their own. ☐  Be ever mindful of the issue of capacity and satisfy yourself that the will maker meets the various elements of the test, that is, the will maker must[1]: Be aware of and appreciate the significance of the act which […]

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15 August 2017

Focusing on family law

Table of contentsIntroductionThe causes of claimsFinancial agreementsChild supportProblem areasLPLC Family Law ChecklistAppendix One – SuperannuationAppendix Two – List of cases Introduction As family law clients are often preoccupied and in emotional distress, they require particular care. It is an area where simple risk management steps can make a difference. The scope of the retainer needs […]

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11 May 2017

Know your limits

Table of contentsIntroductionLessons from the claimsTime limits most commonly missedClaims examples Introduction With the proliferation of time limits in legislation today missing limitation dates is a mistake that occurs in many areas of the law. The reasons for missing time limits are varied as are the potential repercussions. Sometimes it is a lack of knowledge […]

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17 July 2014

Weather-proofing wills and estates

Table of contentsIntroductionMistakes in preparation of willsTestamentary capacityFamily provision claimsAdministration mistakesConflicts of interestChecklistsFamily provision claims Introduction Welcome to the first edition of Weather-proofing wills and estates. This booklet highlights the mistakes that are made by legal practitioners that lead to claims against them and offers recommendations on how to avoid those same mistakes. The claims […]

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4 May 2018

Risk video bite – Family law financial agreements

Presenter: Alex Macmillan, Claims Manager, LPLC

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24 March 2015

Risk video bite | Risks of intra-family transfers

Presenter: Miranda Milne, Chief Executive Officer, LPLC

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6 February 2018

Snapshot – Family law

Snapshots provide data and main causes of claims in areas of practice as well as risk management strategies at a glance. Click the image to enlarge or download above.                        

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