Put away the monopoly!

Use your downtime during Covid-19 to tackle necessary life admin.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting almost every facet of our lives. With mandatory self-isolation requirements, and now shutdown measures in place in the ACT (and in other parts of Australia), one thing that is certain is that we will all be spending much more time at home.

While this time may feel unproductive, this downtime does not necessarily need to be time wasted. Why not take this opportunity to catch up on the things you have been too busy to do, or have left in the too hard basket?

This period may very well prove to be the perfect opportunity to break, regroup, and prepare to emerge even stronger on the other side of the pandemic.

Here is our list of the top 5 productive things you can do while staying at home!

  1. Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney

These recent weeks and months have been unsettling and uncertain times for us all. They are also a wake-up call for us to make sure that our Wills and estate plans are in order. Is your Will up-to-date? You may have organised your Will some time ago and left it as a ‘set and forget’ task. However, if your financial circumstances or family or marital status have changed since then, you should update your Will. Ask yourself:

  • Do I know how my estate will be distributed if I die?
  • Do I know where my Will is stored?
  • Do I still want the people named as executors in my Will to manage my estate after my death? Will they be capable of it mentally and physically? Do they still reside in Australia?

Also, every adult should have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place. An Enduring Power of Attorney gives your trusted relative or friend the power to make financial, personal and healthcare decisions for you if, because of injury or illness, you lose the capacity to make these decisions for yourself.

Our Wills and Estates Team is here to assist and advise you about how to make changes to your Will or Enduring Power of Attorney or create new documents for you.

  1. Self-managed Superannuation Funds

With the laws for self-managed superannuation funds changing from time to time, it’s often difficult to keep track and ensure that your fund deed allows you to do everything you need it to. It’s all too easy to neglect the administration of your self-managed superannuation fund, leaving you exposed in the future.

Making sure that your fund’s rules are up-to-date is one important and practical thing you can do during this shutdown period. Our dedicated team is able to assist you by reviewing your current self-managed superannuation fund deed to make sure that it is up-to-date. We can advise you on adopting new rules and updating your binding death benefit nominations.

  1. Investment properties

If you own an investment property, you are probably wondering how this shutdown period (and the broader effects of the COVID-19 pandemic) will impact on your rights as a landlord. Your tenants may be asking you questions that you are not able to answer. You may be considering providing your tenants with rent reductions, but want to know how to protect your right to full rent in the future. Our Leasing Team is here to provide you with legal advice so that you can make informed decisions about your investment properties.

If you are re-letting your property, ensure that your residential tenancy agreement and other required documents are up-to-date and comply with the law.

  1. Family Trust Deeds

Virtually everyone is guilty of pushing this task to the very bottom of their to do lists. So, now is the best time to go over your family trust deed to ensure that your trust is as effective as possible. Many deeds were written a long time ago, and taxation and trust law has moved on since then. We can advise you on your ability to amend your deed to enable you to stream income and protect your trust from foreign resident taxes which it may attract because of a lack of attention.

  1. Property Taxes—rebates and deferrals

If you’re a property owner and are experiencing significant financial hardship, you may be able to have your rates deferred, or be eligible to receive a rebate. We can assist you to determine your eligibility and to make an application now.

Even while you are restricted to home during this shutdown period, there are things that we can do together to boost your overall resilience both legally and financially. Don’t let your time spent at home go to waste.