News & Updates from Swift Legal

Now is the time; Why you should stop and make a Will now

by Judica Swift on April 10, 2015 Comments Off on Now is the time; Why you should stop and make a Will now

Do you know what would happen if you passed away?

Do you know who would be tasked with the job of finalising all of your affairs?

Look after your kids? Organise your funeral? Pay your last bills? Do your last tax return? Clean out your house? Sell your stuff? Divide your stuff among your family? Who in your family gets your things? What about your late mum’s wedding ring that was meant to be passed to your kids?

The list of things to consider seems endless, but you have to start somewhere.

There’s a dangerous misconception in the public that things will just “happen” when you pass away and that’s not always correct.

When you don’t have a will, no one has the legal authority to finalise your affairs straight away.  Your next of kin might be the most appropriate person, but without the Court’s approval, they don’t have the legal standing to take care of even the little things. And what about if there’s a dispute between family members as to who should look after your affairs? What about if things need to be done immediately? Who does them?  And who’s going to be guardian to your children? The costs of sorting this all out after your gone can and usually does far outweigh the cost of doing a will now.

When you don’t have a will, the law sets out how your estate should be divided and it may not be what you want. How your estate is divided among family depends on what family you have; kids, partners; mum and dad.

Your family can be left with the overwhelming difficulty that is passing away without a will (otherwise known “intestate”).

Your will can always be updated and should be as your live evolves and changes with time.

Protect your family, protect your wishes.  Now is the time; make a Will today.

Talk to one of our Solicitors.  We can make it even easier by coming to you (at home or work) or even meeting via Skype or Live Meeting.

read more
Judica SwiftNow is the time; Why you should stop and make a Will now

New Online Portal being launched soon!

by Judica Swift on April 9, 2015 Comments Off on New Online Portal being launched soon!

1000-computer-monitor-with-a-blank-screen-pvLegal matters can be pretty overwhelming. You can get lost in the mountains of paperwork or even forget your critical dates.  We’ve been thinking about this and other things to help provide our clients access to valuable information when they need to and as a result, we’re now launching an ONLINE PORTAL for our clients.

The Online Portal is going to allow you to login with your own username and password and check how your matter is progressing, check your critical dates and give you some peace of mind that you know how things are going.  All this information will be available to you when and where you need it. And it’s completely free of charge.

Finally, a firm that listens and provides some real solutions to put some of the control back in your hands.

If you want to stay informed throughout your legal matter, keep us in mind for next time. We’re here to help.

If you would like to find out more, please contact your local branch and speak to one of our friendly team members.

read more
Judica SwiftNew Online Portal being launched soon!

Family Provision Costs Capped – Cerneaz v Cerneaz [2015] QDC 073

by Judica Swift on April 8, 2015 Comments Off on Family Provision Costs Capped – Cerneaz v Cerneaz [2015] QDC 073

Cerneaz v Cerneaz (No 2) [2015] QDC 073

And another day brings another case on costs, but this case stood out to us and we’ll tell you why.

The case of Cerneaz v Cerneaz [2015] QDC 41 involved a FPA claim by a de facto spouse. The Court ordered a legacy in favour of the applicant in the amount of $350,000.00.

On 7 April 2015, the Court was to determine costs for the matter.

By way of background, the applicant served her application and supporting affidavits on the respondent on 10 July 2013. The applicant failed to serve a draft directions order in accordance with the District Court Practice No 8 of 2011. The applicant’s documents were significantly lacking in detail and failed to articulate her case. As a result of the lack of information, a good deal more material had to be compiled and filed by the respondents and much correspondence was sent to and fro.

Mediation took place on 31 October 2013 and was unsuccessful.

With the exception of an offer to settle on 27 November 2013, the applicant took no further steps to progress her claim after mediation.

On 27 June 2014, the applicant filed an affidavit that addressed her health and income details.

The applicant’s initial affidavit material deposed that she was advised that costs up to final trial would be in the order of $40,000-$50,000.00. As of March 2015, the applicant’s costs far exceed that amount to the value of $140,045.74.

His Honour at para [68] considered that “the court should have regard to the practice direction when considering how to assess what costs order should be made.”

His Honour at para [70] confirms the position that the costs should have been made available to him at trial as it would of course be relevant to the exercise of the discretion at the second stage.

It is evident reading the remarks between the parties that the applicant did not place the requisite emphasis on the principles nor the process of her claim which was to her detriment. His Honour appeared to appreciate that the respondent persevered through the lacking detail and pressed for compliance with precedent and the relevant directions.

This case serves as a very important reminder to all practitioners that process should be respected so as to avoid unfavourable outcomes in general and in respect to costs. Perhaps it also serves as a reminder that all parties should be approaching the issues to resolve in a united matter to enable a resolution of any (if not all) the issues as early as possible (paras[67], [73] and [74]).

It also reminds us all that whilst you may have a genuine FPA claim, the process by which that claim should be run is entirely relevant to not only the second stage of Singer v Berghouse, but also determining costs.

It is clear from His Honour’s judgement that the Respondent’s solicitor’s skills and expertise in this area certainly made a difference.  A thorough understanding and due respect for the principles and process of these types of matters is essential to ensure that the matter is run smoothly and the outcome is favourable to the client not just in the initial family provision claim, but also in respect of legal costs.

You can read the case here.

read more
Judica SwiftFamily Provision Costs Capped – Cerneaz v Cerneaz [2015] QDC 073

Congratulations to our Principal, Judica Swift !

by Judica Swift on July 30, 2014 Comments Off on Congratulations to our Principal, Judica Swift !

step-logoCongratulations to our Principal, Judica Swift for becoming a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners! Judica is now a Full Member of the Society

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a worldwide professional body of practitioners devoted to advising individuals and families on family inheritance and succession planning. To find out more about step, you can visit their website here.

STEP has incredibly high professional standards that must be met by all members to join and maintain their affiliation with this elite body of professionals.

Judica joins a group of like professionals both at an international level and their local branch here in Queensland.

Once again, we congratulate Judica on her well deserved achievement! You can read more about our team here

read more
Judica SwiftCongratulations to our Principal, Judica Swift !

Happy Birthday, Swift Legal Solutions!

by Judica Swift on July 1, 2014 Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Swift Legal Solutions!


Today, Swift Legal Solutions Pty Ltd celebrates its first birthday!

Our wonderful Principal, Judica Swift, had a dream. With a passion for the elderly and an understanding of a great deficiency in the provision of quality legal services,  Judica uncovered that this deficiency was widespread and was being experienced by the people that need it the most; the elderly and the time poor.  With her passion, her dream and an innate understanding of this deficit, Judica put her thinking cap on and one year ago today, Swift Legal Solutions Pty Ltd was born.

Since opening its car doors, Swift Legal Solutions Pty Ltd has been able to assist people from all walks of life and people with all types of commitments that have restricted even everyday people from accessing legal advice when they need it most.

We are so proud to be able to offer our services in this way and being able to provide this invaluable service to our clients in their own home or favourite coffee shop at no additional cost to them.

We’re different because our community needs something different.

We are so thankful to all of our clients, friends, and family who have supported us in our first year.

We are excited by the brightness of our future and we hope you’ll continue to join us for the years to come.

Happy Birthday, Swift Legal Solutions! 

read more
Judica SwiftHappy Birthday, Swift Legal Solutions!

What is Letters of Administration?

by Judica Swift on April 5, 2014 Comments Off on What is Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration is:

  • A legal document;
  • The process by which the Supreme Court appoints a person to be administrator of a deceased person’s estate and officially authorises the administrator to distribute a person’s estate in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy (i.e. the rules that apply when you die without a Will).

Letters of Administration is a similar process to that of obtaining a Grant of Probate.  See our post on Probate here.

The difference between Probate and Letters of Administration is:

read more

Judica SwiftWhat is Letters of Administration?

What is Probate?

by Judica Swift on April 5, 2014 Comments Off on What is Probate?

Probate is:

  • A legal document;
  • The process by which the Supreme Court proves the last Will of the deceased as valid
  • The process that officially appoints the executor as having the authority to distribute a person’s estate in accordance with their last Will

In Queensland, it is not always essential to get a Grant of Probate to administer someone’s estate;  this will generally depend on the assets held by the estate and the size of the estate.

read more

Judica SwiftWhat is Probate?

What if I don’t have a Will?

by Judica Swift on April 3, 2014 Comments Off on What if I don’t have a Will?

What happens when you pass away without a Will depends on a number of factors:

  • What family have you left behind?
  • Are children involved?
  • Is your spouse/child more needy than the others?
  • Does your family get along?
read more
Judica SwiftWhat if I don’t have a Will?

Joint Tenants & Tenants In Common, what’s the difference?

by Judica Swift on April 2, 2014 Comments Off on Joint Tenants & Tenants In Common, what’s the difference?

Jointly owned property may form part of your estate, depending on how it is held.

Joint Tenants

If you own property with another as Joint Tenants this means that upon the death of the first joint tenant, the interest in the property passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.  This is also referred to as the “Right of Survivorship”.  This is an automatic right.  As a result of this automatic right, this property will not form part of your estate.  The only time this property would form part of your estate is if you were the last surviving joint tenant and you passed away.  The property falls to the estate of the last joint tenant to pass away.*

Jointly held bank accounts are also subject to the “Right of Survivorship” and as a result will pass to the surviving joint owner upon your death.

Tenants in Common

If you own property with another as a Tenant in Common, you can own equal or unequal shares.  The difference with Tenants in Common is that when you pass away, your share will fall into your estate and be dealt with and distributed in accordance with your Will or the Rules of Intestacy (if you don’t have a Will).  For example; you own a house with another and you own 50% each as Tenants In Common.  When you pass away, your 50% share of that property will fall into your estate.

*Note:  other considerations might be relevant to your estate plan if you have property in NSW.

read more
Judica SwiftJoint Tenants & Tenants In Common, what’s the difference?

What is an “Estate”?

by Judica Swift on April 2, 2014 Comments Off on What is an “Estate”?

An estate is the word used to describe your pool of assets that you own at the date of your death.

What assets fall to your estate upon your death depend on whether they are owned by just you or jointly with another.

Assets that will fall to your estate would be things that are owned by just you.  For example;

  • Your jewellery
  • Your clothes
  • Your personal items, including phone, iPad etc
  • Your motor vehicle, if owned by just you
  • Superannuation, in some circumstances

If you own things jointly with another person, these things may automatically pass to the joint owner upon your death.  See our post on jointly owned property here.

Your estate will also be responsible for paying your bills that were left behind.  Your bills might include:

  • Your funeral costs
  • Your credit card
  • Your phone bill
  • Your loans
  • Your tax

Your executor/administrator will be responsible for gathering all information to realise all assets that owned and all the debts you have. They are also responsible for doing your tax returns and finalising all of your affairs.

read more
Judica SwiftWhat is an “Estate”?