HBCF Construction Classification Updates

icare have updated what constitutes structural and non-structural work for the purposes of providing cover under the Home Building Compensation Fund.

Work is deemed structural if it involves a component that is essential to the stability of a building, or that is classified as a “major element” of the building under the Home Building Regulation 2014.

Additionally, work is deemed structural if it involves cladding, fire safety systems or waterproofing.

A more detailed breakdown, including examples of components that fall under the above classifications, can be found in a document released by icare here.

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Make Your New Years Resolution to Update Your Will

Anyone who’s written or pondered their will has probably reflected on how important it can be to those we leave behind. But, while we’re still around, our lives and circumstances are always changing. When was the last time you considered updating your will? Is what you wrote back then still applicable to your situation now?

Let’s go over some reasons you might want to revisit your last will and testament.

Marital Status

If you and your significant other have taken that big step together into marriage, you might want to think a little bit about how such a change is reflected in your will.

On the other hand, if your long-time relationship has ended, divorce or separation might also affect your final wishes.

Children & Grandchildren

The single greatest change to anyone’s life probably happens when a child enters the picture. Whether through birth, adoption or marriage, make sure you consider your children’s future when thinking about your will.

Children don’t stay young forever, though. Sometimes, they can outgrow the sentiments expressed in your will. For instance, you may have left instructions to hold your child’s inheritance in trust until they’re 18. Now that they’re in their 20’s, you might want to revisit that clause.

Speaking of children growing up, what if they’ve had children themselves? How are they reflected in your will?

Death of a Beneficiary

Just as people enter our lives, people unfortunately leave our lives as well. One of your beneficiaries may not be around to collect their inheritance any more. Whether you consider their estate, or remove them entirely, it’s time to update your will. 

Your Assets

Have you ever come home from work, sat down in your lovely house and thought, “I’ve come a long way from renting that 1-bedroom apartment all those years ago”? Have you started a business since then? Maybe you have a few investment properties. Have you bought a car? Sold your car?

How significantly have your assets changed since you last checked your will? It’s not just about gaining or losing assets either. Your assets themselves can change in value over time.

Social Media

Your online presence grows more important every day in this digital age. As such, you might want to think about how your digital assets are handled once you’re gone. Leaving login details and instructions regarding social media is becoming increasingly common.

You’ve Moved

Legal requirements regarding wills vary from state to state. If you’ve moved interstate, it’s a really good idea to consult an attorney to make sure your will is still valid. Especially so if you’ve moved overseas!

Changing Tax Laws

Tax laws change constantly and there’s a chance this could affect your final wishes. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney and check your will regularly, even if you don’t think your circumstances have changed that much.

You’ve Just Changed Your Mind

Maybe you think to yourself one day, “My eldest isn’t the right one to take over the business.” One day, it might behove you to include a charity in your will. Whatever the reason may be – and however subtle that reason – it’s ok to change your mind regarding anything in your will.

That covers some of the biggest reasons, but those were just a few of many. It’s generally a good idea to at least look at your will once a year. Some people do this around the end of the financial year, rolling their yearly check into their regular tax time preparations.

If you’re thinking about updating your will, or writing one for the first time, we’re happy to take your call. Macquarie Lawyers has extensive experience advising clients on all matters regarding their last will and testament. Either way, as your life and circumstances change, stay safe and be well.

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Building Contractors Beware!

Are you making valid payment claims?

For your tax invoice to be valid as a payment claim, it must:

  • Indicate the amount of the progress payment you are claiming,
  • Identify and sufficiently describe the construction work (or related goods/services) to which the payment relates,
  • Be served to the other party to the contract,
  • (for contracts entered into before 21 October 2019) Be issued after a “Reference Date,” and
  • Have an accompanying Supporting Statement if the claim is to be served by a Head Contract under a Main Contract.

What’s a Supporting Statement, though?

If you’re a head contractor serving a payment claim to a principal, you must include a Supporting Statement. This is a statement that declares that all subcontractors and suppliers you’ve engaged with directly (if any) have been paid all amounts due and payable relevant to the contract, including retention amounts. These amounts do not include any amounts that may be in dispute between you and your subcontractors, but those amounts must be separately identified.

Your Supporting Statement has to be true at time of signing and in the proper form (prescribed by the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Regulation 2008).

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Beware Email Fraud!

Scammers are increasingly targeting law practices, posing as clients or beneficiaries via email to divert payment of funds away from you.

This is why we will always confirm account details over the phone before any fund transfer is processed. This is the best defence against this type of scam.

On top of this, we also consistently:

  • Request clients update or confirm telephone numbers held on file (scammers will often send fake phone numbers and avoid confirming details over the phone).
  • Warn clients about email fraud and make sure they know that our firm will NEVER advise of changes to account details via email.

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Trustees, Be Aware!

If your trust doesn’t expressly exclude foreign persons as potential beneficiaries, you will be forced to pay surcharge duty and land taxes applicable to foreign purchasers, even if it does not name any actual foreign persons as beneficiaries.

The transition period for amending the terms of your trust deed to exclude foreign persons expires at midnight on 31 December 2020.

Don’t get caught out!

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