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21 Jan 2022

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New Year Resolutions! A few legal thoughts for 2022, by Lynch Solicitors

New Year Resolutions! A few legal thoughts for 2022, by Lynch Solicitors

New Year Resolutions! A few legal thoughts for 2022, by Lynch Solicitors

With a New Year usual comes new plans and resolutions or, in some cases, dusting off last year's resolutions.

While this is another unusual year for us all, it might provide the time and resolve needed to follow through on our dusty resolutions and, maybe, make new ones.

One of the positive things that have come out of this global crisis is our collective resilience and our determination to continue to undertake work and live in a most challenging environment.

Lynch Solicitors, as a modern, technology-based and paperless office, can now undertake meetings online, exchange documents online and do all this from any location.

We see the new phase in a technology-driven world for law Firms.

Here are a few legal resolutions to ponder:

Family Matters

Divorce has now a shorter two-year waiting period.

Whatever the reason, if you made the decision to go your separate ways, it takes less time to take the legal step.

A Court will allow this two years period for couples who continue to live under one roof be have lived separate and apart – i.e. if they do not live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship.

A few more family resolutions:

  • If you are an unmarried father, regularise your status.
  • If you are living with someone in a committed relationship, put a Cohabitation Agreement in place.
  • If you are from a blended family, make a Will.

Getting married in 2022?

We have seen a growth in the number of pre-nuptial agreements being sought by farming and other asset-based business families. 

It is important to remember that courts are not bound to give pre-nuptial agreements full effect. If the Court considers that the agreement does not make adequate provision for a spouse or dependant, the Court may vary the agreement.

However, if a pre-nuptial agreement is fair, there is every chance that it will be honoured by the parties and it will be considered favourably by the Court.

Medical Negligence / Personal Injuries / Accidents

The New Year can also see an increase in people enquiring about medical negligence and other litigation cases.

What's important to remember if you are to succeed in a claim is that you must show both negligence and causation.

In other words, you have to show that there is a duty of care, that there has been a breach of that duty, and that such breach caused your situation that gave rise to your injuries.

A few more:

  • Statute of Limitation – make sure you don't run out of time to take a case.
  • Review solvency of defendant – make sure that the person you are taking the case against will be able to pay.
  • A New year is always a good time to see how your case is progressing.

Succession 

Make a Will

It is hard to talk about New Year's Resolutions without talking about Wills.

Some of the reasons (but not all) for making one are:

  • getting married - marriage revokes previous Wills
  • getting divorced or separated
  • buying a house
  • inheriting property or cash
  • settling a litigation claim
  • acquiring assets – home, gift, inheritance
  • having children
  • retiring, getting older or suffering illness or the risk of illness.

Making a Will is not a once-off exercise. You should regularly review your Will.

Enduring Power of Attorney – A Living Will

In these times, this is an example of "you can't have one without the other." If you make a Will, you should also have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

As we grow older, we run the increased risk of losing the ability to manage our affairs without help.

This is where an Enduring Power of Attorney comes into play – you nominate people to handle your personal or financial affairs if you lose the ability to do so.

A few reasons to do it:

  • We live longer
  • If there is a history of illness in the family
  • If there is longevity in the family
  • As a precaution

A few suggestions:

  • Make a Will.
  • Make an Enduring Power of Attorney. 
  • Review your Will.
  • Review the Administration of an Estate.
  • Review your entitlements under a Will.

Regularise the position with your business

Now is a good time – while we are confined to quarters – to have a look at how we do business.

A few possibilities:

  • Make a Succession Plan.
  • Form a Limited Company.
  • Draw up a shareholder's agreement.
  • Make yourself aware of your responsibilities as a director.
  • Draw up a Partnership Agreement.
  • Regularise employment contracts.

Property Transactions

We saw an increase in property transactions in 2021. As we start another year, the indications and predictions are positive on the Home front.

A few suggestions:

  • If you own property with someone else, you should consider a Co-ownership Agreements.
  • If you own property in your sole name, you should consider the benefits of a Transfer into Joint Names.
  • If you Build a house, use a building contract.
  • If you have a farm or business plan for retirement to take advantage of the tax exemptions.
  • If you are a Landlord or Tenant, review the Lease, talk to your landlord.
  • If you get into difficulty with your mortgage, talk to your Lender.
  • Register any rights of way on your lands with the PRA.

Solvency & Bankruptcy

There continue to be individuals who are struggling with debt. Personal Insolvency Arrangments have now become a realistic option for returning to solvency. Bankruptcy is also now a viable option.

A few suggestions:

  • Consider a Personal Insolvency Arrangement to deal with secured debts.
  • Consider a Debt Settlement Arrangement to deal with unsecured debt.
  • Consider Bankruptcy as an option to wipe the slate clean.
  • Review any existing debt arrangement.

Afterthought

As we face another New Year of dealing with 'you know what', it is another opportunity while we are 'confined to barracks' to do some things that hopefully we will be too 'busy' to do when we return to 'normal'.

From all at Lynch Solictors, we wish all our clients a Happy & Healthy New Year!

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