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Joss Legal: Providing Certainty in an Uncertain Time

By March 25, 2020 No Comments

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis with Covid-19 being declared a global pandemic. This is having a direct impact on how law firms operate and the way that the courts are able to administer justice for the wider community.

At Joss Legal, we are taking extra precautions to ensure that the health and well-being of our staff and clients are protected. During these challenging times, we are still working hard remotely to ensure that we still offer the same services to clients.

This blog will detail all you need to know about how your family law matter will be impacted by Covid-19, and what you need to do to be proactive in protecting your property by preparing a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Guardianship and Advanced Health Directive. We will continue to provide you with updates through this blog series as son as they become available.

Continuity of Services

Firstly, the most important thing to know is that although our staff are working remotely we are still actively working on all of our client’s files and there will be no disruption to our services.

You can still call through on our office number, (08) 6559 7480 and be assured that your call will be answered or returned as soon as possible if calling outside office hours.

You can still email us at lawyers@josslegal.com.au and be assured that we will respond to your email.

If you need documents signed or to drop off documents to our office, we will work through this with each client on a case by case basis, but have solutions to deal with all situations.

Family Court of WA

The Court’s priority during the global Covid-19 pandemic is to ensure the safety of its staff and users. At this stage, all hearings and conference that have been scheduled in the Family Court will proceed as scheduled, however with some modifications. This means that the Covid-19 crisis will not exempt you from attending your court hearings or abiding by court orders without reasonable excuse.

However, a number of additional measures have been implemented by the Court to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 to practitioners, parties and staff.

Wherever practicable, the following hearings scheduled in the Family Court will be conducted by telephone including:

  • Directions hearings
  • Status hearings
  • Interim Hearings
  • Case Assessment Conferences and Child Dispute Conferences

To facilitate this, the parties must notify the Court by email or complete a Request to Attend by Electronic Communication form. This is something that we will do on behalf of our clients.

Further, Save in exceptional circumstances, documents (other than exhibits) should not be handed up in open court. Instead, these documents will need to be provided to the Court by email in advance of the hearing date.

Further, to enforce social distancing measures, the Court recommends that only legal practitioners, parties, their support person (if applicable) and witnesses should attend the Court. Other members of the public are requested not to attend.

As of Monday 23 March 2020, all front counter services and access to public kiosk computers have been temporarily suspended. If you need to file any documents to the Family Court of WA, you can do so by eFiling all documents through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au). Alternatively, documents can be filed by posting them to the Family Court directly.

Children’s Court of WA

The Children’s Court of WA are equally encouraging all hearings to be via telephone attendance. Again, we will organise this for all of our clients.

Legal Aid – Dispute Resolution Conferences

At this stage, Dispute Resolution Conferences scheduled through Legal Aid WA are proceeding as normal. We will keep you updated with any interruptions regarding the service.

Initial Consultations

We are now offering initial consultations with an experienced solicitor for only $99 by phone or video (Zoom) call.

During an initial consultation, you can receive legal advice for any of the following matters:

  • Family Law (Property and Parenting)
  • Divorce and separation
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Violence Restraining Orders
  • Care and Protection Matters

At the end of your initial consultation, you will leave with advice about your matter and an action plan about next steps to help ensure you receive the best outcome possible.

As part of our service, we are offering significant reduced prices for Wills, Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Guardianship and Advanced Health Directive documents. These are each further explained in more detail below.

Wills

This global crisis highlights the importance to act without delay in relation to your Will.

A Will is a document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and other property after your death, along with the care of any minor children. If you pass away without a Will, the consequences can be devastating.

It is important that your Will outlines the following:

  • Executors – a person(s) who will carry out your wishes after you death
  • Special gifts – eg. jewellery, furniture, special artifacts
  • Beneficiaries – who will receive everything in your estate
  • Disposal of body – organ donation, cremation/burial
  • Investment advice

We can prepare your Will for a special promotional price of $300, for a limited time only. We will obtain your instructions about your will during an initial consultation with a solicitor to help ensure that your final will is exactly in accordance with your wishes. The price of your consultation will then be deducted from the final price of your will.

Enduring Power of Attorney

During the unprecedented global crisis, we also recommend that clients consider preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney. This allows someone to make property and financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose mental capacity. Further, you can nominate your attorney to deal with your assets while you are overseas.

It is important to have an Enduring Power of Attorney in case you are left without capacity to make decisions for yourself, or physically unable to manage your finances. You can appoint more than one attorney to make decisions on your behalf. It is critical that you choose someone who you know and trust to make financial decisions in your best interests.

We can prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney for you for a special promotional price of $50 for a limited time only and obtain your instructions during an initial consultation appointment.

Enduring Power of Guardianship

An Enduring Power of Attorney does not give an attorney the authority to make decisions about personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions. Hence, we advise clients to also sign a prepared Enduring Power of Guardianship document.

An Enduring Power Guardianship nominates who can make decisions about your care and living arrangements in the event that you lose your mental capacity. It can include things such as:

  • A health plan
  • Who you live with
  • Education and training you receive
  • Commence, defend or conduct legal proceedings
  • Deciding where you live (eg. nursing homes)

You can choose more than one guardian to make decisions on your behalf.

We can prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney for you for a special promotional price of $50 for a limited time only and obtain your instructions during an initial consultation appointment.

Advanced Health Directive

An advance health directive is a legal document in which you set out your decisions about your future medical, surgical or dental treatment and other health care, including palliative care and life-sustaining measures. You can give or withhold consent for treatments that you specify.

Your advance health directive will only be used if and when you become unable to make a treatment decision for yourself. Any decisions you make in your advance health directive must be followed by health professionals except in very limited circumstances.

If you do not have an applicable or valid advance health directive, the legislation sets out who will be asked to make treatment decisions on your behalf.

In conjunction with legal advice, we would recommend that you also obtain medical advice about what options are available to you in particular circumstances. This will help you decide what to include in your advanced health directive in regards to what treatment, if any, you consent to.

Further information

For more information about any of the services we provide or book in for an initial consultation, please contact us on (08) 6559 7480, email us at lawyers@josslegal.com.au or send us a Facebook message.