This webinar comprises 3 one-hour sessions covering each of the compulsory CPD subjects for succession lawyers for the CPD year ending 31 March 2023.
Session 1: Practice Management & Business Skills
Electronic Documents, the Digital Age and the Succession Law Practice
The digital era is here to stay, and with it comes electronic wills, probate and communications. How should your succession law practice adapt to these challenges? This session looks at the main rules and provides practical guidance on navigating the new landscape, including:
- Sending email or hard copy letter – a professional practice issue?
- Electronic communication and confidentiality issues
- Electronic communication and the intersect with legal professional privilege
- Without prejudice communications – risk factors in electronic communication
- Electronic probate – what are the practical issues emerging in practice?
- Electronic wills – It may be legal but is it practical?
Session 2: Ethics
Practitioner Executors Dealing with Estate Assets: Practical Ethical Dilemmas
The role of executor can be onerous, and this is particularly so for solicitors acting as executors. This session looks at the ethical risks for solicitors in this role, particularly when dealing with estate assets. It includes:
- Should solicitors be executor? – an ethics perspective
- Executor problems in working out who they represent
- Ethics issues when managing estate property for many beneficiaries
- The extent of fiduciary responsibility on an executor
- When the executor does not gain proper authority – when is this an ethical breach?
- When inadequate record keeping becomes an ethics problem
- Case study – what executors must not do if they want to avoid ethics breaches
Session 3: Professional Skills
Shades of Grey: Professional Responsibility for Determining Capacity
At a time when people are living longer than ever before, the making of a will tends to happen in later life when declining health may impact decision - making. What are the obligations of legal practitioners faced with will preparation for a client with signs of cognitive impairment? This session will provide guidance to practitioners on precautionary measures to protect both their clients and themselves from challenges, including:
- At what stage does capacity need to be tested?
- Who is responsible for making a decision on capacity? Is medical evidence always conclusive?
- Can a person with any level of dementia make a will?
- The role and obligations of practitioners in assessing capacity and planning for will execution
- Key precautionary measures to avoid challenges on the grounds of capacity
- Who bears the onus of proof in a challenge?
- What evidence of capacity will the courts look at?
- The role of the statutory will regime when testamentary capacity is lacking
- Recent cases including Greer v Greer QCA 143; Estate Rofe  NSWSC 257; Chant v Curcuruto  NSWSC 751; Gooley v Gooley  NSWSC 56