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May 2014

Posted by on in May 2014

Every business, at some point in time, is going to have outstanding invoices which need chasing. Outstanding invoices can have a significant impact on your cash flow so it is important to ensure that you have the best processes in place to recover these debts. Below are some tips we recommend to all businesses:

1. Put the contract in writing!

Whether it is a simple one off agreement, an ongoing supply to a regular client, or a complex arrangement, all agreements should be reflected in writing. This is to ensure that all parties know exactly what they are to do, when they are to do it, how much it will cost, when payment is to be made, and to remove doubt as to what the terms of the agreement are.

2. Know who your customer is

It is not uncommon for the person you are dealing with to be a director of one or more companies, or an employee of an organisation, and it is important to make sure you know which company is your client and to confirm that the person you are dealing with an the authority and power to enter into a binding agreement on their behalf. This is important if you ever have to chase an invoice as you need to know who you provided goods or services to and who owes you the money. Suing the wrong company can lead to them to simply say “I didn’t agree to anything with you”.  Consider asking for copies of identification documents such as a driver licence to obtain the full name and address of your customer. If is a company or business get a signed personal guarantee from the Director or owner. We are constantly surprised by the number of our clients who never asked the surname of their customer when supplying them with goods or services!

3. Maintain records

Keeping copies of all contracts, agreements, letters, emails, dockets and forms is vital when it comes to proving that someone owes you money. Keeping and dating notes of conversations can also be of great assistance, especially when those conversations contain admissions of the debt owed and an acknowledgment of receiving the goods or services. Always confirm any verbal changes to the agreement in writing – even by just sending a confirmatory email.

4. Follow up invoices early

Following up invoices early with the client is vital as it is during this time that the customer will still appreciative of the goods or services you provided. The longer you leave it, the more time people have had to move on and forget about the great job you have done, or the greater the risk that they have re-allocated or spent the money that they had set aside for you. You should develop a system to keep track of all outstanding invoices and send out prompt reminder letters and make calls after certain periods of time have lapsed after an invoice is issued. If you give a time limit in your letter, make sure you show you mean it by following up again immediately if the time limit is not met

5. Seek assistance

After you have done everything suggested you may still have a few debts unpaid. The question then is, what more can I do? There is always more than one solution to a problem and seeking the assistance of our Debt Recovery Team can often lead to your customers making payment immediately or negotiating a payment arrangement. If Court action is required, then it can be handled professionally and effectively.

At Caldwell Martin Cox, we have developed a streamlined and efficient debt recovery process that can be tailored to the circumstances and commercial needs of individual businesses.  We can also analyse your current systems to assist in minimising future debts, increasing cash flow and retaining proof of transactions.

Don't let someone else receive benefits to the detriment of your business. It's your money!

 

The New South Wales Roads & Ports Minister has announced significant proposed changes to the law regarding drink driving and also demerit point offenders.

For a number of years there has been a voluntary scheme called the “Interlock Program” for drivers who are convicted of the offence of driving with the high range prescribed concentration of alcohol (greater than .015). The "Interlock" is an electronic device connected to the motor vehicle ignition which prevents it from starting if the driver has consumed alcohol. The current legislation allows people in this category to be allowed to reduce the time they are disqualified from holding a driver licence in return for them agreeing to have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle for a period of time. Only 700 participants volunteered for this scheme.

The proposed changes will mean that any drink driver with a reading in the high range, or any drink driver who has committed two drink driving offences within five years, will be required to have an interlock device fitted. It should be noted that there is a cost involved with the fitting of interlock and it also can cause difficulties for people who drive a number of different vehicles.

The Government also proposes to require drink drivers who are convicted of a second offence within five years to pass a driving knowledge test when they re-apply for their driver licence and similarly, drivers who exceed their demerit point limit (currently 13 points for most drivers) twice within five years, to be required to both re-sit their driver knowledge test and also complete a driver education course before being allowed to resume driving after suspension of their driving licences.

There has been no start date announced for this legislation as yet. For information regarding traffic law and driving offences generally please contact either Geoff Lloyd or Lance Watson of our Camden office or Jilliane Duve of our Narellan office.

 

It is often the case that people in a relationship receive an inheritance during their relationship and apply it towards buying a joint asset or perhaps paying off a mortgage or other debts. If they then separate are they entitled to “get it back”?

The short answer is “no”, but it does not end there and is not as simple as that. An inheritance of any significant amount will still usually have an impact on what share of the assets each party gets following separation and will usually result in a better share of the assets for the person who received the inheritance – but not on a “dollar for dollar” basis. There are however many factors to consider when determining how the inheritance impacts on people’s entitlements including:-

  1. The length of your relationship.
  2. The amount of the inheritance.
  3. How the inheritance was used.
  4. The length of time that has passed since the inheritance was received.
  5. Whether the inheritance was received before or after separation.


If an inheritance was received by you or your partner during your relationship and you have not completed your property settlement, it is very important that you obtain specialist legal advice on the specific facts of your matter so that you can obtain a fair outcome in your settlement.  We encourage you to contact any of our male or female family lawyers on 4651 4800.

 

Posted by on in May 2014

Capital Gains Tax

There is no CGT payable on the sale of a deceased person’s principal place of residence at the time of death - if it is sold within 2 years of death.

Challenging a Will

Proceedings to challenge the Will must be commenced by filing a summons in either the District or Supreme Courts within 12 months from the date of death.  Only certain “eligible persons” are entitled to challenge a Will.

Copies of Wills

Any person (including a solicitor) who holds a Will or a copy of a Will or former Will of a deceased person MUST allow certain defined persons to inspect or be given copies of those documents. If you would like information about an issue like this please contact us.

 

One area that people don't often think about when their license is about to be suspended for incurring too many demerit points is whether they are entitled to an extra point.

In New South Wales, a full license holder has a limit of 13 demerit points that they can accumulate before their license is suspended. However, if you are a person who is a professional driver then your limit is in fact 14 points. In order to qualify as a professional driver you must:

 

  1. Be a motor vehicle driver that transports goods or is an accredited bus, taxi or hire car driver; and
  2. Be paid for the driving work; and
  3. Drive more than 20 hours per week; and
  4. Have been a professional driver at the time of your last offence and on the date the Notice of Suspension was given.


If you satisfy these criteria then you simply have to notify Roads & Maritime Services that you are a professional driver and the suspension of your license will be withdrawn. It is also important to note that the additional point granted to a professional driver is a separate issue to a Good Behaviour Licence that is sometimes available to drivers.

If you would like to know whether any of these issues apply to you our friendly team at Caldwell Martin Cox are more than happy to discuss them with you.

 

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ABN 65001889317

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

We have Accredited Specialists in

- Advocacy
- Family Law
- Property Law

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