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A Client’s Journey : Lasting Power of Attorney

Real Story, Real Solution

Choosing a Lasting Power of Attorney is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It can have a significant impact on both financial and healthcare decisions, ensuring that your interests are protected and managed with efficiency and care.

Below is a true case file of one of our clients, showcasing the practicality and compassion inherent in selecting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Through this real-life example, you’ll see firsthand the value and importance of this legal arrangement in safeguarding your well-being and ensuring your wishes are respected.

 

Mrs Wong’s husband had passed away many years ago. Her only daughter, Emily, was working in Hong Kong.

Mrs Wong spent most of her life building a close-knit community around her. As the years passed, Mrs. Wong faced some health challenges that made it difficult for her to manage her affairs independently. Recognizing the need for a plan, she sought legal advice on how best to protect her interests and ensure a smooth transition for her loved ones.

When Mrs Wong came to see us, we explained to her that while a Will outlines how assets should be distributed after one’s passing, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) granted someone the legal authority to make decisions on her behalf while she was still alive but was unable to do so herself.

Mrs. Wong considered her situation carefully.

  • She had a loving daughter, but she was aware that her health could take unexpected turns.
  • She decided that having an LPA would be a practical and compassionate choice.
having an LPA

A few years later, Mrs. Wong faced a sudden deterioration in her health. She was no longer able to manage her financial affairs or make decisions about her medical care. However, thanks to the LPA she had set up, her daughter, Emily, was able to step in and handle matters seamlessly.

Emily worked closely with medical professionals to ensure the best care for her mother. She managed Mrs Wong’s finances responsibly, paying bills and handling investments according to her mother’s wishes.

Having an LPA empowered Emily to make decisions in real time, avoiding delays that might have occurred if decisions were contingent on court approval.

As Wong’s health declined, Emily also found comfort in the fact that she could focus on providing emotional support to her mother rather than navigating complex legal processes. The LPA allowed Emily to act in her mother’s best interests swiftly and decisively.

When Mrs. Wong eventually passed away, her Will came into effect, and her assets were distributed according to her wishes.

The combination of the Will and the Lasting Power of Attorney proved to be a powerful strategy, ensuring not only the seamless transition of her estate but also the dignified and compassionate management of her affairs during her final years.

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Lawyers & Deal Breakers

Uncover the Untold Stories - Legal Secrets

Lawyers have often been branded as “deal breakers“; they cause business deals to be aborted by letting legal issues cloud business goals and commercial imperatives.

Legal expertise plays a crucial role in business transactions. Their involvement can differentiate between a successful business deal and a potential disaster.

Lawyers have specialized knowledge in drafting and reviewing contracts, which are the foundation of any business transaction. They can carefully analyze terms and conditions, identify potential loopholes or unfavourable clauses, and negotiate on behalf of their clients to protect their interests. This level of legal expertise helps to enforce fair and equitable agreements that safeguard the rights of all parties involved.

By uncovering hidden risks and potential areas of concern, lawyers can provide the necessary guidance to make informed decisions and mitigate potential negative consequences.

Being your lawyer, our responsibility is to protect your legal position.

When business imperatives prevent us from fully protecting your interests, we bring awareness of the risks to the forefront so that your business decisions are always INFORMED decisions; made with full knowledge of the risks involved.

Our approach: Going in with your eyes wide open is better than plunge in blindly, hoping for the best.

While we cannot insure you against business risks, we always have your best interest at heart.

Here is a cautionary tale – believe us when we tell you that it happens more often than we like, to the best and worst of our clients.

Our client was very excited about the prospect of new business through a joint venture with another company. The joint venture company was owned and operated by friends they knew well. Negotiations were conducted cordially over lunch and dinner.

Being lawyers (as always) looking out for our client, we proposed to draw up a simple “joint venture contract”, setting out the agreement reached by our client and his friends on the scope of each party’s contributions, responsibilities and share of profits.

When presented with the contract, his friends were livid; they called our client to say that the contract was inaccurate and that the “deal breaker” lawyer was misinformed, misleading and missing the point.

Further, they claimed to have been insulted that our client even consulted a lawyer for what was, essentially, a venture between good friends based on mutual trust and friendship. They were, in short, not prepared to sign any contract.

Our client wanted the new business enough to forgo “the legalities,” – which was how his new joint venture partners had belittled our efforts.

The client was back in our office about six months into the new business. Not because he wanted to sue his joint venture partners for not making good on their verbal promises (this came later), but because he was now facing court action by third parties seeking compensation for failure to deliver on services that were the responsibility of his joint venture partners.

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When Partnerships Go Wrong

Navigating the Partnership Maze : Learn from Mistakes, Build Success

Partnerships are often seen as the backbone of business success, offering a platform for collaboration, shared resources, and collective expertise. Partners often succeed and thrive, leading to remarkable growth and success stories.

However, there are instances where partnerships go wrong, leading to disappointment, frustration, and even failure. These troubled waters can arise for various reasons, including misaligned goals, incompatible cultures, poor communication, or a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the promise and potential of partnerships are not lost in these challenging situations.

While setbacks may occur, they allow reflection, learning, and course correction.

Through a thorough understanding of the factors that contributed to the partnership’s failure, businesses can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to navigate troubled waters more effectively.

We will dive into a real-life case where a promising partnership took a wrong turn, uncovering the reasons behind its downfall and the lessons learned.

John and Peter were 2 entrepreneurs with complementary skills and a shared vision who came together to create a startup.

At first, everything seemed perfect. They had a solid business plan, a promising product, and a strong network of contacts. The business flourished, and started gaining traction in the market.

However, as time passed, cracks began appearing in their once-harmonious relationship.

Disagreements over strategic decisions, differing work ethics, and communication breakdowns started to plague the partnership.

They began to see things from different perspectives and found it challenging to find common ground. These issues eventually led to a breakdown in trust and collaboration.

Decision-making became contentious, and conflicts escalated.

The once-promising partnership now stood on shaky ground, jeopardizing the future of the business they had worked so hard to build.

We will take a closer look at the challenges and reasons behind the downfall of the partnership between John and Peter.

  • One key challenge in this partnership was a lack of clear communication and shared vision.
    • The partners had different ideas and goals for the business, which resulted in frequent misunderstandings and conflicting decisions.
    • This lack of alignment created tension and hindered progress, ultimately leading to a breakdown in trust and collaboration.
  • Another significant challenge was the unequal contribution of resources and efforts.
    • One partner felt they were shouldering a disproportionate amount of the workload and financial burden, creating resentment and a sense of unfairness.
    • This imbalance not only strained the relationship between the partners but also affected the business’s overall success.
  • Additionally, the partners failed to establish a solid foundation of trust and transparency.
    • There were instances of hidden agendas, undisclosed information, and broken promises.
    • These actions eroded trust and made it difficult for the partners to work together effectively, ultimately leading to a breakdown in the partnership.
  • Furthermore, a lack of conflict resolution skills played a significant role in the downfall of this partnership.
    • Instead of addressing conflicts head-on and finding mutually beneficial solutions, the partners avoided or mishandled disagreements.
    • This resulted in unresolved issues that continued to fester and negatively impacted the partnership.

Overall, the challenges and reasons behind the downfall of this partnership can be attributed to a lack of clear communication, shared vision, unequal contribution, trust issues, and a failure to resolve conflicts effectively.

By identifying and understanding these factors, we can learn valuable lessons about the importance of open and honest communication, aligned goals, equitable participation, trust-building, and effective conflict resolution in maintaining successful partnerships.

Contrary to popular perception, a lawyer is more valuable to you BEFORE a lawsuit arises. Speak to us over video consultation via Lawyer Anywhere.

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Myth Of The Perfect 2-Page Agreement

Unveiling the Truth about 2-Page Agreements

Many believe shorter is always better for contracts and that a 2-page agreement exemplifies simplicity and effectiveness.

The length of an agreement should not be the sole measure of its quality.

It is easy to see why a 2-page agreement would be appealing.

But the truth is, not all agreements can be effectively covered in just 2-page. While brevity may be seen as a virtue in some cases, it should not come at the expense of clarity and comprehensiveness.

Some agreements, such as those involving complex business transactions or legal matters, require a more detailed and comprehensive approach. Attempting to condense all the necessary information into a 2-page document can lead to ambiguity, loopholes, and potential disputes further down the road.

It’s important to remember that the length of an agreement should be determined by its content and complexity rather than arbitrary page limits.

In some cases, a longer agreement may be necessary to cover all the necessary terms and protect the interests of all parties involved. Instead of fixating on a 2-page agreement, it is more important to focus on crafting a well-written, clear, and comprehensive document that accurately reflects the intentions and expectations of all parties. This requires careful consideration, collaboration, and sometimes the expertise of legal professionals.

Having been in the corporate practice for more than 20 years and having drafted and reviewed countless contracts, we know that many of Singapore’s Small and medium Enterprises have turned to the internet for self-help measures to deal with the nitty-gritty day-to-day aspects of starting, running, and protecting their business as a cost-saving measure.

Like many business owners, you have probably used or are using an agreement downloaded from the internet.

Or you were a little more diligent and had searched for a few similar legal agreements and combined them into one agreement.

Many business owners come to us, flaunting their “simple 2-page but near-perfect” agreements and requesting minor “touch-ups”. We often had to tell these clients that their agreements required a significant overhaul as they did not provide for many common situations.

To truly understand the importance of a properly drafted agreement, it is essential to explore real-life case studies and their valuable lessons.

One of our clients, a training consultant, recently came to us with his “perfect” 2-page agreement. He said he had been using his consultant agreement for the last 6 years without problems.

He recently learned that the company he had worked with made copies of his work and circulated them to all its staff members. A quick review of his consultant agreement showed that it lacked terms relating to using his materials, particularly the right to compensation for the unlawful use of his materials.

Our client told us that, being a “one-man show,” he didn’t want to “scare off” his clients with a 20-page legal agreement.

Our client has now learned that he omitted important details and clauses by condensing his agreement into just 2-pages.

Having learnt a valuable lesson, our client’s standard agreement is now 8 pages long.

Companies in different industries have different specific needs. Very often, the various issues faced by businesses require a variety of specific legal wordings. If you feel that these issues are important to you, make sure your agreements are reviewed by a lawyer. Speak to us over video consultation via Lawyer Anywhere.

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Too Good To Be True

Exposing the Truth Behind "Too Good to Be True"

Over an informal lunch, a client informed us that he had been granted an exciting, not-to-be-missed, one-time-only opportunity to buy over a rival company. Our client considered this an excellent offer as it would enable him to acquire the rival’s clientele and expand his business. He had already negotiated the price and was on the verge of inking the deal.

Being lawyers, we offered to “check out” the target company; and advised that a routine risk management measure would entail conducting a due diligence checks on the company’s liabilities and contracts.

Our client assured us that there was absolutely no need to waste money on due diligence checks as the target company had already made frank disclosure of debts amounting to $800k, which both parties had mutually agreed to take into account in the purchase price. In divulging such information, he felt that the owner had proven himself a man of integrity – or else why disclose the enormity of its liabilities?

We suggested to my client that the due diligence exercise would be part of our services when representing him in the purchase; in any case, it would not delay the sale or cost much money. The client reluctantly agreed (and only because he wanted to prove that I was being paranoid!)

Our due diligence showed that the target company owed creditors total debts of over $2.3 million! Additionally, foreign workers employed by a “sister” company were being deployed in their workshops and being paid an hourly wage, putting the company in breach of strict MOM regulations concerning the employment of foreign workers. So our “man of integrity” turned out to be a “man of straw” after all.

Our client was very grateful (and humbled) that we had saved him from a “rotten” deal.

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Near Bankruptcy To Financial Freedom – A Success Story

From Crisis to Triumph: How We Rescued Our Client From Bankruptcy

THE BACKGROUND

The client runs a small family business importing and exporting goods from the neighbouring ASEAN countries and has been doing it for 35 years. Being old school, he runs his business based on relationships and personal ties. He has used the same bank for all his financial needs over the last 45 years. Conservative in his borrowing, he has one commercial loan secured by a mortgage over his shop house; and a renovation loan (surprisingly, this was in the form of an overdraft facility) secured by his home.

THE PROBLEM

During the economic slowdown, his business took a hit, and cash flow became a problem. The client started to miss loan repayment instalments which amounted to $15,000 per month, paying them intermittently whenever he could. Each month he struggled to raise the funds required to pay the loan instalments which were overdue. Snowballing default interest became an insurmountable burden, overshadowing even his anxiety over his failing business.

WHY HE CAME TO SEE US

By the time he came to see us, he had received a letter of demand from his bank. They had threatened to foreclose on both loans. In addition, the bank’s employee who had served as his relationship manager over the last twenty years had recently left the bank. The new relationship manager taking over his account was not sympathetic – “new brooms sweeps client,” as the saying goes – the new manager’s prevailing concern was to reduce the bank’s exposure in a recession.

Having been backed into a corner and feeling overwhelmed, the client came to see us, not expecting any more in terms of legal services than to help him “buy” some time with the bank. Yet, at the same time, he was desperately looking for ways to raise the funds to stave off the repossession of his family home.

WHAT WE ACHIEVED

A quick investigation of our client’s borrowing history and current property valuations showed that –

  1. his residential property is valued at $2.3 million, and his shop house at $1.1 million (current valuations).
  2. that the client’s total debt to the bank is $900k, a mere fraction of the total worth of the mortgaged properties – our client was over-securitized!

We called our bankers, and within a few days, they offered to refinance his loan by giving him a NEW term loan secured by his residential property only.

As residential term loans bear much lower interest rates than an overdraft loan, the client’s liability to his new bankers was now reduced to a manageable $2,500 per month.

Our client was so relieved and heartened by his change of status that he could now focus his attention on his business. To help him ride out the recession, he was able to sub-let his shophouse for $7,000 per month.

As a result, from the brink of a bankruptcy action, our client now enjoys a fixed monthly income of $4,500!