Private Client Services: 2022 Year in Review
As we come to a close on 2022, our Private Client Services (PCS) team reflects on some clear themes that have emerged in family succession planning this year.
“The lifting of travel restrictions has seen families reunite in person. While that has given families the opportunity to see their loved ones, it has also enabled many of our clients to initiate robust discussions regarding the future of the family’s succession objectives. The focus of those discussions has been the transition of control and the most appropriate mechanism for keeping wealth within the bloodline balanced against a desire for financial independence and ensuring common family objectives are maintained.”
Donna Benge – Partner
“2022 has emphasised the importance of structuring the family succession plan for success. We were frequently called upon for our expertise in assisting to remedy historical fractures in the succession plan which served to highlight being ahead of such possible events by reviewing important personal and commercial succession documents.”
Rod Jones – Partner
In 2022, our PCS team continued to be called upon to advise our clients on a national level, including some international assignments with instructions received from South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Isle of Man, the UK and the USA. Much of that focus has been on complex estate and succession planning.
Volatile investment markets have seen an increase in the establishment of self-managed superannuation funds, as anecdotally people chase investment alternatives, particularly private equity opportunities. That trend has highlighted the need for a well thought out exit plan, particularly in the event of incapacity and death of a member. Ensuring that good trust deeds and proper powers of attorney are in place are critical. For corporate trustees, making sure that the company constitution provides for alternatives such as successor directors should be considered.
We are increasingly seeing more clients vulnerable to financial exploitation by family members and third parties, which has emphasised the importance of a considered estate plan. We have had to approach the court on behalf of a number of clients to protect their interests and if possible, retrieve assets over which they have lost control. Often the transactions do not come to light until after death. These cases serve to highlight the importance of whom is charged with appointments as attorneys and executors of wills and getting the right advice.
The team also published a number of timely Insights throughout the year.
Of interest in 2023 for those in South Australia will be the passing of the Succession Act (SA) that will consolidate the existing Wills Act, Inheritance (Family Provision) Act and Administration and Probate Act into one single instrument. This will be the most significant legislative change in this practice area for decades. Our Insight will be circulated with commentary once that is gazetted.
We were pleased to see Sam Morphett being recognised by his well-earned promotion to Senior Associate.
Nicole Harford is completing her Masters of Law (Succession) and has succeeded Sam Morphett to the STEP (SA) Emerging TEP Professionals sub-committee.
After a COVID exile in Adelaide, Jennifer Turner returned to Melbourne with her family to be our PCS team face in the Melbourne office. Jen’s regular presence has been a welcome addition for our Melbourne and Victorian clients.
Zeena Anthony-Qureshi has presented to a number of client groups on current estate planning strategies.
We were pleased to welcome two experienced legal administrative assistants Kimberley Bennetts (JP) and a return to the firm for Michelle Phillips.
This year, we have had some outstanding recognition for our team. We are grateful for our clients and colleagues, and are looking forward to another successful year in 2023.
The Best Lawyers in Australia
In the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in Australia, 52 of Piper Alderman’s lawyers are recognised across 42 legal areas including the following partners in our Private Client Services team:
- Donna Benge – Wealth Management / Succession Planning Practice, Adelaide
- Rod Jones – Wealth Management / Succession Planning Practice, Adelaide
In the 2022 edition of Doyle’s Guide, we received the following recognition: