In contrast, a non-law firm website:
Non-law firm websites buy, beg, borrow or steal a law firm’s template.
Often the templates are never updated or monitored by a law firm. In Australia, a law firm is not responsible for ‘re-sold’ templates. You, as the accountant and your client, are on your own.
Worse still the adviser and accountant are providing ‘legal advice’. This is because the template is resold by non-lawyers. There is no direct relationship between the lawyer that first provided the template and the end-user, being the accountant’s client. ‘Tax agent services’ does not extend to giving legal advice: s90-5(1) TASA 2009. Tax agents are not protected by non-law firm websites.
ACT and South Australian tax agents using non-law firm websites breach:
Using a non-law firm website breaches ‘preparing documents that create or regulate legal rights’.
In Western Australia, a non-law firm website breaches the ‘preparing of any deed, instrument or writing dealing with real or personal estate’.
Even the supply of Trust deeds and Employment Contracts breach the law. A tax agent building trust deeds on a non-law firm website breach the law: sections 21(2)(d) and 21(2)(b) Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA).
Incorporating a company on a non-law firm website breaches the law because a company needs (or should have) a constitution. A constitution is a ‘deed’. Only lawyers can legally prepare deeds. Similarly, a POA is a deed. So an accountant or adviser building a POA on a non-law firm website, including a website provided by a State government, breaches the law.
Before using a non-law website consider:
Our law firm’s website empowers accountants and financial advisers to build legal documents for their clients. Documents include Trust Deeds, Self-Managed Super Deeds, Companies and 3-Generation Testamentary Trust Wills.
Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors is the only law firm in Australia providing online legal documents. On our website, you deal directly with a law firm. We provide:
a. Legal Professional Privilege
b. legal advice and help to answer the online questions – telephone us
c. letter confirming that Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors authored and is responsible for the document
d. the law firm is responsible for the legal document including:
* the questions, hints and training videos
* dynamic logic flows – the next question changes depending on the previous answer
* the answers you type in (e.g. if the accountant or adviser incorrectly misspells the client’s name we are responsible)
* the legal document, minutes and covering letter
* the signing of the documents
You are not giving legal advice when you build documents on our law firm’s website. You are a ‘mere scribe’. See:
The Tax Institute’s Estate & Business Succession Planning, 7th edition, states on page 9:
‘Work that is undertaken in association with the law or legal practice will not necessarily constitute engaging in legal practice. Examples include:
* clerical or administration tasks
* selling legal documents; and
* advising of incidental legal requirements by a person in the pursuit of an occupation other than law, eg tax agents advising on the requirements of tax legislation.’
AFS licensees provide a list of ‘financial products’ you offer your clients. Our law firm’s online legal documents are not investment products.
Your practice can build legal documents online for clients. Each document comes with our letter confirming we authored the document.
Some dealer groups and accounting houses require that a lawyer speaks to your client. Just tick the box, as you build the document if you want this service. Our lawyers contact your client regarding the document.
For free, create your own Estate Planning Standard Policy for your practice. Build it now: https://www.legalconsolidated.com.au/estate-planning-standards/
1. All legal documents you build on our law firm’s website are subject to the Terms of Service.
2. Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors is a law firm. We can and do give legal advice. Seek advice if you are unsure about the legal document you need.
3. You may incorrectly interpret or misunderstand a question and therefore end up with a document that is wrong or won’t work. So contact us as required.
4. The legal, commercial and taxation effects of a document vary based on your personal situation.
5. Only you know the purpose for which you intend to use a document you build: Our law firm is not responsible for your choice of the document. If in doubt, telephone us on the document’s suitability.
You agree not to distribute any of our information or documents.
You agree not to alter any part of the documents. If you do then we are no longer responsible for the document.
You get a full refund, upon request, provided you agree to not use our legal document.
To the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Legal Consolidated, any parent corporation, officers, directors, employees and agents, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses arising from your use of and access to the services.
Adj Professor, Dr Brett Davies, CTA, AIAMA, BJuris, LLB, Dip Ed, BArts(Hons), LLM, MBA, SJD
Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors
National Australian law firm
Mobile: 0477 796 959
National: 1800 141 612
Email: [email protected]
‘Legal Consolidated’ is an Australian law firm Legal Consolidated Barristers and Solicitors (ABN 94936003432).
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