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Welcome to our frequently asked questions page

We’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions we receive.
We hope you find the information you’re looking for here.
If you have any other questions, get in touch with us. 


When are you open?

Monday to Friday (except Public Holidays) by appointment.


What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the term for transferring ownership of property from a seller to a buyer. Solicitors and real estate agents can assist you with your conveyance. You have the choice of doing the conveyance yourself, but you do so at your own risk.

What is the difference between a lawyer and a conveyancer?

As opposed to a conveyancer, a solicitor is a fully fledged legal professional. They do the same tasks as a conveyancer (in fact, in this role, they are conveyancers), but they have a greater knowledge of the law. They are more equipped to deal with complicated or out-of-the-ordinary issues or complex sales.

Is it better to use a conveyancer or solicitor?

While a conveyancer’s expertise is in conveyancing, a solicitor has broader knowledge of the law, and could advise on issues that fall outside of a regular conveyancing transaction, such as tax implications. A solicitor is better equipped to handle more complex sales that contain more risk.


What are key dates to be aware of during the conveyancing process?

Contract Date
The contract date is the date that the property actually changes hands from the seller’s to the buyers. Most of the other dates revolve around this one.

Insurance Date
At 5:00 PM on the first business day following the contract date, the property is your responsibility.

Cooling Off Period
In case you change your mind, the contract may be terminated during the time known as the “cooling off period”. If you do decide to cancel the contract, the seller legally reserves the right to retain 0.25% of the deposit you have made on the home. The exact dates of the cooling off period vary from contract to contract, so be sure to know what yours is prior to making any arrangements.

Finance Date
Application for finance is due and notice of its approval should be delivered to your conveyancer no later than noon on the finance date (though preferably the day before), in order to allow the conveyancer to make all necessary arrangements with the buyer.

Pool Safety Inspection Date
If the house you are buying has a pool, this is the date by which a certificate from a licensed pool safety inspector must be obtained.

Building And Pest Inspection Date
A building and pest inspection report must be obtained and, if they are satisfactory, submitted to the seller. The contract may be terminated if the report is unsatisfactory and it has been submitted by noon on the building and pest inspection date.

Settlement Date
Your journey through buying a house in Cairns is complete and you are ready to move in. At this point, any loans or additional funds required should be made available. Your real estate conveyancer will arrange your settlement, present the purchase price, and request the initial deposit be made available. Most settlements are currently completed electronically.

If you do need any help or advice with buying a property please call our conveyancing team can help with all your property needs.


What is a will?

A will is a document that contains your direct wishes for your property and assets, as well as the care of your dependents.

Failure to prepare a will typically leaves decisions about your estate in the hands of judges or state officials and may also cause family strife.

You can prepare a valid will yourself, but you should have the document witnessed to decrease the likelihood of successful challenges later.
To be completely sure everything is in order, consider having your will prepared by a trusts and estates attorney

Though no single document will likely resolve every issue that arises after your death, a will—officially known as a last will and testament—can come pretty close.


How do you know a Will is valid?

A will takes effect from the date of the testator’s death, not from the date of signing. However, the date the will is signed is important to ensure that it is the deceased’s last will. The signature of the testator should be witnessed by two witnesses. The witnesses must sign after the testator has signed.

How often should I review my Will?

We recommend that you review any documents held in safe custody, in particular your wills and enduring powers of attorney regularly and consult with us if you wish to change them. You should especially do this if any of the following events occur:

1. You change your name or anyone noted in the document changes their name.

2. If an executor or attorney dies or become unwilling or unsuitable to act due to ill health, age or for any other reason.

3. If a beneficiary named in your will dies.

4. If any specific property has been left to a particular beneficiary in your will and you subsequently sell that property or it changes in nature.

5. If your family situation or that of your family members change, for example, marriage, divorce, matrimonial problems, children or further children or de facto relationships

6. If you become involved in a new business, company or trust or if you take up permanent residence in another state or overseas.

Whilst it is not necessary to change your Will if you change your address, if any of the above events occurred, then we would recommend changing your documents and ensuring they reflect your current address.

If it has been some time since you reviewed your will or enduring power of attorney, then perhaps it is time to make an appointment to meet with one of our solicitors to update your enduring documents where necessary.


Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances?

A beneficiary is any person or entity (for example, an organisation like a charity) that receives a gift or benefit from a person’s estate as outlined in their Will.

What happens if someone dies without a Will?

If a person dies without a valid will, there is no executor and therefore they have died intestate. Therefore, the next of kin, such as a spouse, takes on the role of administering the deceased’s estate. They can’t do this until they receive a grant of letters of administration on intestacy.

What are beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries can be people, charities or even a trust. Naming a beneficiary is an essential part of estate planning; if you don’t name one, your loved ones could go through a time-consuming court process called probate to determine where your assets go.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate someone to act as your decision-maker and manage certain decisions on your behalf.

What are the benefits of a power of attorney?

You can give your attorney responsibility for your:

financial matters, like collecting your income, paying your bills and taxes or selling your home. You can also add to your attorney’s power, or limit it, and set out detailed instructions to follow.


Do my attorneys have to sign?

An attorney must first sign the enduring document to accept their appointment before they can start to make decisions as an attorney. An attorney for personal matters (including health matters) can only make decisions as an attorney when the principal no longer has capacity to make those decisions.

Can I cancel a power of attorney?

If you decide that you want to change your choice of attorney — or decide not to have an attorney after all — you can cancel your Enduring Power of Attorney document. You must complete a ‘revocation’ (cancellation) form and give copies to those involved, especially your previous attorney, doctor and bank.


How can a business lawyer help me and my business?

A lawyer can help you execute even the most complex of business sales and purchases. We can conduct all legal aspects of the sale or purchase from pre-contractual advice to settlement.

Our goal is to put your bests interest first and ensure you are supported and informed throughout the entire process.


Can a lawyer help me negotiate and draft a contract?

A lawyer can ensure that you enter into fair and legally binding contracts. A lawyer can review contracts, negotiate terms, and protect your interests throughout the negotiation process. Lawyers can also help you enforce your rights under an agreement or contract if a dispute arises


Is it advisable to have the same lawyer to help me with all the legal aspects of my business?

It is always the best practice to hire one lawyer for all your business.


What remedies are available for breach of contract?

The most common remedy for breach of contract is damages, with the most common form being compensatory. These damages are designed to put the plaintiff in the same position had the breach not occurred. Other forms of damages, including nominal, expectation and liquidated, are also available.


Does an oral agreement constitute a binding contract?

Gentlemen’s agreements, handshake deals and verbal agreements can all be legally binding contracts, provided they comply with the following requirements: Essential terms – all of the essential terms to the contract must be agreed.


Do I need a lawyer to review my Commercial Lease Agreement?

YES, you definitely need an experienced Commercial leasing lawyer to help you with a commercial lease agreement. You should also get a lease lawyer to help with the letter of offer, heads of agreement and review of any lease and lease disclosure statement before you sign. Many smaller business owners think that they can go it alone on leasing. Our strongest advice is that it is very unwise. Commercial leases are prepared by the Leasing Agent or the Landlord’s Lawyer. Fundamentally it is a lease to protect the landlord’s interests firstly and foremostly. Special conditions and certain clauses may be detrimental to your position. If you are a landlord. you will want to protect your position by having your documentation well prepared to be protected from common issues. The lease has a direct impact on the value of your premises.

What’s the difference between a Commercial and Retail Lease?

A retail lease is used where there is a sale of goods or services, often in a shopping centre (cluster of 5 or more stores). A commercial lease is used for warehouse, industrial or office space premises.

What types of enquiries should I be undertaking when purchasing a Business before signing the Contract or during the Due Diligence Period?

When you are buying a business, you will need to conduct due diligence to investigate all aspects of it before you make a binding decision to buy.
Due diligence involves taking reasonable steps to make sure that you are not making risky or poor decisions, paying too much or breaking any regulations or rules. When purchasing a business, you are responsible for assessing the business thoroughly to confirm that it is as ethical, compliant and profitable as claimed.
Actions you will take during due diligence investigations include reviewing:

• contracts – for the sale of the business, existing agreements between the business and staff and suppliers, and partner agreements
• records – income, profit and loss statements, and tax returns
• expenses – bank loans, utility accounts, lease agreements
• business operations – intellectual property, stock, tools and equipment.

A part of due diligence involves identifying any potential risks that the purchase of the business may pose to you and ways to manage them.

Completing due diligence can help you make informed decisions about the business purchase, the right price to pay and how it should be handled.


What is a Grant of Probate?

Probate is the Supreme Court of Queensland’s official recognition of a will as legally valid. A grant of probate is a Supreme Court document that recognises someone’s authority to deal with the estate of a person who has passed away.