Episode 2- Wills, trusts and all that stuff

As a parent, you need to think about financial and estate planning, but when a child has a disability this can be more complex and confusing. Co-hosts Dr Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos talk with legal expert Rohani Bixler about wills, trusts and all that stuff.

Speaker 1:                        Welcome to Loop Me In, the podcast community for parents and carers on raising children with disabilities. Join presenters Dr. Lisa Interligi and Kristine Christopoulos and their guests on sharing experiences, information and support ideas to help children with disabilities flourish. Loop Me In is brought to you weekly on platforms like Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher to name a few. You can learn more connect with the Loop Me In community and listen to more episodes on our website loop-me-in.com.au.

Kristine Christ…:             So Rohani, welcome to our podcast. We’re very excited to have you on. You work with Burke Lawyers and you specialize in planning and assistance with trusts and financial decisions for people with a disability. Is that correct?

Rohani:                             That’s right. Yes, I do.

Kristine Christ…:             So it’s exactly on topic of what we want to speak about today.

Rohani:                             Perfect.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah, we’re a bit selfish. Aren’t we, Kris, because I think that our agenda, so we figure that other people would be interested as well.

Kristine Christ…:             That’s right. Because I don’t know if I’ve mentioned to you, Rohani, we’ve got two boys, 21, with special needs. So we’re sort of at that process now of where we need to move on to that and we’re not getting any younger, so I’m actually in the process of looking at doing a disability trust and will. It’s obviously a little bit different than the normal one that you do.

Rohani:                             Yes.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              So what age, Rohani, should you start worrying about things like wills and trusts?

Rohani:                             Yeah, that’s a really good question. Obviously, as a lawyer who prepares wills, I think everyone should have a will from the time they turn 18, but when you are dealing with a person with a disability, there’s a different conversation to be had. And also some extra things that we’re thinking about in the course of planning for the future. In terms of the age that it’s essential, it will depend on the circumstances, but I think it’s good to look back and go, “Okay, what happens if we don’t have a will? What’s likely to happen?” because that’s what you’re stuck with then moving forward. So even though, sure what you’re doing now in the will may not be applicable for 20, 30-plus years time, if you were to unfortunately pass away tomorrow or next week, what you’ve got is what the people left behind are stuck with into the future.

So it’s important to forward plan as much as you can and think what are the future needs likely to be. And if we don’t have a will, how far apart is that from what we would like to see happen? And I think one of the most important things for everyone in the estate plan is who will be in control. And that’s even more important when you’re dealing with a person with a disability who, particularly if it’s an intellectual disability and they may not ever really be able to manage finances or large amounts of money for themselves, and they may be vulnerable of being taken advantage of by other people, is making sure you’ve nominated the right person or the right people or the right organization to be in control of your estate and in control of that person’s funds moving forward.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Yeah, that’s a good conversation to have, but it’s also to… When you say [inaudible 00:03:55] does that mean we should be worried about having wills for our kids as well, our kids with disabilities?

Rohani:                             Yeah. It depends on the level of the disability as to, and the type of disability, as to whether they can make a will. So a will is not something that you can do on their behalf as a power of attorney or as a VCAT-appointed administrator. However, if your person that you’re talking about, if you’ve got children who do have that level of decision making capacity where they could make a will, it is a good idea to put something in place. If you’ve got an 18-year-old who has two surviving parents, no partner, no kids and not many assets, it’s probably not actually essential, but it is a good thing to start thinking about for the future.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              So what happens though, if you said that they can’t, if they have got an intellectual disability and they can’t make a will, what happens then?

Rohani:                             Yeah. Great. So if you don’t have a will, and this is for everyone, if you don’t have a will, there’s a law that’s the law of intestacy, which is what it’s called if you don’t have a will, that operates in terms of who takes control of your estate and where assets go. So in Victoria, if you’ve got a partner, that’s the person who takes the benefit and the control. If you’ve got children, they, the people who jointly take the benefit and control. And that can be a potential issue if you’ve got a child with a disability, is it’s just a few extra hoops to jump through in the process of the administration of the estate to say that they don’t have capacity to take on that role of being your administrator, and who should act on their behalf if they’re the only child, for example.

And then if you don’t have an appropriate sort of next of kin, that is when State Trustees be the administrator of last resort. And potentially if there’s no appropriate beneficiaries, the estate passes to the government.

Kristine Christ…:             And it can get quite tricky, can’t it, because we’ve looked at it. We did one many years ago and it was interesting that yes, I’ve got three children. So three kids will get their share, but Matthew’s obviously won’t directly go to him. The girls were going to be in control of his because Matthew can’t make… He’s got an intellectual disability. And then in turn, when Matthew passes, obviously he won’t have a will because he’s not capable of making one, we were concerned as to what happens when John and I pass. And it was interesting, we had to put the assets of Matthew’s in a trust because the girls might get married and their partners might take advantage of what Matthew has. So it’s quite in depth, isn’t it?

Rohani:                             Absolutely. And we do… Trusts are the most common vehicle when you’re dealing with someone with an intellectual disability, because there’s a number of reasons for that. So the main reason would be if you’re concerned that they may be taken advantage of, if they don’t truly understand the value of money and they’re trusting, they might have someone say, “Oh, look, you’re out of milk. I’ll just grab you a carton and it’ll cost $1,000 and I’ll go down and get some milk.” And they may not think twice about that. You might have people claiming to be a partner, a domestic partner if they see money there that they feel like is potentially up for grabs. So what a trust does is it separates the ownership from the benefit. So the person you want to be the beneficiary of the funds is named as the principal beneficiary of the trust, but they’re not the owner of the money.

So that means that if someone’s trying to get money out of them or to get them to sign something over, it’s not theirs to sign over. It’s not theirs to give. It’s not theirs to take away from them. So it offers them some protection and that can be any kind of trust. So one thing I love about wills and estate planning and trusts is that you can make them completely bespoke. I’ve had a lot of fun with trusts. I’ve had one woman who had her daughter with a quite severe disability, but the joy of her life was smoking. And we had to write into the trustee that the trustee had to make sure she always had efficient cigarettes. And it’s not something that an objective person might think is in her best interest, but it’s the most important thing for her, so that where you can do anything you like in a trust and that’s what makes them so fun to be a part of and to construct.

Often we have people who have their children living with them late into life and they may have other children. And they’re not sure about how to divvy up that estate because they don’t really know how much that child who’s living with them’s going to need. And they may say, “Look, if I die, I want my executors, who are the people I’ve nominated to be in control of the process, to see whether it’s possible for my child to stay living in the house with supports, whether the NDIS will work in with that, whether that’s a possibility.” If it looks like it’s not practical, who makes that call, like who needs to be involved in that decision, but also then what happens? And it may be, the executives need to look for a two-bedroom apartment in a particular suburb with good internet and room for a dog, or whatever you specify. And then once that’s been achieved, then the rest can be split with the others or something like that.

But it’s important to really think through and times change and circumstances change. And it may be that these are fluid. So as much as possible, we like the wills to be a set and forget thing. But if you are making a will when your child’s two, chances are when they’re 20 things are going to be different and you might not have appreciated what the needs would be when they were two or how things would’ve evolved. So it’s good to just keep turning your mind to it. We suggest every three to five years just have a look at it, make sure you’ve got all the right people and all the right provisions. And it may be that you can leave it for another few years, or it may be that some things need to be changed then.

Sorry, but the other things about trust are that like we were talking about the person with an intellectual disability may not be able to make their own will, but what the trust does by severing their ownership from that person is it then dictates what happens to the money when they subsequently pass so they don’t need a will to cover those assets. It also dictates who’s in control of them, which can be really important. Sometimes we have people whose children have been taken on as underState Trustees as the administrators, and they they may not be thrilled with that. Not to say they’re always not, but sometimes they might prefer someone else to control the inheritance.

And so the trust can dictate like you’d said, you’ve got your daughters in control of that. And some people may like to involve the siblings in that role or someone else, a family… another family member or friend, or trusted professional. Can have anyone you like. but you get to choose. Whereas once you’ve passed away, you don’t get to choose who the VCAT administrator is. So if your child needs to go through VCAT and the administration process, you don’t get a say in that, which is really frustrating.

I know there’s some groups pushing for that to change, where you’ve had parent carers, that they should get to nominate the guardian and administrator after their passing. But at the moment, what you can do is nominate the trustee. And then we’d also just briefly talked about test, sorry, special disability trusts, which is a specific style of trust that some people have a look at, they’re very useful if you are worried about the amount of money that the person’s inheriting and the effect that that will have on a Centrelink pension.

So if they’ve got a disability support pension, and it’s not because of blindness or something that’s not asset-assessed, but it’s a means tested disability pension, the inheritance could inadvertently result in them losing access to that pension. So a special disability trust allows if there’s an indexation, but at the moment, it’s just over $700,000 to be set aside from that means testing. And the income that’s generated on that investment is also exempted from the income test moving forward. So you can get a certain amount of money across to a beneficiary with a disability without impacting their pension. So that can be really useful for some people also.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Mm, absolutely. Gosh, how did you get there into this area? What made you interested in it? Because it sounds like you’re really passionate about it.

Rohani:                             I do. I love it. There’s been a few things actually. I mean, I’ve always worked with wills and estates and my mentor in that was Alan Swan who’s quite well known in this area, but he’s passionate about disability, disability trust. And I think I sponged in some of that passion, but then as it turned out at the time I had very young children when I was working with Alan, but then post that, I found that I’ve got four children and two of them actually also have mild to moderate disabilities. And so I became involved on a personal level in carer groups and talking to families. And the more time I spend with families of people with disabilities, the more I just really love feeling like we can come up with some solutions.

I know for a lot of people it’s such a stress. You know, life is stressful and finding the day-to-day solutions of those problems that arise in the proper service providers and how that fits in with funding and all this is stressful. But then thinking, what if I’m not here, who does all this, how will this work is overwhelming. And for a lot of people, it’s quite paralyzing. And moving forward with solutions on that is so gratifying. You know, you can do a will for another person who doesn’t have those issues and it’s quite contractual. “Here you go, here’s your will, there’s the money.” Done. But this, I feel like it’s actually really helpful. And I love to hear those specific things where possible, and to really find that we are creating peace of mind.

Kristine Christ…:             I think that’s what it is, isn’t it, peace of mind? Because I can imagine that my daughters probably see the work my husband and I do and think how on earth are we going to sustain that. And we’ve explained to them that it’s something that we’re looking at doing now. And I think it is, it’s the peace of mind of knowing that it’s all set up.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              And it sounds very personal as well, which is lovely. You know, I kind of didn’t even think about that, that you can actually reflect the child’s personality or your child’s personality in how you set them up.

Rohani:                             I love it when it is personal and it doesn’t have to be contained within the will or the trust. You can have a separate sort of list of wishes. We work with a few organizations who do that intermediate future planning in terms of all those other things, who to contact, who are the service providers, what would I want for housing, things that aren’t necessarily after I die, but even if they are, they’re not necessarily financial or will-based, but all those practical things. And they put together a folder of resources for the people left behind to know who to contact and what the schedule is.

Sometimes there’s a very specific schedule of each day these are the activities, and this is who comes, and this is what happens. And it can be really distressing for the person with a disability if that schedule is interrupted too much. So it’s good to pass that on thoroughly in detail. But working with those groups, it does really help. And I love it when we can make it as personal as possible.

Kristine Christ…:             How do you find someone to be a beneficiary if there aren’t any siblings or you kind of don’t feel like the people around you could help in that way? Where do you go?

Rohani:                             Do you mean the trustee?

Kristine Christ…:             Trustee? Sorry. Yeah.

Rohani:                             No, that’s okay. Just wanted to make sure I answer you correctly. Yeah, look I know there’s been a lot of my clients, so that is something that we do. There are trustee companies. I’ve had quite a few clients who have really, really struggled with that and they’ve tried to find people in their community who would be willing to be involved. And sometimes there are people who help with the supports who say, “Yeah, yeah of course I’d love to be involved,” but they don’t necessarily want to take on the whole burden of the responsibility and the administration. So we can include them as consultants, people to talk to. But in terms of taking on that role, it’s really personal. And I would encourage people if they’re looking at an independent professional to meet some different people, talk to people from different organizations.

Obviously I think most people know that State Trustees is a available and they take on this role, but there are also private other private trustee companies. So State Trustees is essentially a private company now, but it used to be, and still is, the trustee of last resort. So if there’s no one else, if you haven’t nominated someone, if there’s no one appropriate, State Trustees is who it falls to. But there’s Australian Unity Trustees, Equity Trustees, like there are private trustee companies who also do a great job.

And I think it’s really worthwhile meeting with people, looking at their fees, looking at what their caseload would be of each person, how many matters they’re managing at once and what their practices are in terms of how often they meet with the person or talk to the carer. There’s been some really sad stories. And I think not to scare or frighten people, but there’s one matter, oh, probably 20 years ago, so I’m sure that practices have improved since then, but of a man who had his funds by a trustee company and after he passed away, there were multiple letters that were found, sent to an old address that had said, “Look at how well your money’s doing. We’re managing it so well for you.”

But prior to his death, he’d been homeless for six months. He’d been evicted for behavioral issues and hadn’t actually… He’d been living on the streets and hadn’t actually seen the benefit of how well those financial investments were doing. And so I think it’s really important to make sure that the people who were managing it are actually going to contact and stay in regular contact with the beneficiary, make sure that the funds that they’re administering are being put to good use. No point having the money if the person’s not benefiting from them. So it’s a personal choice. And you’ve got to, I think, just take control of that. And I know that can seem like an overwhelming thing too of, “I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know who to talk to,” but there are options, and it’s just a matter of finding out some of the options and really feeling who you are most comfortable with to take on that role.

And you can have multiple people. So often when I take on the role, I’ll be appointed together with one of the siblings or a family friend, so that you’ve got someone with the personal connection and we have to make decisions together. So then I can be the, oh obviously not me, but the professional can be the person with the experience in administering the funds and ticking off the boxes in terms of all of the reporting requirements for Centrelink, but the family member or the close friend can also feedback on how they think the person’s doing relative to previously, because we don’t necessarily have that threshold point of how they were before and how do they seem now?

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              So the trustee, can that be, does that go to an individual or does it go to the organization? And then, so if it’s an organization, how do you know who’s going to be… Like, you can’t imagine that somebody’s going to be a trustee for the whole person’s life, because they might change jobs, something might happen to them, whatever. So is it the organization that gets appointed and then there’s a representative that actually does the trustee work, or how does that work?

Rohani:                             Yeah. So usually if you’re going with a company, a trustee company, it will be the organization and they’ll nominate a person. And when that person moves on, they’ll have to resign and appoint another person. So you do have to have faith in the organization, I suppose and not just the person. You can nominate a person. So it’s possible to nominate the person that you want personally. But if you’ve got an individual, there needs to be at least two. Whereas if you’ve got an organization, it’s just the organization that’s nominated.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              And this is a kind of a doomsday question, but what happens if that company goes out of business?

Rohani:                             Generally they’ll be taken over. So most trustee companies or law firms, places that take on these kinds of roles will be of a nature where they can’t just completely stop. Someone has to take over the work that they’re doing. They might hold original documents or trustee positions that you can’t just not have someone doing that. So generally speaking, they will, when they end, they’ll either be bought by another company or they’ll merge with another company or their appointments will just be given to another company depending on… Yeah, so it will always pass somewhere. There’ll be a successor.

Kristine Christ…:             So what key areas, we’re starting out looking at doing our will, what are the key areas we have to look for when we’re setting up for a child with a disability?

Rohani:                             Yeah. Well, for all wills, the key thing to look at is what do you want to achieve when, like, if we cover one person dies, once you’ve both passed away, how are assets held now? So it’s really important to note that wills only cover what’s in your name. So for people who have private companies and trusts, superannuation, that those funds don’t necessarily come into your will. So you need to make sure everything’s covered. But then assuming you’ve got all of that sorted when you’re dealing specifically for a person with a disability is let’s have a look at what’s the disability, what’s their situation right now. So how old are they? Do we have an expected lifespan? Some types of disabilities will give you an anticipated lifespan. Others will be just how long’s a piece of string could be the same as any anyone else.

And what do we anticipate the future needs to be? What’s our plan for are they going to live with me forever? Am I going to try and find SDA housing or some other kind of housing solution so that I can transition them in? And even though that’s really hard for so many people, as a [inaudible 00:26:40], I think that’s a good idea. It’s just in my personal opinion. But if you think about it, if you’ve got, let’s say your child’s 30, and they’ve always lived with you. If you’ve got the opportunity to transition them into a housing option, you are there to see whether that housing option works. You are there to help them choose it. You’re there to advocate for them. You are there to take them back out if you’re not happy with it.

And if it does work, you are there to settle them in and then feel like, okay, this is working. This is great. Now I know what the needs are moving forward. That’s now a stable environment that I can work with. I’ve had quite a few clients who have passed away with say their 50, 60-year-old children still living at home. And it is really difficult because that person then has never known anything other than living with mom and dad. And they’ve just lost their parents. And now potentially their home, sorry. And now their home situation’s changing.

They have to find an alternative place to live maybe, or other supports in the house. There’s lots of changes going on. Lots of things they’re trying to muddle through. And it’s much harder because you don’t have necessarily the trusted people there to be making those decisions on their behalf for what’s going to work best for them. Not to say that it’s the end of the world. There’s lots of people and they sort themselves, they get sorted out and they’ll usually end up fine. And there’s lots of resiliency that’s been built up by having those supports in place for such a long time. So there can be pros as well. But I think when you’re looking at the will, it’s really important to just navigate what is our plan. And now what happens if we die before that initial phase of the plans put in place, what sorts of things would we be looking for?

I mean, obviously housing is a really important thing, but you know, if we were looking at housing, what do we think they could cope with? What would we like? What’s the ideal scenario? What would the cost of that be? What are the impacts of doing that on the other children? So let’s say you’ve got three children, and this is my ideal housing scenario for Matthew, how does that look in terms of fairness for the others? What’s the likely response from them to that scenario? And you do find families are very different. You’ll have some families where the siblings are so supportive of a sibling with a disability, or, “I don’t care if I don’t get anything. I just want to make sure they’re looked after.” And there’s other siblings who go, “You know what? I have missed out my whole life, because it’s all been about them and I’m not missing out now. My turn. I should get my share.”

So it’s really important to understand and have a realistic appreciation of how your family dynamics are going to work and try to be realistic about what the needs are of the person with the disability and what plans you’d like to put in place. But then I think the most important thing really is deciding who makes the decisions, because I have had situations where I’ve been the executor of an estate and a plan was put in place that wasn’t realistic and everyone sort of knew it wasn’t realistic, but the will maker was fixated that this is what needs to happen. And then when it doesn’t work and everyone’s saying, “Yes, we knew that wasn’t going to work,” okay, what will work? Let’s have a look at some other options and let’s see what’s going to be next best thing.

That is a big responsibility, but I think you’ve got to also have the right person in that because I can think of at least one situation where I’ve had people in my ear going, “No, this is the best thing. No, this is the best thing. No, this is the best thing.” And I’m happy with where we landed, but if any of those people have been the decision makers, we would’ve ended up with a different result. And obviously I’m biased because I ended up making the decision. But in my view, it wouldn’t have been as good of a result. So take that with a grain of salt, but it’s important to sort of choose those decision makers to say, “Okay, this is my ideal, but if it didn’t work, these are the people I would trust to really make a good choice.”

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              And if you are looking at a trustee, a professional trustee, how many clients do you think you can manage at once? Like how would you know that they’ve got a bigger caseload than they than taking on the your-

Rohani:                             Well, look, you know how much your child needs. Now, obviously the trustee’s not doing all the support work and things, but the trustee needs are met, your child’s needs are met, and that if there’s anything that falls apart, I mean, it’s not technically the trustee’s role, but because they’re financial, but I think part of that fiduciary financial obligation in terms of how am I investing money and how am I spending money is to make sure that the needs of that beneficiary are being met. And so I would want a trustee for my child’s trust to have enough time to check in with them and their care providers regularly enough to make sure that everything seemed okay.

And so if I thought, okay, this person’s got a caseload of 150 people, are they really going to be able to do that differently for each one? Or are they just going to have a formula that they put in place for everyone? And different people, trustees, are going to have different capacity levels. Some are going to be so on the ball and brilliant and very efficient and be able to manage a bigger caseload than others. But I think it’s a valuable question to ask and to just genuinely think okay, well, how often would they be checking in? And do I really think that given how many matters they’re managing that they would be thinking individually about what’s best for my person?

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              And how in the fee structured, Rohani, is it an hourly rate or is it, I don’t know…

Rohani:                             Yeah, that’s a perfect question. Great question. Because they’re structured differently depending on who you appoint. So most trustee companies actually have straight on a commission basis. So there’ll be a percentage of the capital funds under administration and funds in trust, I should say. So a percentage of those funds that are in the trust as a sort of flat fee and then a percentage of the income that’s generated every year as a yearly fee. And some will have a minimum annual fee. So if the income is less than that, they will be eating into the trust to be paid their minimum fee.

And some trustee companies and maybe some law firms as well, I’m not really sure, will only take assets that are liquid so that they’re sure that there’s plenty of income and that they can therefore be paid a reasonable amount. I know with the ones that I do, it’s an hourly rate basis, which it’s just my usual professional hourly rate for the work that I actually do. And because of that, and that’s probably most lawyers I would anticipate, most law firms would do that. And if you’ve got even a family friend or someone, you can appoint them as the trustee and agree for them to be paid an agreed hourly rate or a set amount.

I’ve done some where they’ve said, “We’ll pay the trustee $10,000 a year or something,” and it’s just going to be a fixed annual fee for as long as they’re the trustee. That’s just an example of one I’ve done. I’m not suggesting that should be the figure just to be clear that yes, people just decide what they think is reasonable. So you can do it however you like, whatever’s written in to the will or the trustee is what they’re bound by unless the trustee goes to the court and applies for a different remuneration calculation, which they might do if there’s more work than they anticipated, or if the will was made 20 years ago and said, “You can have a hundred dollars an hour.” And they say, “Well, now my going rate’s $600 an hour.” So I felt like that’s… I’d only be willing to do it for more so they can apply to the court to be changed, but otherwise they’re bound by what you’ve written in to be.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              So is that like if for example, your family was unhappy with the way that the trustee was managing things, would they have to apply to a court to have the trustee changed?

Rohani:                             It depends again on what’s written in. So sometimes what you’ll do is you’ll write into the trustee that the family members are what’s called appointors of the trust, where they actually have the right to remove the trustee and appoint someone else. But some people who do that will say the trustee always needs to be a professional, but my family members have the right to remove a professional and appoint a different professional. Now there are some trustee companies who won’t accept the appointment if someone else has that right. But realistically, I would prefer to have that in there. Yeah, you want to make sure that they can’t run away with costs or change their manner of how they approach the trustee role. But if there were concerns, then they definitely can apply depending on, yeah, most likely it would be to the court to have the trustee removed and someone else put in their place.

Kristine Christ…:             Mm.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Oh my goodness.

Rohani:                             I know.

Kristine Christ…:             I’m so overwhelmed.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              It is a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? But really important though.

Kristine Christ…:             Really important. And lot that I’ve got out of this at thinking about how important it is to set this up now rather than waiting and really thinking about who you’d like to appoint. I think that’s the most important thing. Yeah, because it’s what you said before about the boy that… I think it was a boy that was smoking and wanted to-

Rohani:                             Oh, it was a woman actually, but yeah.

Kristine Christ…:             Oh, okay. Well, I mean, Matthew would just want vouchers to the movie theater. So as long as he had that, and I guess you only know that, so it would be really important to have that down now. Do you think it’s important, like we’ve all obviously had lawyers in the past for other things, do you think it’s when you go to a lawyer for a will, you go to someone that specializes in disability?

Rohani:                             Hm. I think if you’ve got a good relationship with a lawyer, if you’ve got a family lawyer who really knows your family and has dealt with you a lot in the past, if they’ve got the capacity, if they feel… If you trust your lawyer to tell you if they’re not confident with doing something, then you know, I’d try the person that you know and have faith in and trust. But generally speaking, I mean, I would say, I think it’s better to go to someone who has experience in disability and is knowledgeable, at least in estate planning. So who’s a will specialist, or has been at least working predominantly with wills for a number of years, because there are things that could be missed. Or if you write them wrong in a will it can end up not working the way that you intended it to. And it’s probably too precious of a thing to get wrong.

But everyone’s got to make their own call. And sometimes I’ve had people who have really wanted to go with their own family lawyer who have ended up being put onto me and saying, “Look, I don’t want you to do this work because I’ve got my lawyer and I really love my lawyer, but my lawyer’s been sitting on this will for a year and I haven’t really got anywhere. Could you give him a call and just sort of talk through how this should work?” And that has actually happened to me a couple of times and I’m generally happy to actually do it. But most of the time, the work ends up with me after a few conversations with the client and the lawyer. But I think it’s really important as a lawyer to know your strengths and your weaknesses, if you will, your areas that you have experience in and are knowledgeable in and those that you don’t. I would not be doing commercial transactions or property transactions. This is my deal.

And I think that gets you a good out. I feel like as well, you are going to walk away with a greater peace of mind. As we talked about, is really the point here in knowing you’ll feel reassured when you talk to someone who really understands this space, you should walk away feeling less overwhelmed than you did when you went in. I know there’s a lot of information and maybe it can sound like a lot to take in, but a lot of people I talk to start the conversation thinking there’s only problems and these are insurmountable problems and hopefully leave the conversation going, “Oh, that was easier than I thought. There are actually solutions. This isn’t that hard. I thought this was really difficult.” And that for me is a success when people say, “Oh, that was so much easier than I thought. Why didn’t I do this years ago?”

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Okay. Well, you’ve given us a bit of motivation then to get started.

Rohani:                             Oh, thank you so much for having me on the podcast today.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Oh, thank you. That was really, really interesting.

Kristine Christ…:             I really appreciate it too. Thank you so much for coming on our show.

Rohani:                             Oh, my great pleasure.

Dr. Lisa Interl…:              Thanks Rohani. Bye-bye.

Rohani:                             Bye.

Speaker 1:                        Thanks for being part of the Loop Me In community today and joining our conversation on raising children with disabilities. Join us for the next episode on some of your favorite platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcast. If you would like to support us, please recommend the Loop Me In podcast to your network of parents, carers, and providers. If you would like us to cover a topic or invite a guest to chat, please email us at contact@loop-me-in.com.au or go to our website at loop-me-in.com.au. If you’ve got any feedback, please let us know so we can improve and cover issues you want.

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