While it is the season to be jolly, Christmas and the New Year period is also a time of the year which carries its own unique legal issues and risks. Here are 5 quick legal tips to avoid an unwanted New Year legal surprise!
1. Work Injury
The lead up to Christmas can be a frantic time in many industries and unfortunately there can be a rise in work related injuries. Whatever the deadline, work related injuries change lives for not only the injured person but also their families. Take care during this period and avoid cutting corners. If a work injury occurs, it is important to ensure compliance with the correct claim notification requirements and you should consider obtaining legal advice. Most lawyers in this field provide either a first free interview in person or by telephone and you should take up this opportunity to obtain advice about your situation.
2. Work Parties
I am sure most readers will have their own stories about a work Christmas party incident. While some of the stories may be etched into the folklore of the organisation in a positive way, others may have produced disastrous outcomes for those involved. If you are an employer, there are many risks associated with office Christmas parties including unprofessional behaviour, misconduct, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment as well as work health and safety issues. It is important to consider these issues now to ensure that suitable policies are in place, arrangements for the event are properly planned, and employees are adequately supervised during the event so that everyone returns home safely with their reputation and also that of the business.
Christmas is a magical time of year for children or at least it should be. This is a difficult time for many families where parents have separated, especially for those experiencing their first Christmas apart. It is important to have a plan in place early to ensure that the focus of Christmas remains the enjoyment of the children rather than the issues that may exist between the parents.
4. Estate Plans
This is the time of year where many people travel long distances on roads, engage in higher risk recreational activities, consume alcohol, and party. Unfortunately accidents occur over this period and you should make sure your affairs are in order. You should ensure that you have:
- an advance care directive in case you need medical treatment;
- a power of attorney so that any financial, property, and legal affairs can be taken care of;
- considered death benefit nominations attached to your superannuation and life insurance;
- a professionally drafted will to make sure your loved ones are taken care of;
- all business documentation in place (where applicable).
What do you do when you get a legal surprise during the Christmas/New Year period? Many law firms close until well into January and may be unavailable if problems arise. Like you, this is a time for our team to take a break and to spend some down-time with family and friends. However, for genuine emergencies we have an after hours emergency line (08 8523 8450) which alerts our team to your call and we will make contact with you as soon as possible.
If you want to plan ahead, you can contact us now on 8523 8400 (Gawler) or 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an appointment for an initial no obligation consultation. Alternatively, send an email to email@example.com and we will contact you. Only a few more sleeps to Christmas, so contact us as soon as possible.