I have been preparing SMSF Deeds since 1988. As an Adjunct Professor, I have lectured at universities around Australia for over 19 years in superannuation.
In contrast, non-lawyers also prepare SMSF Deeds. Non-lawyers claim to get a template document from a lawyer. They re-sell that SMSF Deed on their non-law firm website. If there is a lawyer at all, I am not sure the lawyer knows much about superannuation. But I do know there is risk in building legal documents on non-law firm websites. Such ‘re-sellers’ cannot provide law firm Professional Indemnity insurance. You are on your own if you build legal documents from a non-law firm website. Financial advisers and accountants especially carry great risk if they use non-lawyers to prepare legal documents.
Non-law firm websites and SMSF administrators provide SMSF Deeds and updates. Often, with no legal experience, they just use an SMSF Deed that they found somewhere. Perhaps the deed originally came from a lawyer. To save money they don’t worry about having it updated. They just keep selling the old Deed.
However, Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) Deeds required major updates in:
– 2007 – ‘Simpler Super’
– 2017 – 2015 Budget changes
Many brand new SMSF Deeds don’t work
We review new SMSF Deeds prepared by non-law firms. None of them are protected by PI insurance. Many are defective. When we let the accountant and financial planner know they often go back to the non-law firm supplier. The non-lawyer website owners and SMSF Administrators often states:
“We may try and look like a law firm, but we don’t know about faults with our deeds.”
Our disclaimer may be hard to find, but we clearly tell you we are not lawyers.
As we are not lawyers we are not legally responsible for any Deeds.
We are just computer programmers selling legal documents.“
Often you hear:
“Legal Professional indemnity insurance? I don’t know what that is. And anyway we don’t have any insurance.“
Often the non-qualified supplier can’t recall where they got the document template. Even if the financial adviser and accountant can track down the lawyer that supposedly provided the template, they often find:
1. the lawyer stopped providing and updating the template years ago and was shocked that it was still being sold
2. the lawyer had no superannuation experience and couldn’t understand why his SMSF Deed was faulty
3. the lawyer prepared the SMSF as a one-off document for a particular client and was angry that their document was being illegally used over and over again
4. the lawyer had retired
5. and, on one occasion, the lawyer had died years ago
But my non-qualified supplier ‘looks like a law firm’
Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors is the only Australian law providing legal documents online.
In contrast, see the non-qualified suppliers ‘terms’ and read their ‘disclaimers’. They are buried in their website somewhere. They say “we provide information only and nothing on our website provides legal advice”. How strange to provide legal documents and then expressly shun any responsibility for those legal documents.
The non-law firm supplier has no law firm professional indemnity insurance. Plus there is not even any responsibility for the document.
Building SMSF Deeds, Family Trust deeds, company constitutions, POAs and Wills are all legal services. Only a lawyer is legally able to provide these documents. Only a lawyer provides legal advice. When you build these documents on our law firm website, together with the document there is a letter confirming that we are the author of the document. You are protected. Your clients are protected.
Only an accountant can legally provide accounting advice.
Only a financial planner can legally provide financial planning advice
Only a lawyer can provide legal advice and legal documents.
Each of these 3 great professions has their own insurance. If I, as a lawyer, stray out of my legal profession into accounting or financial planner not only am I breaking the law but I have no insurance. Similarly, if you provide legal advice you break the law and your professional insurance is unable to come to your aide.
But the non-qualified website has ‘sign off’ by a law firm?
A lawyer signing off on a template for a non-law firm website is not the same as a sign off on each document. The lawyer’s PI insurance won’t cover each individual document. If you are brave enough to use a the non-law firm, ask them in writing:
1. are you a law firm?
2. is the legal document template signed off by an Australian lawyer?
3. are the templates monitored by an Australian law firm?
4. are the legal documents covered by legal professional privilege and professional indemnity insurance?
The non-law firm website will not be able to answer yes to all 4 questions.
Legal Consolidated Barristers & Solicitors protects you
We are Australia’s only law firm providing legal documents online. Benefit from:
Law firm Professional Indemnity insurance
legal professional privilege
free legal advice as you build documents
document sample with explanatory notes
law firm letter confirming we authored the document.
We offer a suite of legal documents including Self-Managed Superannuation Funds, Family Trusts, and Wills.
Our direct link with ASIC enables you to build and incorporate your company within minutes.
You get a 100% money back guarantee on all documents you build on our website.
Please speak to me or any of my lawyers for help in building documents on our law firm website.
Adjunct Professor, Dr Brett Davies, CTA, AIAMA, BJuris, LLB, LLM, MBA, SJD
Legal Consolidated Barristers and Solicitors
Australia wide law firm
39 Stirling Highway, Nedlands, WA