Volume 70 - September 2012
Legal cartoon, john fytit, Paul Brennan

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Parents Mismanaging Your Inheritance Special Edition

Many parents nowadays adopt a “you are lucky to get anything” attitude and make a sustained effort to spend it before they go (so much, for deferred gratification). This can be very traumatic for any child, especially those in their 50s.

In this issue we give adult children the strategies they need to cope.


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101 reasons to kill all the lawyers

Paul Brennan


Author of The Law is an Ass...Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!


Will Anybody Rid Me of this Turbulent Mother-in-law?

legal cartoon, paul brennan, willsDear John

My mother-in-law (MIL) is an interfering old harridan, you know the type.

She has just written a book entitled My Son Married a Prize Bitch.  Her publisher says that it will be a best seller. 

Can I sue?


Dear VL

Many MILs have a tense relationship with their daughters-in-law (DILs) despite having once been DILs themselves.  However, with the arrival of grandchildren, MILs usually manage to contain their animosity to gain generous access, and in return provide financial support together with baby-sitting services.  To sue, would risk losing these benefits.

It is better to maintain a close relationship with your in-laws while at the same time implementing a Wealth Early Transfer (WET) strategy, such as:

Debt Assistance

In-laws may be prepared to guarantee your outstanding debts especially from a failed business venture.  This will enable you to increase your spending but it is usually accompanied by unwanted advice.

Joint Business Venture

It is easier to involve your in-laws in the business venture itself from the beginning.  Think big and you may be able to persuade them to sell their home and move in with you, ideally in accommodation accompanying the venture.  If the business flourishes, then you will find yourself able to put up with your MIL, but if it falters, then you can throw a tantrum and lock them out.  Place the business on the market and if you have chosen wisely, the sale could take years.      

Considering the school fees, foreign travel and all the other expenses of having children these days, it is inadvisable to fall out with, let alone sue your in-laws. 

Looking on the bright side, the royalties of her new book could be yours one day. 

(c) Paul Brennan 2010 All rights reserved. Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go to https://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/legaladvicepage.html

If you have a legal problem speak to your lawyer.

John Fytit is the name of the central cartoon charter in Law & Disorder cartoons which started in Hong Kong in 1992. He is from the fictitious Hong Kong firm Fytit & Loos (pronounced “Fight it and Lose”). A very unsuccessful name as people read “Fytit” as “Fit it”. The International Problem Page started in 2005 and was merged into Paul Brennan’s blog. But not before John Fytit started to receive real legal questions from various parts of the world.

Your Inheritance - Is it in safe hands?

Description: legal cartoon, law firm, paul brennan

Dear John

From a legal point of view, does it matter which of your parents dies first?

JB, Boston

Dear JB

I am being asked this by more and more adult children now that euthanasia is lawful in certain parts of the world.

I think we should take a tip from nature, where the male generally goes first. This is because the death of a spouse can feel like a release for many husbands to allow them to pursue a drunken and extravagantly reckless old age, funded by your inheritance and often, I am afraid, involving some floozy.

A mother on the other hand, tends to lead a quiet life contemplating the happy years spent with her departed husband. Unless of course, he hasn’t left her enough money. Then there is a good chance that she will go all out to find a rich substitute.  A mother can irrationally believe that if she does not perform, you may put her in a home or some budget accommodation. Perhaps I am exaggerating here, as you may not listen to your wife at all about the budget accommodation, but you get the point.

If your mother chooses wisely and manages to outlive the second husband, there is a good chance that she will inherit and leave it all to you. It may be better at that stage to cash in while you are ahead and have your mother put your inheritance in a trust with you as the appointor, trustee and beneficiary to ward off any gold digging third husbands.

Therefore, legally, it is best to keep your mother going with regular exercise and keep her away from the chocolates and gin.



(c) Paul Brennan 2011. All rights reserved.  Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go to https://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/legaladvicepage.html


Parents Not Coping with Finances

legal cartoon, gay marriage, paul brennanDear John

My parents are getting on and I am concerned that they are no longer able to exercise their usual prudent financial rigour to the assets that they have amassed. This is of particular concern to me as I have inherited only “right brain”  artistic type genes, and money has not really interested me up until now. But I would be extremely distressed if it stopped short.

Should I take on some of the burden of managing my parents' finances?

Worried Daughter


Dear WD

Most children believe that their parents are well meaning but a little daft, or is that just my children? Parents are not to be trusted with decisions concerning  your inheritance as the consequences of a wrong move can have serious implications for you. They could go completely gaga and spend it! Therefore, you must get involved. Once you start applying estate planning principles to your parents' money rather than your own, it becomes a fascinating subject.


(c) Paul Brennan 2011. All rights reserved.  Extract from John Fytit’s International Legal Problem Page. For more go to https://www.lawanddisorder.com.au/legaladvicepage.html


Parents causing you grief? Speak to a lawyer

Legal Message to Fathers

legal cartoon, fathers' day paul brennan

After years of striving to bring home more and more bacon, fathers realize that however much bacon is brought home, there never seems to be quite enough.  For instance, daughters' wedding costs are adjusted to suit the money available as are demands for shoes, tops, foreign holidays, new cars etc.  Many fathers react to this by adopting a simple 'Buddhist-like' life style knowing that any extravagance on their part may trigger another round of spending by the rest of the family. 

Nevertheless, it does not need to be this way.  Fathers who turn to their lawyers for a solution have been advised to channel the monthly family income to the lawyer’s trust account and allow their lawyer to deal with requests for finance by family members.  Such is the saving, that there is soon enough money to accommodate any sensible request by the children.  Lawyers ensure that rather than the usual handouts, money is given to children by way of documented loans.  In some cases it has been possible to reclassify previous handouts as loans, thus increasing the family's capital base.

The debts are immediately factored out creating a fund which can be the subject of further loans or just saved.  Factors, rather than parents, will pursue children for repayment thus reducing family contention.  Indeed, if children fall behind in repayments, parents have the funds immediately available to bail them out by way of further loans.  Children soon learn the value of money and some even stop approaching their parents for money at all.

Fathers can soon easily afford the gardeners and tradesmen to undertake the jobs that they tend to avoid doing each weekend and the Harley-Davidsons, Hawaiian shirts and gold chains which make their life a little brighter.

With the help of their lawyer, fathers can forsake their unfulfilling and impoverished existence to become once again the fun loving, generous people they once were before they had children.  

(c) Paul Brennan 2010. First published on the http://www.101reasonstokillallthelawyers.com/ blog.

Click here for Paul's eBook "A Legal Guide to Dying...Baby Boomer Edition". 

Click here for other books, eBooks and CDs by Paul Brennan.

Suggestion for free last minute Fathers' Day gift:





Easy IP, DVD by Paul BrennanIP has been described by the Financial Times as one of the key drivers of business competitiveness in the 21st century.

This DVD presents in an easy way, what you need to know about copyright.

Click here for more information and to order.

Click here for a short Youtube video

Easy IP - seminar - what you will learn 



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Paul Brennan was interviewed about wills by broadcaster, journalist, author (The Incumbent) and humorist Phil Dobbie for a program which goes out on the CBS network.


Room to let in offices of Brennans solicitors. Call Eleanor Ross on 5475 0285 or email : eleanor.ross@raywhite.com  Ray White Commercial at Maroochydore. Click here for further details.

Disclaimer: The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances, included unashamedly to try and make you laugh.  In law, it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun.  Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer’s advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case.  Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes.


In this issue

Will Anybody Rid Me of this Turbulent Mother-in-law?

Your Inheritance - Is it in safe hands?

Parents Not Coping with Finances

Fathers' Day Legal Message.


Forward to a Colleague


The Law & Disorder eZine attempts to provide legal information in an entertaining and amusing manner to help clients avoid predictable legal issues.


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