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Owen Hodge Lawyers Sydney

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3/171 Clarence St, Sydney CBD NSW 2000

Also Services: Sydney

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Owen Hodge Lawyers vision is to enhance the lives of our clients by providing for their financial and legal requirements in the acquisition of wealth, protection and management of assets and the transfer of wealth throughout generations.


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Special Disability Trusts - extension to CGT relief
The Government will extend the CGT relief for special... read more

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Our Team Profiles

Rolf Howard

Rolf Howard




Rolf is the CEO of Owen Hodge Lawyers and a director of Owen Hodge Financial Planning Pty Ltd. Rolf has been in practice since 1986 and a partner of Owen Hodge Lawyers since 1992. His practice focuses on assisting clients to proactively manage legal responsibilities and opportunities to achieve competitive advantage. Rolf concentrates on business planning and formation, directors’ duties, corporate governance, fund raising and business succession. His major interest is to assist business owners and their financial advisers to plan and implement strategies to build and exit from successful businesses. Rolf also has considerable experience in commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Engagements have included advising a client and conducting due diligence on its initial public offering, conduct of substantial commercial litigation, asset protection and business development. Rolf holds a Graduate Diploma in Management from the Australian Graduate School of Management and a Masters of Financial Planning qualification. He is a member of the Adjunct Teaching Faculty at the AGSM. He is a member of the Small Business Forum of the Australian Bankers Association

Roger Harkin

Roger Harkin




Roger Harkin Roger joined Owen Hodge in 1994 after several years experience working as a commercial lawyer and became a partner in 1997. He leads the Commercial Property and Business Transactions Team providing expert advice in commercial and industrial property, sales and purchase of business and finance law. During his years in practice Roger has had significant experience in commercial and domestic property transactions and advice, retail and commercial leasing, business and share sale contracts, commercial and domestic financing arrangements, business structures, subdivision and strata development, corporations law and mortgage recovery litigation. Roger is an Accredited Specialist in Property Law. He has handled significant business mergers and acquisitions of unlisted companies and large financial transactions for both lenders and borrowers. Roger acts for companies large and small, lending institutions, partnerships, property developers and individuals. He is supported by a team committed to protecting our clients legal and commercial needs. Qualifications Bachelor of Laws Bachelor of Arts Accredited Specialist (Property) Areas of Law Commercial Property & Business Transactions Roger is a highly experienced business contract lawyer Career Highlights Admitted in NSW in 1986 Commenced employment with Owen Hodge Lawyers in 1994 Became an Associate at Owen Hodge Lawyers in 1995 Achieved Specialist Accreditation in 1997 Became a partner at Owen Hodge Lawyers in 1997 Year of Admission 1986 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Owen Hodge Lawyers Sydney provide expert legal services to a diverse range of individual and commercial law clients in areas ranging from wills and estate planning to employment law. Our practice comprises highly experienced lawyers, solicitors and attorneys. We provide expert legal advice to our commercial clients across property law, contract law, litigation, commercial finance and insurance issues. For our individual clients Owen Hodge also offers expertise in family law, buying and selling a home or an investment property, personal injury law and employment law. Contact us today for a confidential discussion about your unique legal requirements.

James Kelly

James Kelly




James Kelly James studied law at the University of Technology, Sydney while employed as a Parliamentary Officer in the New South Wales Parliament. He has worked in regional practice since 1991 and has developed his legal practice mainly in the area of “Elder Law” and estate planning. This is the law as it relates to seniors and includes conveyancing, accommodation in facilities such as retirement villages and aged care. He also advises in estate planning from the legal perspective and other general issues affecting older people. He drafts testamentary trusts in Wills and trusts particularly where there are disabled beneficiaries. James has been employed with Owen Hodge Lawyers since 1995 and became an Associate of the firm in 1996. He was made Partner in July 2000 and is the head of the Seniors, Estates and Residential Conveyancing team. James Kelly is also a Notary Public, which means he has the ability to verify the signing of an international documents, certify that copies of documents are authentic, especially for overseas purposes, and witness documents which are from another country. James is particularly aware and sensitive to the needs of his clients. He is conscious of the need to communicate with his clients in such a way as to help them make prudent decisions after considering the options. He is actively involved with several seniors groups and advisory committees. He also regularly addresses seniors groups on legal issues.


Special Disability Trusts - extension to CGT relief

Special Disability Trusts - extension to CGT relief

Changes to Industrial Law in Australia

Changes to Industrial Law in Australia

Correctly Exercising Options for Renewal of Leases

Correctly Exercising Options for Renewal of Leases




Please note that the following testimonials are collected, supplied and maintained by Owen Hodge Lawyers Sydney.

Marrickville, , NSW
We are very grateful for all the hard work and legal expertise put into our case. It is truly appreciated.
Balmain, , NSW
Not only excellent legal advice but also a great personal help throughout a very difficult situation.
Sans Souci, , NSW
A law firm that has demonstrated a willingness to respond to challenging and unpredictable circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

FQA's - Family Law What is a divorce?

A divorce is a legal order terminating a marriage. It no longer exists. Unlike an annulment, which states that the marriage never existed, a divorce is the termination of a valid marriage. However they do not resolve property or parenting issues.

When can I get a divorce?

Divorce normally is the last step taken between separated parties. The spouses need to be separated for 12 months and must resolved child welfare and financial matters before obtaining a divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

Providing the other party has been served with all the documents, a hearing might take place 6 to 8 weeks after filing. Divorces become absolute one month after the hearing.

Do I need to get divorced and enter into a property settlement at the same time?

You can enter into a property settlement at any time prior to a divorce; however, once your divorce becomes final you only have 12 months to enter into a property and spousal settlement.

What is separation?

Separation means ceasing of physical, social and financial relations with the other spouse, advising other people of the separation. Both parties are separated when they stop living as husband and wife.

How do I get spousal maintenance?

You may be entitled to spousal maintenance if you experience financial difficulty at the end of your relationship.

This is determined firstly, by your need for assistance and secondly, by your ex-partner’s ability to pay. It is usual for this to be determined around the time of the property settlement, although it is possible to apply for urgent assistance sooner. You must make an application for maintenance by no later than 12 months after the divorce.

How will our property be divided?

There is no automatic presumption of an equal division of property. The Family Court will consider the extent of the assets to be distributed, the financial and non-financial contributions of both parties and their future financial needs in order to decide how to divide the property.

What are my rights for custody of my children and/or visitation?

This will depend on what is in the best interests of the children. Generally the Family Court will attempt to do what is best for the children with the aim of not upsetting the arrangements they are already used to. After considering this, the Family Court will award custody to the parent who is best able to provide the primary care the children require to develop properly. The Family Court will also do their best to ensure the children retain contact with both parents subject to any problems that may arise.

Does the Family Court provide counselling and mediation?

The Family Court does provide counselling and mediation services and in fact, encourages this to happen before court proceedings are commenced. You can obtain these details from the Family Court website.

FAQ’s – Probate & Executor Duties FAQ’s – Probate & Executor Duties What is probate?

Probate is the process by which there is confirmation that a will has been validly made and approved by the Supreme Court.

Who needs to apply for probate?

A grant of probate gives the Executor/s the authority to deal with the assets of the estate. In some small estates, it may not be necessary to obtain probate. If the only asset is a bank account, bank rules may allow a small account to be closed without probate.

What is an Executor?

An Executor is a legal term referring to a person named by a maker of a will, or nominated by the testator, to carry out the directions of the will. Typically, the executor is the person responsible for offering the will for probate, although it is not absolutely required that he or she do so.

Do I need to get probate if I own my assets jointly with my spouse?

If a person’s assets are all jointly owned no grant of probate is required.

How long does probate take?

The process of obtaining a grant of probate should be concluded within 8 to 12 weeks of the date of death.

What are the fees involved in obtaining probate?

The Supreme Court charges fees to process the application. The court also regulates what lawyers may charge for the legal work, based on the size of the estate.

Why do I need a Death Certificate?

An original death certificate is required to apply for probate and to allow for the administration of the estate.

Can I access the deceased’s bank account?

Most banks will give an executor immediate access to bank accounts of less than $5000. Bank accounts in joint names should not be affected at all by the death of one joint owner.

I am the Executor of an estate. Do I need a lawyer to act for the estate?

You do not need a lawyer, however, administering of estates can be quite complex and may require a considerable amount of time necessary to undertake all the tasks that are required. There are legal requirements that must be satisfied to comply with the law and if you are an Executor it is probably wise to at least gain some initial legal advise at the earliest opportunity.

FAQ’s – Wills & Estate Planning FAQ’s – Wills & Estate Planning New Wills What is a will?

A will is a document detailing how a person’s property is to be distributed on death. A will also appoints someone who will look after the administration of the terms of the will.

Do I need to make a will?

It is advisable to make a new will especially if you have a family or other dependants. In making a will you can direct how your property is distributed the way you wish; including gifts to family, friends, charities and other persons; avoid additional expense, difficulty, delay and possible anguish in relation to winding up your estate.

Can I make my own Will?

Although a will does not need to be drawn up by a lawyer the law concerning wills and estates has many pitfalls and it is highly desirable to obtain legal advice, particularly with regard to who might be entitled to challenge your will.

How do I make sure my wishes are carried out?

When making your will you should appoint an executor: The person who will handle your affairs after you die. You can name more than one executor and you can choose anyone to be the executor.

What happens if I die without a Will?

If a person dies without having made a will that person is said to have died intestate and that person’s property is distributed according to a legislative formula, regardless of what the property owner’s wishes might be.

In cases of intestacy the next of kin are required to take the appropriate action for the estate to be administered, which in most cases will require an application to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration.

Can I leave my assets to anyone I like?

Yes, considering that you make proper provision for your spouse and children (including ex-nuptial children); otherwise, they could challenge your will.

Can I alter a will?

You should alter your will if your circumstances change in any way. There are three ways of altering it; by making a codicil (a separate document in which you make a minor amendment; by revoking it or cancelling it; and by revocation and re-publication of an earlier will.

Wills should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they reflect the current wishes of the maker. It is recommended that wills be periodically reviewed every 5 years or upon the happening of a significant event in the person’s life for example marriage and death of a beneficiary or executor.

How can a Solicitor help me?

At Owen Hodge Lawyers we can advise you on the adequate provision for your spouse and children; advise you whether or not they may have a possible claim against your estate; help you with capital gains tax and explain the effects of different types of ownership of property; make sure your wishes are correctly documented, make sure your will is properly drawn, signed and witnessed; keep your new will in safe custody; and explain and other questions you may want answered.

What is a Power of Attorney?

It is a legal document that appoints a person, the attorney, to act on behalf of another person, the principal, with regards to managing that person’s property. This is an ordinary power of attorney which ceases to have effect if the principal loses the capability to make financial decisions.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Unless an ordinary power of attorney, the “Enduring Power of Attorney” gives the attorney the power to act on your behalf even if you become mentally or physically incapable of making financial decisions.

What are the benefits of a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is particularly useful if you are going overseas or if you require hospitalisation. It allows someone you trust to act on your behalf in your absence. You can give a person control of all your business affairs by giving the authority to that person to act on your behalf and to do anything that you may lawfully do.

Do my attorneys have to sign?

The enduring power of attorney is only effective once the attorney has accepted the appointment. A statement of acceptance in the appropriate form needs to be signed by the attorney.

Do I need a lawyer to make an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An enduring power of attorney must be witnessed by a prescribed person. A lawyer is a prescribed person.

Can I cancel a Power of Attorney?

You can cancel your power of attorney at any time as long as you are mentally capable. If you wish to stop a power of attorney you should sign a document called a “Revocation of Power of Attorney”.

FQA's - Property Law

Property Law

What reports do I need to obtain before entering into a contract?

It is advisable to obtain reports before exchanging contracts so that you can make some assessment about the condition of the property. There are a number of different reports which you may obtain such as building inspection report, pest report, strata records report (if applicable) and contamination report (if applicable).

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a State tax on a range of paper and electronic transactions, such as:

  • Hire purchase agreements
  • Insurance policies
  • Leases and mortgages
  • Motor vehicle registration and transfer
  • Transfers of property

When do I pay stamp duty and how much?

Stamp duty is calculated based on the purchase price and it is payable within 3 months of exchange of contracts but must be completed before settlement. When a buyer is obtaining finance stamp duty on the mortgage will also be payable. However, if you are purchasing a property “off the plan” you can postpone payment of stamp duty for up to 1 year.

What is “cooling off” period?

It is a clause which gives the buyer a period in which to decide whether to proceed with the contract. The Conveyancing Act in New South Wales provides that buyers of residential property are entitled to a “cooling off” period of 5 business days after contracts have been exchanged and deposits paid.

When do I pay a deposit?

The deposit is usually 5% or 10% of the price. You are required to pay the deposit on exchange of Contracts.

What does exchange of contracts mean?

Refers to the date on which the contract signed by you is exchanged with the counterpart contract signed by the purchaser. On this day an owner becomes bound to sell the property and the purchaser becomes bound to buy it subject to any “cooling-off period”.

What is settlement?

It is the day upon which the sale is made final; when the process of conveyancing is finalised and the buyer is able to take possession of the purchased property. This process usually takes about six weeks after contracts have been exchanged

What is the difference between exchange and settlement?

At exchange the contract usually becomes binding and at settlement you either own the property as Purchaser or complete the sale as Vendor.


Level 2 12- 14 Ormonde Pde, Hurstville NSW 2220


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