NSW Teacher & Asset Protection

Hi all,

Just a quick one here - not sure if it's been covered, but I've done some searching without too much luck.

Does anyone know the position with teachers needing asset protection? My wife is a public school primary teacher in NSW. I've asked her the question on whether she can be sued or whether the school would be sued for something going wrong - such as a child breaking its arm on camp etc... but she's not too sure.

I need asset protection and one option was to go with the discretionary trust with my wife as the trustee, but if she can be sued that one is out the window and I'll have to look at a DT with corporate trustee and see how we can remove both of us from assets.

Any thoughts on this one would be appreciated - I will be seeking further advice, just thought I may get a straight yes/no answer from someone who has been here before me.

Thanks,

BrownDog
 
No major need for anything fancy IMO - she's a public sector employee (Government takes the risks/insures etc).

Otherwise she would need to take out public liability and professional indemnity insurance (which I am sure she does not).

Cheers,

The Y-man
 
Speaking as someone who has worked in risk management in the public sector, I would not be so sure about this. Talk to the Risk Manager at the Dept of School Ed and check. I would not be at all surprised if you learn that the insurance covers the NSW Govt if they are sued for your wife's actions, but not your wife herself if she is sued personally.

There is a Canberra site called The Riot Act where this question has been discussed in the last week or so (in the context of ACT teachers). You might find that discussion of interest.
 
The Dept says you cannot be sued individually.



If you are not guilty Federation will pay court costs etc (assuming you are in the union). Frankly with Australia becoming so litigious I'm surprised there are teachers that aren't in the union.
A friend of mine was sued and it cost her $20,000. She's an early childhood teacher so not covered by the teachers federation. Co-worker thought she was too forceful when feeding a disabled child.

There are Union members though who refuse to do crossing duties etc as they are not in the job description. Teachers do it but it has not been tested as to whether the Dept would support you if anything went wrong. Federation will NOT support you because you are going against their directive to not do it.
 
There are more things to consider than just your wife's current job position.

If for instance you forgot to renew the car insurance and had a major accident then you are in the same situation. If your PM gives you an inspection report and the report says the balcony railings need attention and you fail to do anything and a tenant is injured, then you may find yourself in the same situation. If you have a few too many drinks and (stupidly) think you are OK to drive and the worst happens, then no insurance and you will find yourself in the same situation.

Do a search in here on "asset protection" then see a good accountant & lawyer to set up some structures for you if you choose to go that way.
 
A teacher can only be sued if they act way outside the guidelines or do something illegal. A principal who allows this to happen can also be liable for damages.
Marg
 
There is something called vicarious liability. Usually the employer is sued rather than the employee if they are acting within their bounds of employment. There are instances where an employee can be sued individually- maybe if they did something illegal for instance.

But, I agree with propertyunity, there are other considerations besides just employment.
 
I need asset protection and one option was to go with the discretionary trust with my wife as the trustee, but if she can be sued that one is out the window and I'll have to look at a DT with corporate trustee and see how we can remove both of us from assets.

well they can sue her but if you are the appointor you can change the trustee. not that it would really matter as the trust assets are separate.

being a director of the corporate trustee would set you in the same position as being personal trustee, however you have the minefiled of ASIC legislation and direcotrship duties to deal with. you can't simply shut the trust down because someone launches a legal action as it would be a breach of legislation. as an individual you can trade insolvent and do whatver the heck you please

and pushing all that aside the question is which entity owes which and for how much? the debts could be called on.

safer to have an offshore structure
 
Thanks to all for the replies - I've been MIA for a couple of days - sorry for the lack of thanks - all done below!

Speaking as someone who has worked in risk management in the public sector, I would not be so sure about this. Talk to the Risk Manager at the Dept of School Ed and check. I would not be at all surprised if you learn that the insurance covers the NSW Govt if they are sued for your wife's actions, but not your wife herself if she is sued personally.

There is a Canberra site called The Riot Act where this question has been discussed in the last week or so (in the context of ACT teachers). You might find that discussion of interest.

Thanks deejay - will be sure to check it out.

The Dept says you cannot be sued individually.

If you are not guilty Federation will pay court costs etc (assuming you are in the union). Frankly with Australia becoming so litigious I'm surprised there are teachers that aren't in the union.

Thanks travelbug - I best make sure she is paying her union fees.

There are more things to consider than just your wife's current job position.

Do a search in here on "asset protection" then see a good accountant & lawyer to set up some structures for you if you choose to go that way.

Thanks Propertunity - will look into this further.

A teacher can only be sued if they act way outside the guidelines or do something illegal. A principal who allows this to happen can also be liable for damages.
Marg

Thanks marg - appreciated.

There is something called vicarious liability. Usually the employer is sued rather than the employee if they are acting within their bounds of employment. There are instances where an employee can be sued individually- maybe if they did something illegal for instance.

But, I agree with propertyunity, there are other considerations besides just employment.

Thanks Terryw - sounds about right, I don't see why teachers would be excluded from this

safer to have an offshore structure

Thanks Ausprop - looks like there's another avenue I've not looked at - looks like a fairly complex one also!

Thanks again to all, definately food for thought!
 
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