Tim Donlan is the principal of the firm which he started in 2006, after working in other private legal practices and a period in house as the South Australian manager of a national licensed professional trustee company.
Prior to a change of career path, in another world Tim was an aircraft technician in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Whilst he is highly knowledgeable and experienced in trusts and estate law as well as family law matters it is his ability to relate to people and understand their concerns and motivations that makes him the lawyer of choice for his many clients and referral partners. He also regularly receives referrals to assist clients from other lawyers and barristers both in South Australia and other jurisdictions.
Tim now practises primarily in the areas of wills and estate planning, trusts, family business succession, contested estates and family law.
Tim has helped many clients to prepare their wills from simple documents through to complex testamentary trust arrangements. Tim also prepares wills and powers of attorney and advanced care directives for the firm’s private clients and works closely at times with his client’s financial advisors.
His clients include families and family businesses and he assists them with passing on control of business upon death or the exit of the senior or other family members. He often works with the family accountants and other advisers to reach solutions that the family as a whole both understand and are happy with.
As well as estate planning Tim regularly represents both executors and claimants in contested estate matters including contested wills. Whilst he typically works towards resolving matters through negotiated settlements without the need for Court litigation, when matters are not capable of settlement without the assistance of the Courts, Tim is an experienced litigator and is able to manage the Court process at each stage.
Tim has a particular interest in international estate planning and deceased estate administration. He is a member of the international Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and holds the highest TEP qualification afforded to senior members. His strong international networks see him receive referrals from lawyers and accountants across the globe and enable him to refer the firms own clients to professionals in other jurisdictions where appropriate. He has significant experience in administering estates with assets in multiple countries and dealing with cross border issues including international estate and inheritance taxation.
Tim also has a strong involvement in assisting clients with diminished capacity including the elderly to enjoy all rights, even in circumstances of cognitive challenges. He is a member of the STEP Mental Capacity Special Interest Group and is experienced in recognising and assisting clients with cognitive impairment.
Tim is a member of the Tax Institute of Australia and authors the column “Successful Succession” in the Tax Institute Journal. He is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors Course and his knowledge of governance issues assists him in advising his family business clients with the establishment, running and eventual succession of the business.
Tim has been recognised in the Doyle’s Guide as a Leading, Wills, Estates and Succession Planning Lawyer in South Australia.
He has also recently been recognised by his peers and included in the 2023 edition of “The Best Lawyers in Australia” for Trusts and Estates in Adelaide.
Qualifications and Memberships
Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Honours)
Member – Law Society of South Australia
Member – Australian Institute of Company Directors
Member – Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners
Member – The Tax Institute Australia
Board member and Public Officer of Business Victor Harbor