"I get it. I hate talking or even thinking about my own death, but we need to break the stigma. For starters, having a Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian documents in place are intended to make heartbreaking situations easier and less muddy for loved ones. As a mother and wife, the last thing I want my family to do is have to jump through hoops to ensure their financial safety or face any obstacles regarding my medical treatment," says Principal Solicitor of SCL, Sally Callander.
For over a decade Sally Callander has worked hard to reinvent the traditional law firm model by making life-changing advice accessible, convenient and affordable.
Passionate about educating the Mudgee community about the importance of Estate Planning, she's recently opened a new office at 56 Market Street.
"One of the biggest misconceptions around Estate Planning is that you need to have enormous wealth. This couldn't be further from the truth. While yes, a Will is intended to help distribute wealth, pay debts and dictate where dependents are to be placed if left orphaned, Estate Planning includes other documents like Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian that are there to ensure financial and medical decisions can be made on your behalf if you are to become incapacitated. Not only is this incredibly important for your own financial and physical well-being, it also helps your loved ones be able to act quickly in a high-stress situation."
Sally's approach to both Estate Planning and Conveyancing is refreshing and transparent. Her conversations aren't peppered with legal jargon. She is quick, to the point and prides herself on offering appointment types that suit every stage of life.
From home visits to Zoom appointments to in-office catch-ups, Sally has a firm understanding that people are leading busy lives, especially in the age of Corona.
"I don't want people to feel intimidated or scared to come and see me. I also don't want people to think that Estate Planning is a long and drawn out process.
"I had a client recently cry with relief after our meeting, as she had never been to anything like it on her own after her husband died. She was so nervous to talk to me and was pleased that I wasn't a scary monster.
"It's these types of interactions that inspire me to find new ways to meet with clients. Sometimes it means sitting at a client's kitchen bench in the comfort of their home. Other times it means visiting a nursing home. Like pretty much every other industry at the moment, it can also mean a Zoom meeting. At the end of the day, I just want people leaving my presence feeling both informed and relieved."
When you listen to Sally talk about her work, you can feel just how passionate she is about law, which is both endearing and inspiring.
When I was growing up the typical response to the obligatory, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' question that adults love to ask wide-eyed little kids was usually something like, 'Marine Biologist' or 'Movie Star.'
"I wanted to be a lawyer my whole life," says Sally.
As a child of a Sydney based barrister, Sally fondly remembers going to court with her father during the school holidays and watching in awe as he'd don his gown and wig and exude a God-like sense of power.
"To be honest, I thought I would be a criminal legal aid lawyer. As a kid my parents said that I was always a defender of the underdog. Even if it was me dobbing on my brother and then insisting he not be punished."
Armed with a B.A. in Sociology and Gender Studies and a Bachelor of Laws, Sally's first legal job was in an employment firm in Sydney.
"The irony of the workplace bullying I experienced in this employment law office did not go unnoticed, which led me to quickly find a new job. Since I was living with my fiancé, Richie, in Newtown during this time, I chose a suburban firm that covers areas such as Criminal, Family Law and Wills and Estates.
"Mostly excited about the possibility of practicing Criminal Law, I was surprised by how drawn I was to Wills and Estates. Even though I was enjoying my work, Richie, who is a builder, and I were anxious to buy a house to renovate.
"At the time, the Sydney market was booming and we found it difficult to break into. Curious about what life could be like at a slower pace, we started exploring employment opportunities in Wagga and Mudgee.
"Mudgee in particular felt like the perfect combination of country and cosmopolitan. After a life chat over lunch, I decided to send my CV to the law firms in Mudgee. The very same day my CV arrived, the Wills and Estates Lawyer at DLH had resigned. Within a month I had the job and officially moved to Mudgee in 2012."
At DLH, Sally did a lot of varied work including Family and Criminal Law. Still drawn to Estate Planning, Sally began obtaining her Masters in Wills and Estates in 2013.
Over the last eight years, she has been recognised around the region for her legal work and participation in the Mudgee Guide Dogs Committee and Children's Medical Research Institute.
She's also the co-president of the women's networking group, Girl Talk in Mudgee.
Today, the mother of three couldn't imagine living anywhere else in the world.
"We absolutely love living in Mudgee. I love that I have friends that are as close as family. It takes a village to raise a child, and in my case three, and I am very grateful to say that I have that type of village here.
"I feel so supported by not only my friends, but the whole community. I love that my children get to live this idyllic childhood of weekends at friends' farms on motorbikes and horses, in and out of pools or attending one of the region's fabulous events.
"I also love that I can achieve the elusive work/life balance. I relish the many hours I have with my kids in the morning and at night and that I can still go to their school and see cross country races and swimming carnivals (pre-COVID) and then pop back to the office."
After eight years at DLH, Sally decided to venture out on her own and founded Sally Callander Law.
"For over ten years, I've had the privilege to work with highly knowledgeable and encouraging colleagues and mentors. Their advice and expertise has been invaluable, but I'm looking for ways to shake up the industry.
"I've met far too many people who don't have their ducks in a row so to say. I've seen too many families break apart due to lack of Estate Planning. I've seen too many partners break down because they don't have any power to help their loved one.
"Having access to legal advice shouldn't cost the earth or feel elitist. At Sally Callander Law, we know that one size doesn't not fit all, which is why we pride ourselves on providing a tailored service to every individual who walks through her door."
To find out more about Sally Callander or to book an appointment, you can visit sallycallanderlaw.com.au or call 0434 387 409.