Autonomy First Lawyers

Empowering vulnerable decision makers

Autonomy First Lawyers is a multi-disciplinary, cognitive responsive professional practice, bringing together a unique team of experienced trusts and estates law, business law and clinical neuropsychology experts.

We are a private client law firm, acting for individuals and their businesses. We provide the legal and clinical advice that helps individuals and families make important financial, legal, health and welfare decisions. We help legal, medical, financial and other professionals reduce risk to themselves and to vulnerable clients when decision making ability is in doubt. We are collaborators in service of our clients’ interests, working at the convergence of:

  • Family, wealth and finance
  • Neuropsychology and law
STEP logo, Doyles Logo, Law Soc Logo

How we help

Prestige Inhome Care drop in event on getting the right legal representation for estates law

We are a private client law firm, acting for individuals and their businesses. We support family operations, care delivery, and both personal and family transitions, by helping with your:

Areas of expertise

Professional in Private Client Services meeting with clients and the risk of abuse

We have deep expertise in the following fields of law:
Property l Commercial Law l Dispute Resolution l Litigation l Trusts and Estates Practice l Migration Law.
Our Capacity & Capability Service is a multidisciplinary professional practice providing a medico-legal capacity and capability assessment service.

Meet the team

Collaborate and Grow 2022

Michael Perkins is a leading trusts, estates and private client practice lawyer, author and educator. Jeremy Duffy is a contracted Principal Solicitor with over 38 years of experience, based in SA. Amber Geake‘s focus is on all aspects of estates, including succession planning, estate administration and estate litigation. Dr Jane Lonie consults to Autonomy First Lawyers as a clinical neuropsychologist.

Capacity & Capability Service

Meeting at the Capacity and Capability Clinic

The Capacity & Capability Service is a multidisciplinary professional practice providing a medico-legal capacity and capability assessment service. Bringing together legal and clinical expertise, the Capacity and Capability Service helps and supports the autonomy of individuals and their families when they need to make important and often complex decisions…

Who we help

Family on beach

We help:

  • Individuals
  • Their family, supporters and representatives
  • Community representatives and services.

Our clients have connections within many jurisdictions, both within Australia and overseas.

Expert articles

​Our team are all highly experienced in their fields and publish widely. In our Blog, you can find case studies, opinion pieces and other articles around the theme we are all so passionate about. We work closely with like-minded organisations in our Community of Practice and welcome guest bloggers to submit their articles here. You can also receive our content by following our social media channels or subscribing to our newsletter.

Downloadable resources

We are pleased to offer you a set of free downloadable resources to make it easier access the support we can provide.
You can choose to use some resources to give to clients when they brief you about their situation. Other resources can be used to develop your skills and guide the conversations you have with your clients, referrers and collaborators.


The Autonomy First team are active members of our professional community and are often asked to present at various events. You can see the calendar of forthcoming conferences and seminars summarised at the bottom of this page and read full details on our Events page.

Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news about upcoming events.

How we work

We implement the National Decision Making Principles in our work.


We help mitigate the risk of abusive or coercive conduct in the administration of a person’s affairs wherever appropriate.


We practice the ethics of care and help clients implement the ethics of ageing.


We help support and safeguard the will and preference of our clients.


We work collaboratively, using common processes and practices to reach a common goal for our clients.


We advise individuals, families, organisations, entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses in many industries and sectors.

Autonomy First Pty Ltd, our law firm’s parent company, is an employer Partner of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). STEP has over 100 branches worldwide. STEP’s primary focus is on professional development and standards for practitioners advising on care and support for vulnerable clients, family businesses, family offices, wills, estates, wealth administration and conservation and succession planning. We work closely with STEP’s Employer Partner members who are part of the Autonomy First multidisciplinary Community of Practice.

STEP Employer Partner Australia

Upcoming Events



UNSW Edge Wills & Estates Intensive 2024

Michael Perkins will be one of the keynote presenters in the UNSW Edge Wills and Estates Intensive CPD event taking place on 20 March 2024 at the UNSW Kensington Campus, Sydney.



Supported decision making – a legal perspective

Step NSW has invited Michael Perkins to present this seminar for STEP members and the STEP extended network on Wednesday 10 April 2024.

Thought Leadership

Superannuation Tax Strategies: an EOFY reminder

Superannuation Tax Strategies: an EOFY reminder

Equity Trustees have now released the paper presented by Peter Bobbin in Sydney on 23rd May 2024 entitled Super Tax Death Strategies; Tax Scheme or Clever Planning?

Peter’s paper is a timely reminder as we approach the 30th June that superannuation withdrawal and contribution strategies are subject to both the sole purpose tests (plural) in Superannuation law as well as Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA).

read more
Short Changing Our Older Australians – Impacts of the New Aged Care Bill

Short Changing Our Older Australians – Impacts of the New Aged Care Bill

The consultation period has ended for the Federal Government’s Aged Care Bill and implementation has been delayed until 2025.
There are four matters of concern for clients and their advisers to consider, says Michael Perkins. This article summarises key consultation outcomes that are shaping how we advise our clients now…

read more

Empowering vulnerable decision makers | Helping safeguard your will and preferences

Who we work with

Cancer Council NSW
Relationships Australia NSW
Claimright logo
Financial clarity logo
Good Grief logo
ExSitu logo
New Way to Stay logo
Prestige in home care logo
SMSF logo half size
Capacity Australia Small
Fit Minds Australia
Fit Minds Australia
Step Australia Logo
KMT Partners small logo
Institute of Collaborative Working Australia

“Working with Michael was enlightening. I am impressed by the way Michael analyses a client’s estate planning needs and then explains the complicated concepts involved in addressing those needs so that the client can understand them. He handles difficult succession issues with sensitivity and just the right amount of humour. He has an unusual ability to make unlikely but very fruitful connections.”

— Jacquie Seemann, Partner at Thomson Geer