Trust and Asset Protection

Trust and Asset Protection

To make sure that, so far as possible, your assets stay as your assets and are dealt with both now and in the future in the way you wish them to be is important. It is important both for people as individuals, their families, and also for business owners and their businesses. There are many different risks, some unexpected: for example a claim against a deceased estate by a disgruntled ex- family member. There can be marriage/partnership break-up claims. Also, there can be unexpected business difficulties and credit claims from a variety of sources.
Trust and asset planning is about helping people having their personal affairs (and also their businesses) structured so as to help, as far as possible, make sure that they have control and protection in relation to what happens to their assets.
Also, while this can never be a main objective, there can be opportunities to save on taxation payments in some cases and other financial benefits.

How can we help you?

We can support all clients with comprehensive advice and legal support in respect of their affairs. Whether you are making a Will, receiving a family inheritance, planning for retirement, or simply seeking to protect your assets or maximise their benefit to your family, we can offer up-to-date and accurate legal advice.
There are further opportunities for our clients in this area following the abolition of gift duties for many (but not all) types of gift.  This can provide many benefits, especially if clients take full advantage of what is available to them.

There are enormous opportunities to help business clients reduce the impact of business risks and also to maximise the potential of their businesses. We can assist clients with helping to separate ownership of intellectual property rights from business risks, steps to give protection in dealing with parties off-shore, and use of appropriate business structures to help achieve these.  
Our trust and asset planning team includes people who are specialists in this area. We are structured to offer you the optimum mix of skills and experience. You can expect a dedicated person who will oversee all aspects of your relationship with us, making sure that you benefit from continuity of advice and high quality legal input at all times.
Some of the things we can advise you on are:
  • Asset protection;
  • Estate and retirement planning;
  • Forming family and charitable trusts;
  • Administration of trust and estates;
  • Re-settlement of old trusts;
  • Estate disputes;
  • Preparation of wills;
  • Advice on family, matrimonial and de facto relationship property;
  • Matrimonial disputes;
  • Family Property Sharing Agreements;
  • Preparing enduring powers of attorney;
  • Gifting of assets (and the abolition of gift duty for certain gifts).

Are There Other Useful Steps to Take to Protect Your Assets?

Trusts are only one of a number of available methods of risk management and asset protection. Other methods which can be considered include:

  • Insurance: Special arrangements can be made as to the ownership of your existing insurance policies. There may also be other forms of insurance protection desirable for you.
  • Company Directors: Directors are now faced with many additional legal liabilities but steps can be taken to reduce some of these risks.
  • Business Owners/Operators: There is now increased legal liabilities for people involved in owning and managing businesses, but again, there are prudent measures which can be taken to reduce exposure.
  • Wills: Having an adequate and appropriate Will avoids unnecessary problems (and expense) that can otherwise arise. Wills can also incorporate asset protection measures for the benefit of future generations.
  • Powers of Attorney: The transitional Power of Attorney is often of little value when it is most needed (because it may cease to be legally valid). The newer Enduring Power of Attorney can offer a number of benefits. Generally, it is desirable to have a Power of Attorney if you are likely to be travelling or have affairs or investments that may need to be managed if you are unwell or unable to do so for yourself.
  • Matrimonial Property "Contracting Out" Agreements: These agreements can provide considerable security for the future as well as being a very useful estate planning tool (for example, they may enable the transfer of property between spouses without having to pay gift duty). They are often entered into between happily married couples who are involved in estate and asset planning. Such agreements should also be considered before marriage in many cases, particularly where the marriage is a second marriage for either party.

Should I Consider Taking Any Steps Now?

What is right for each person will depend on their particular circumstances. Sometimes there is no need to do anything at all. However, as people from many walks of life have discovered in recent years, there are very often steps which they can or should take to improve their position. What is appropriate in each case differs depending on the requirements of each individual.

As most programmes take some time for the full benefits to be obtained, an early start is important. Also, new laws are passed from time to time which close off existing opportunities. 

Therefore, we recommend to our clients that they review thier situation regularly and, if action is indicated, act promptly.