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Reviewing family trust deeds – It’s not just about tax!


Recent developments in the taxation of trusts have focused attention on a perceived need to review and update family discretionary trust deeds. However, there are other, and arguably more important, reasons than tax considerations for reviewing trust deeds. This article demonstrates that the proper review and updating of family discretionary trust deeds is an extremely technical and painstaking task which should not be driven solely by tax considerations, but by the need to ensure that the trust deed is also satisfactory having regard to other important issues, such as validity at trust law, asset protection issues and succession issues.

A review should be undertaken in relation to all trust deeds, even recently drafted deeds, if there is any suspicion that any of these important issues may not have been properly addressed. Finally, the author argues that such a review must only be undertaken by a lawyer with the requisite qualifications, expertise and practical experience.

Author profile

Brian Hor CTA
Brian is the Principal and Legal Practitioner Director of WillWorks® Pty Ltd, a boutique law practice specialising in providing Sophisticated Estate Planning and Trust Deed services, including Review of Family Trust Deeds. Brian is a specialist Trusts and Estate Planning Lawyer with over 25 years' experience in advising on Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Trusts and Asset Protection, and preparing Sophisticated Wills, Testamentary Trusts, Discretionary Trusts, Unit Trusts, Hybrid Trusts, Family Trust Succession Deeds, SMSF Deeds, Shareholder Agreements and Business Succession Agreements. Before establishing WillWorks®, Brian was a Partner with a "Top Tier" professional services firm and was a founder of its Private Clients Estate Planning practice in Australia." - Current at 29 October 2012
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