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Testamentary trusts: Bespoke planning opportunities


In recent years, the need for effective structuring of business and personal assets has been brought into sharp focus for high net worth individuals and business owners. Fundamental changes to the taxation regime, the vast amounts of wealth accumulated within superannuation funds and the increasing tendency for both business and personal relationships to be relatively short term, as opposed to life long, have meant that traditional estate planning has been revolutionised.

This article focuses on the creative use of testamentary trusts in the context of estate planning. The article considers assets that do not form part of an estate, testamentary trusts, tax treatment of testamentary trusts, the attitude of the Australian Taxation Office towards testamentary trusts, trust cloning, trust splitting, bespoke company constitutions and fettering of a trustee’s discretion, and changing of domicile.

Author profile

Matthew Burgess CTA
Photo of author, Matthew BURGESS Matthew co-founded specialist firm View Legal in 2014, having been a lawyer and partner of one of Australia’s leading independent law firms for over 17 years. Matthew’s passion is helping clients successfully achieve their goals. Matthew specialises in tax, and estate and succession planning, providing strategic advice to business owners and high net worth individuals. He has been recognised in the Best Lawyers list since 2014 in relation to trusts and estates and either personally or as part of View Legal in Doyles since 2015 in relation to taxation, and since 2017 in relation to wills, estates and succession planning. In part leveraging off the skills he has developed working in the SME market space, Matthew has been the catalyst for a number of innovative legal solutions for advisers and their clients, including establishing Australia’s first virtual law firm. - Current at 13 August 2018
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