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Trust assets and estate planning: How has the dust settled after Kennon v Spry?

Published on 01 May 13 by "TAXATION IN AUSTRALIA" JOURNAL ARTICLE

In recent years, there have been numerous developments which have challenged the effectiveness of trust structures, causing a loss of faith in the ability of traditional family discretionary trusts to protect assets in the event of marriage breakdown. The High Court decision in Kennon v Spry, in particular, appears to alter longstanding principles relating to the asset protection advantages of trusts in this context. This article considers the consequences of that decision, discusses the treatment of trust assets in a relationship breakdown and the distinction between assets forming part of the pool of property or being treated as a financial resource, examines the application of these principles in recent decisions, and offers some practical recommendations.

The authors conclude that, while this is an evolving area of law, recent case law indicates that, for the foreseeable future, well-structured trusts should continue to be an effective vehicle for asset protection and estate planning.

Author profiles:

Tara Lucke FTI
Tara is a director and co-founder of the specialist law firm, View Legal Pty Ltd. Her favourite aspect of her work is getting to know her clients’ business and family. To help her clients achieve their goals, Tara places high importance on working collaboratively with their existing advisers to deliver effective and appropriate solutions for tax planning, estate and business succession planning, and asset protection. As a founder of View Legal Pty Ltd, Tara is committed to building a law firm that she would choose to use herself. To this end, she is passionate about exploring innovations in the legal industry, particularly in relation to using technology and fixed pricing to provide quality solutions and price certainty for clients. Tara is a fellow of The Tax Institute and is regularly published in Australia’s leading monthly tax journal, The Tax Institute’s Taxation in Australia and the leading weekly tax journal, Thomson Reuters’ Weekly Tax Bulletin. Current at 07 April 2015 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Tara Lucke.
 
Author Photo - Matthew Burgess CTA
Matthew Burgess CTA
Matthew co-founded specialist firm View Legal in 2014, having been a partner of one of Australia's leading independent law firms for over 12 years. Matthew's passion is helping clients successfully achieve their goals. Matthew specialises in tax, asset protection, estate and succession planning, providing strategic advice to business owners and high net worth individuals, and was recognised in the "Best Lawyers" list for 2014 in relation to trusts and estates. As an author, Matthew is widely recognised as an expert in his field, who constantly creates bespoke revenue-related strategies for the growth, management and protection of wealth. Matthew is regularly published in Australia's leading monthly tax journal, The Tax Institute's Taxation in Australia (six articles since 2012), and the leading weekly tax journal, Thomson Reuters' Weekly Tax Bulletin (10 articles since 2012). He has also written five legal books, one business book and 16 children's books. Current at 01 June 2016 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Matthew BURGESS.
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