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Judged by your deeds


The central document which constitutes a trust is the trust deed. This article considers the trust deed, the essential machinery that needs to be considered by advisers in addressing commercial and tax law issues associated with trust structures. The article reviews some challenging but relatively typical issues that the author has addressed in advising on trust structures, including recent developments. The article begins with a discussion of trust law issues, including the power of amendment, trustee powers, trustee indemnity, and the rule against perpetuities. The article then considers essential and desirable provisions in the discretionary trust, including provisions for income and capital distributions and distributions of unrealised gains. Typical provisions in a unit trust deed are then considered. Governance issues for discretionary trusts are discussed. Capital distributions and unit redemptions from unit trusts are considered. The article concludes with discussion of some significant distribution issues.

Author profile

Peter Slegers CTA
Photo of author, Peter SLEGERS Peter heads Cowell Clarke's tax and revenue practice group. He advises and acts for a wide range of public and private companies as well as for the trustees of self managed superannuation funds. Peter’s areas of expertise include: income tax (as it impacts on business and high net worth clients); capital gains tax; goods and services tax; state taxes and superannuation law. Peter is regularly involved in advising SMSF trustees on issues associated with superannuation income streams. Peter is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the SMSF Professionals Association of Australia Ltd in addition to being a member of the Tax Institute’s South Australian State Council. - Current at 08 October 2019
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