New Crilly Lawyers Client Survey

Apart from wishing everybody an early Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year, we would like to take this opportunity to invite you to complete a short survey.   We think that it is more important than ever that we canvas your views on the types of services that you want and your attitude to risk and value. Even though we have a detailed knowledge in the law, it is the specific tailoring of your requirements within that framework that we really want to target. As an example, we have moved far more towards a fixed fee for a set list of deliverable items as a scope of work. This makes it easier for us to identify the limits of the instruction and for our clients to understand exactly what it is they can achieve as an outcome. Ask us about our fixed fee client agreement and please complete the below survey which should really only take about two minutes of your time. Note that the first four surveys will get a free bottle of French champagne as a bonus. Thanks very much, we look forward to the opportunity to act of your behalf.   Please take the time to complete our survey below, we would love to hear from you https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CrillySurvey...

Changes for Super for 2015

The superannuation legislation and regulations continue to evolve as successive governments tinker with the frame works. It is critical in our view that the accountant, the superannuation advisor and a lawyer work openly and in conjunction to ensure that the interests of the client are protected.   The fines for non-compliance have drastically increased and it is very clear that self-managed super funds are firmly in the line of fire for the tax office to review and audit. Given our experience we urge a high level of caution in any transaction to ensure that compliance is met and your rights are protected. This is even more so where clients are purchasing property in their SMSF using a bare trust arrangement for a component of borrowing. More often than not our role is restricted in effecting the property transfer, however it is far better to have a robust and open discussion prior to entering into the contractual documentation to ensure all aspects are covered. By reverse checklisting the auditors requirements prior to signing of documents, clients can better insulate themselves against a breach of regulation at a later time. Ask us how to run through that checklist of issues before you sign a property...

Changes to Succession Law for 2015

The most significant changes we see are the duties of executors and administrators in relation to the estate assets, compared to the rights and obligations that apply to the superannuation entitlements. We are finding that this is a significant pressure point where clients have not made a clear binding death benefit nomination on their superannuation member benefits.   To save a great deal of heartache we strongly recommend that clients prepare and execute a detailed binding death benefit nomination, whether it is an industry superannuation fund of a Self-managed fund. Ask us how we can do this in conjunction with your overall estate...

My Family Trust – What is the state of play?

Most business owners will have heard of changes in respect of family trusts and perhaps the case of Bamford which resulted in the  2011 ‘trust streaming’ amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Acts. So what should you do? To check if a trust deed should be varied? The simplest test to check if a family discretionary trust deed should be updated by adding further wording is to look at the definition of ‘income of the trust fund’ or ‘net income’. If your deed states that “income” means ‘section 95 net income’, or there is no definition stated regarding “income” , then your trust deed needs amending. The ATO’s draft taxation ruling (TR 2012/D1) lists some of the serious problems that can arise if your deed does not define income properly. This will include the limitation to “stream” income to different beneficiaries in financial years and deal with franking credits on shares held by the trust to minimise tax. Unit trusts? If your unit trust receives franked dividends (tax has been paid) from distributions made by a trustee, the trust must be a ‘fixed’ trust in order to get the tax benefit. If  a unit holder in the trust is a superannuation fund, there is a  real risk that money paid (distributions) from the unit trust to the superannuation fund will be taxed at a higher rate as ‘non-arm’s length income’. This was the situation in the recent case of MH Ghali Superannuation Fund ([2012] AATA 527). If franked dividends are paid or a superannuation fund holds units the odds are the trust deed should be amended and updated in the wording, as very few unit...

Business Succession and Property

Each business will have its unique requirements. I assisted some clients in relation to a business succession agreement for four partners in a successful business. At the time of formation of the original business entity, there was a simple husband and wife team. Over the years, the business grew. They were joined by their management executive and they sold shares in the company as a result. The business expanded again and they sold a further tranche of shares to another key management person. During the expansion phase they also had the opportunity to purchase the business real property from which the business was conducted. As it was around the time of the last manager’s buy in, he could not afford to purchase an interest in the property as well. So the end reality was four business owners and three property owners. They acquired the property in a separate family discretionary trust as tenants in common in one-third shares each. A commercial lease was established between the business trading entity and the three trusts as owners of the property. All simple so far… The question arose as to how to deal with the property interests upon death of a principal in the business. It is a simple matter for the one that did not buy in, as it is simply the value of his interest in the shares of the trading entity. However, when it comes to the buy/sell agreement for the three that have an interest in the property, this was a completely different matter. The issues are Does the deceased business owner need a continuing interest in the...