Advice, preparation and administration of trusts is a core area of our work. There are a number of cogent reasons for establishing a family trust, including protection of assets for current and future generations, separation of family assets from business assets, protection from business creditors and from relationship property claims or claims under family protection or testamentary legislation.

There is still some scope for more effective tax treatment of income, and a family trust can provide flexibility in timing of transfer of assets within the family and the ability to respond to changing circumstances of family members. Equally, after reviewing a client’s circumstances we have on occasion persuaded them that a family trust would not be an appropriate solution for their situation.

Before recommending establishment of a family trust we review the client’s business and personal asset situation, their family relationships and personal circumstances and their philosophy on ownership, control and inheritance of assets. A trust is a complex legal concept and we endeavour to ensure that clients have a good working grasp of the purpose and operation of their trust, and their obligations as trustees, before they reach a decision on whether a trust would be appropriate for their circumstances.

If the decision is made to proceed with a trust, we will ensure that the trust document is designed to meet the client’s needs and arrange for the transfer of assets into the trust. We can act as an independent trustee and on an ongoing basis we advise and assist with trust settlors’ “statements of wishes” and appropriate amendments to Wills. We also advise trustees, settlors and beneficiaries concerning their respective rights, duties and obligations and can provide representation in the event of dispute.