Wills and Estates

Posted on 8 December 2022
Wills and Estates

The significance of choosing the appropriate structure to make the protection and maintenance of your assets possible cannot be overstated. This is necessary regardless of whether you have acquired your fortune on your own or through inheritance.

In this instance, you may want to consider estate and succession planning to protect your assets and ensure some tax benefits for the beneficiaries of your estate.

One of the most effective estate planning strategies today is the use of a testamentary trust in a will.

When your estate is distributed to your beneficiaries, a testamentary trust can help with minimising capital gains tax, stamp duty, and other taxes that may be due. It can also help protect your assets from creditors, unscrupulous individuals, and the like.

 

Testamentary trusts—the basics

A testamentary trust (aka will trust) is, in simple terms, a trust that’s created according to the terms set in a will. It typically takes take the form of a discretionary trust.

However, unlike inter vivos (facilitated or done between living persons) discretionary trusts, which allow for the transfer of assets and gifts while the grantor is still alive, testamentary trusts are only activated after the grantor’s demise.

Each beneficiary under your will may have a testamentary trust that is most appropriate to their circumstances. There are different sorts of testamentary trusts that can be established, such as:

  • Beneficiary-controlled testamentary trust
  • Capital-reserved testamentary trust
  • Protective testamentary trust

Benefits of testamentary trusts

Compared to typical wills, a testamentary trust offers the grantor more discretion over estate planning and distribution to beneficiaries.

Among the key benefits of testamentary trusts are:

  • Flexibility: A testamentary trust functions in a similar way to a discretionary family trust. A trustee may choose which beneficiaries get trust income as long as they are nominated in the trust. With this freedom, the trustee can choose to distribute income, capital and dividends in the most tax-efficient way. Also, in the event that superannuation funds are paid to the estate, trustees will have plenty of discretion in how to handle them.
  • Asset protection from third parties: Testamentary trusts can shield assets from possible court cases, bankruptcies, and legal actions because the trustee has the title to the trust assets (not the beneficiaries directly). A testamentary trust can offer you extra asset protection if your surviving spouse or your adult child runs a business that carries a large financial risk. For adult children, it might offer family law protection as well.
  • Tax advantages: Testamentary trusts give trustees the option to divide and distribute the trust’s income for tax planning purposes. Also, distributions from a testamentary trust will be tax-free up to the standard full exemption amount. Beneficiaries who have children aged below 18 can significantly profit from this tax planning benefit because they can use pre-tax income to pay for their children’s expenses. Moreover, any capital gain made by the executor (the person chosen to carry out the will) is disregarded by law when a capital gains tax asset is transferred from the executor to a beneficiary.

So, is a testamentary trust for you?

When it comes to estate and succession planning, it’s always better to get the input of your financial advisor and a solicitor specialising in wills and trusts.

If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

Posted in:News  

Pensioners can earn more before Christmas

Posted on 24 November 2022
Pensioners can earn more before Christmas

Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)

Age pensioners will be able to pick up extra shifts and earn some extra cash before Christmas without losing their benefits.

New laws increase the amount they can earn by $4000 to $11,800 from December 1 until the end of 2023 before their pension starts to taper.

It will benefit more than 50,000 pensioners in the workforce.

The new laws also scrap the need to reapply for their payment for up to two years if they exceed the income limit.

The pension is currently cut off after the income limit is exceeded for three months.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the changes would help address crippling workforce shortages.

“Older workers are an untapped market, having years of knowledge and skills to offer employers,” she said.

“Giving older Australians the choice to engage in the workforce will not only benefit them, it is also an important step towards addressing Australia’s labour shortages.”

 

Age pensioners will be able to pick up extra shifts and earn some extra cash before Christmas without losing their benefits.

New laws increase the amount they can earn by $4000 to $11,800 from December 1 until the end of 2023 before their pension starts to taper.

It will benefit more than 50,000 pensioners in the workforce.

The new laws also scrap the need to reapply for their payment for up to two years if they exceed the income limit.

The pension is currently cut off after the income limit is exceeded for three months.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the changes would help address crippling workforce shortages.

“Older workers are an untapped market, having years of knowledge and skills to offer employers,” she said.

“Giving older Australians the choice to engage in the workforce will not only benefit them, it is also an important step towards addressing Australia’s labour shortages.”

 

Posted in:News  

Recession unlikely in Australia, says IMF

Posted on 18 November 2022
Recession unlikely in Australia, says IMF

Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)

The International Monetary Fund expects Australia to dodge a recession but has downgraded its expectations for growth next year.

The United Nations agency anticipates growth slowing to 1.7 per cent in 2023 – less than the 1.9 per cent forecast in its world economic outlook released last month.

In its annual health check on the Australian economy, the IMF pointed to Australia’s resilient domestic buffers to economic headwinds, including decent household savings.

“Between the slowing global growth and some still-resilient domestic buffers, Australia is on a narrow path for a soft landing,” the report said.

But Australia is not out of the woods – a larger-than-expected slowdown in China’s growth would put the nation’s exports at risk and higher inflation and wage growth domestically could prompt further interest rate rises from the central bank.

“The decline in housing prices has the potential to accelerate, which can reduce household consumption, with some impact on banks’ balance sheets,” the IMF warned.

The agency urged the Reserve Bank to keep lifting interest rates to cool demand and called on the government to keep spending constrained and targeted.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the IMF confirmed the Albanese government had delivered a budget “right for the times” in October.

“The government is returning 99 per cent of the upward tax revisions for the next two years to the budget when the inflation challenge is most severe, and 92 per cent over the forward estimates,” Dr Chalmers said.

“This compares to the former government’s average of around 40 per cent.”

The international agency also weighed in on Australia’s tax reform debate – noting the stage three tax cuts would reduce the personal income tax burden and Australia would be best to double down on “under-utilised” indirect taxes, such property taxes and the goods and services tax.

“Longstanding recommendations include broadening the GST base to limit exemptions for healthcare spending and restricting the capital gains tax exemption for the sale of main residences,” the report said.

The IMF recommended ditching stamp duty in favour of land taxes to promote housing affordability, labour mobility and a more sustainable tax base.

The agency welcomed Australia’s renewed commitment to climate mitigation and said more renewables in the grid would improve the resilience of the electricity sector and insulate the country from price spikes and energy market volatility.

While recognising the political challenges, the IMF said an economy-wide carbon price was the most effective way to cut emissions.

Despite Australia’s resilience to economic turmoil, a new report shows small businesses are starting to suffer.

CreditorWatch’s business risk index found small businesses were three times more likely to be falling behind on payments than big businesses.

Business to business payment defaults also continue to rise at an average rate of 20 per cent each month.

CreditorWatch chief economist Anneke Thompson said the rise in trade defaults, depressed consumer confidence and rising job vacancies all pointed to a slowing economy.

“Instinctively, this seems unwanted, but unfortunately a significant slowdown of the economy is one of the only cures for inflation,” she said.

“The challenge is not allowing small business to suffer the brunt of the impact of a slowing economy, which unfortunately is usually the case.”

 

 

Posted in:News  

Why Should You Start Setting Financial Goals?

Posted on 17 November 2022
Why Should You Start Setting Financial Goals?

(Feedsy Exclusive)

Saving a few dollars today can add up to a lot of money later on – cash that you can use to start investing, pay off your debt repayment, or save for retirement.

But to ensure you have a clear direction and achieve what you want, you need to start setting financial goals – that is, if you haven’t done so yet.

While a lot of people associate financial goal setting with business, it’s something anyone can and everyone should do. In this post, we’ll discuss why making financial goals is essential and provide tips on how to do so.

Setting financial goals – the basics

The specific objectives you set when it comes to your own finances are called financial goals. The goals you choose are tailored to your financial situation, and they provide you with definite benchmarks to strive for.

Your financial goals spell out the desired results of your short-, medium-, and long-term financial decisions. To illustrate, below are examples of short-, medium-, and long-term financial goals.

Short-term goals

Your short-term objectives help you build the foundation and confidence you need to accomplish longer-term, more ambitious goals.

  • Create a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it.
  • Build an emergency fund.
  • Pay off credit card debt.

Medium-term goals

Once you achieve (or nearly accomplish all) your short-term financial goals, you have the foundation needed to follow through on midterm objectives.

Medium-term objectives serve to bridge your short- with your long-term goals.

  • Get life and disability insurance.
  • Reduce or pay off your student loan or any major debt.
  • Save for your dream home or children’s education.

Long-term goals

Your long-term financial objectives are meant to prepare you for future needs and challenges. This is why these goals typically involve preparing for retirement.

To make sure you’re saving enough, you need to determine how much you’ll actually need to retire comfortably.

While your superannuation is considered a retirement investment, it may not be enough to cover your financial requirements later in life.

You need to take your future health and mobility needs into consideration, even if you’re physically fit currently. You also need to factor in inflation, as the cost of goods and services today wouldn’t be the same years or decades from now.

So, aside from saving for retirement, you might want to consider investing in long-term, low-risk investments like mutual funds and savings bonds. Or you could also go for high-risk, high-yield investments with the help of a stockbroker or your financial advisor.

Benefits of financial goal setting

Creating financial objectives is a crucial first step toward financial success, security, and stability.

In particular, financial goal setting provides the following benefits:

  • Establishing clear goals enables you to create achievable plans.
  • It provides a benchmark for monitoring your progress.
  • It keeps you accountable for the results.
  • Making a list of goals helps in setting priorities.
  • Tracking your progress can inspire you to achieve more.

So, if you have yet to set financial goals, do so today.


If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.

 

 

Posted in:News  

Scams Awareness Week 2022: 7-11 November

Posted on 11 November 2022
Scams Awareness Week 2022: 7-11 November

(ACCC)

Scams Awareness Week 2022 takes place 7-11 November. This Scams Awareness Week, along with over 350 partner organisations, we’re encouraging you to learn ways to identify scams and take the time to check whether an offer or contact is genuine before you act on it.

With scammers continually developing new ways to catch people out, we need to increase our vigilance in checking for those little clues that can alert us that something is a scam.

Scams cost Australian consumers, businesses, and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year and cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families.

In 2021 Australians made more than 286,600 reports to Scamwatch and reported losses of around $324 million. By the end of August this year, Australians had lost even more with reported losses of over $381 million.

As alarming as these numbers are, we know that around one third of people who are scammed never tell anyone, so the true numbers are probably much higher.

Follow Scamwatch on Twitter and explore our website for more information and tips on how to protect yourself from scams.

Scamwatch tools and resources

The Scamwatch and ACCC websites contain a range of tools and resources about scams.

 

 

Posted in:News  

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