No. We need to set up a new trust specifically customised for your asset protection – we cannot use an existing trust for this purpose. If your accountant or solicitor has drawn up a trust for you, you can continue to use it for its intended purpose – our Vestey trust will not impact this.
The name of your Trust is entirely a matter for you. There is no official register of trust names, so unlike a company, you don’t have to check to see if your name is ‘available’. As a guide, it would be best to choose something which means something to you, but which has no obvious connection to you, such as a favourite holiday destination or the like. You should start your trust name with “the” and end it with “trust” for example, ‘The Sicilian Trust’.
You have two choices when deciding on a Trustee for your asset protection trust. It can either be an individual trustee or a corporate trustee (company). There are pros and cons for each, however both choices are legally effective for your asset protection.
An individual is good because there is no register for individuals in Australia (like there is for companies with ASIC) so your Trustee is “off the radar”. The down-side is that you have to involve a third party in your affairs. You will need them to sign documents from time to time for you, and they will need to attend the bank to open the trust bank account, so you will need to consider any logistical difficulties with this. They will also know about your financial affairs.
With a company as trustee, you have a separate legal entity as your Trustee, but as you are the director of that entity, you can sign all of the documents yourself and no one else is involved in your affairs. The downside is that it costs to register a company (approx. $520), and ASIC additionally charge yearly registrations fees (approx. $250). The company will be a matter of public record and anyone can find out about it and search for it on the ASIC website.
Choosing a Trustee is the most important part of asset protection, and you need to give this some thought. Your trustee should be someone that you can trust, as they will be privy to your financial information - your assets, income and if you choose to set up a bank account for the Trust, your cash at bank. The role can be filled by anyone over 18 with a few exceptions – it cannot be yourself or your spouse/partner, nor any other person that you want to bring in under the umbrella of your asset protection, and it cannot be someone who jointly owns property or other assets with you (eg if you and your brother own a house together, he cannot be your trustee). Common choices are siblings, parents, children or very close friends. You should seek the person’s permission before listing them as a Trustee. You should also ensure that they understand the responsibilities that you are asking them to undertake. If you do not have an individual you feel comfortable using as your Trustee, then you can incorporate a company to act as your Trustee.
You can have an overseas trustee, but it does make it more difficult when it comes to signing documents and opening up a bank account, so I don’t recommend this option if you have another choice.
It is common for your trustee to ask questions, and it is important that they fully understand what is involved before they agree to accept the role. Trustees often want to know about what is required of them, what their liability may be, if they can resign from the role, if it will affect their tax or pension and so on. We have prepared a briefing sheet that you can print and give to them to answer all of these questions. You can access it here. If your trustee is not comfortable taking on the role, it is best to find someone else, or set up a corporate trustee rather than trying to convince them and then have to deal with the hassle and cost of changing all of your documentation if they then want out.
You can use a company you already have if it is ‘clean’ – ie it has never borrowed/traded/earned income and if it is not the trustee of another trust or superannuation fund. If your company is ‘contaminated’ by its previous dealings, then you should start afresh with a brand-new company. If you are not sure, email email@example.com outlining the history of the company and my team will confirm if the company is suitable for this purpose.
You MUST NOT use this company for any other purposes such as purchasing of properties or other assets – it must stand alone and remain ‘clean’ in order for your asset protection to be effective.
Yes, you can change your trustee, either from one individual to another, or from an individual to a corporate trustee (or vise versa), however this can be expensive. Your package covers you for the cost of the revision to the documents, but you will have to pay fees to the Land Titles Office to remove and re-lodge your caveats, so it is better to get it right upfront.
You can set up a company yourself at any time at by using www.ecompanies.com.au for a cost of approx. $520.00. It is a simple process, and you can access my step by step guide (with screen shots) at this link. This guide will also answer questions about the name of the company, who should be the director/secretary of the company, who should own the shares and where the registered office should be. On completion, ecompanies will send you an email with all of the required documentation, which you should also forward to our office.
A Testamentary Trust is a will which creates a Trust upon the death of the testator (the person making the will). With a normal will, you leave everything to your beneficiaries. This is fine, but if you are wanting to preserve your wealth for future generations, then a Testamentary Trust puts all your wealth in a vault. This vault is controlled by a Trustee after you die, and your beneficiaries can access it, but do not actually receive it. This preserves your wealth for future generations. With a normal will, there is the risk that a beneficiary may lose their inheritance, eg to a creditor or an ex-partner or spouse.
If you are happy with your current will, then you can elect for us not to set up this Testamentary Trust for you – it is entirely your choice. Many people opt to have the Testamentary Trust prepared, and then they make the decision of whether to execute it once they have the document and the explanatory briefing that comes with it in front of them. The Testamentary Trust will only be effective if signed.
You need to choose your Executors carefully, as they legally stand in your shoes and administer your affairs on your death – it should be someone that you trust. The Executor/Backup Executor can be anyone over 18 years of age. Most people will choose their spouse/life partner to be their primary executor, with other common choices being siblings, relatives or trusted friends. Many people choose parents which is fine, but just remember that if they predecease you, you will need to update your will to appoint someone else. There is no need to use a professional like a solicitor or accountant or the Public Trustee Service. Your chosen Trustee need not have any commercial or business acumen – they can engage lawyers and accountants to handle the affairs of your estate and your Trust as required. It is important that you discuss the role with your proposed executor beforehand to obtain their agreement to act.
It is not mandatory to appoint a backup Executor, but we strongly recommend that you do so. In the event that your first choice of Executor pre-deceases you, or dies with you, or soon after you do, then the backup Executor will take over (rather than a stranger).
Your Executor will organise everything on your behalf. They legally stand in your shoes and administer your affairs on your death. They take charge of things. In reality, they will engage a solicitor to do everything that needs to be done to finalise your estate and then they will look after your wealth for your beneficiaries in your absence.
Yes – the one person can be both the trustee of your Vestey trust and also the executor or backup executor for your will.
You can choose multiple executors, but it can make the administration of your will more complex. I recommend that you keep it simple and just nominate one person. If you do wish to include multiple executors, please include the details of the additional executor in the ‘Other Information’ section at the end of the questionnaire – we will need to seek further information from you regarding how you wish your executors to handle this joint role.
Once signed, your Testamentary Trust will supersede and replace any existing will (by virtue of the fact that it was signed later in time). If when you receive your documents you decide for whatever reason that you wish to retain your current will, you can simply choose not to sign the Testamentary Trust.
Yes, you can change your executor at any time, and there is no cost to you – it is all covered under your Master Wealth Control package.
A private company or a legal or accounting firm cannot be named as your Executor, however, you can nominate an individual within your accounting or legal firm. You should discuss this with them first and ensure you understand the costs involved. Alternatively, you can use the services of the Public Trustee in your state, however this can also be costly.
I suggest that you watch my video and read all of the FAQ’s before you do make this decision - my recommendation is that the best protection for your beneficiaries comes through the creation of a generic “bloodline” testamentary trust. If after informing yourself you would still like to provide for specific bequests in your testamentary trust, please fill specific details of your instructions in the ‘Other Information” section.
A ‘bloodline’ trust is simply a Testamentary Trust that leaves your wealth only to your bloodline, ie only your immediate family and their direct descendants.
The best way to ensure that your hard-earned assets are protected and preserved for the benefit of your spouse, children and grandchildren, after you have passed away, is by incorporating a Bloodline Trust. A Bloodline Trust is a premium form of family trust where the benefit of the wealth held in the trust is restricted to your bloodline.
We have all heard stories about people forming new relationships after the death of their spouse and changing their Will to leave all of their assets to their new partner, thereby depriving their children of an inheritance. While dramatic stories of family disputes capture our interest, assets are more commonly depleted or wasted through sheer bad luck, such as the divorce or financial misadventure of your surviving spouse or children. In these cases, any assets of the individual are at risk.
This trust is what we mean when we refer to your “Testamentary Trust”. We set this up to allay your concerns about financial stability in the next generation. A Bloodline Trust provides stability, ensuring assets are protected and preserved for the benefit of your bloodline.
Under most Wills, the Will-maker leaves their estate directly to individuals, that is, their spouse (if their spouse survives them) and ultimately their children. Unfortunately, this does nothing to protect and preserve those assets in the years to come. If the individuals to whom you have made gifts under your Will subsequently divorce, separate or suffer some financial misadventure, those assets may be severely diminished or lost entirely.
Rather than making gifts under your Will to individuals, you can make gifts to Bloodline Trusts earmarked for those individuals. After your death, the individual you have intended to benefit will control the Bloodline Trust earmarked for them and be able to use the assets in the trust as if they owned them. However, those assets will not be at risk should the individual divorce or suffer financial misfortune.
Under the terms of a Bloodline Trust:
Using a Testamentary or Bloodline Trust in your estate plan provides a flexible, comprehensive and protected structure to hold assets for the benefit of your spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.
Your Backup Executor
Your Partner's Executor
Your Partner's Backup Executor
Yes, you should include all properties that you have either full or partial ownership of, whether in your own name, or in the name of a trust/company or superannuation fund. If there are any additional details you think we need to know, please write them in the ‘Other Information’ section at the end of the questionnaire. The legal team will review the information provided for each property to determine the appropriate protection strategy for it. If they need further details, they will contact you.
The following information is needed for each property: property address, name listed on title, amount of mortgage, name and address of lender, titling details such as lot, plan, volume, folio etc (titling details differ for each state and are listed separately below).
The titling requirements for each State are:
All of the details required can be found on a variety of documents such as contract for sale, certificate of title, title search, mortgage documents, or rates notices. Alternatively, in most States, the land titles office database allows you to look up most of your title details free of charge. We have prepared step-by-step guides for each state, which you can access by clicking on the links below. Please note, this is not available in Tasmania, Northern Territory or ACT.
Your Master Wealth Control documentation is effective worldwide, and any overseas properties you own can be protected. Further information can be found in the next section, where we will also collect the details of each overseas property.
If you hold property in Queensland that is owned by a trust or a superannuation fund, the caveat requires additional information about the ‘Trustee under Instrument’ number. If we do not provide this, they will reject your caveat and you will have to pay an addition fee (approx. $50). The quickest and easiest way to find this number is by doing a current title search, which can be done via this link.
Yes – our documents have world-wide coverage, and so any overseas property can be incorporated into your asset protection.
Every country has a different way of officially recording titling details for property purchases, and so we can’t give you a specific list of what is needed – common identifiers are lot, plan, volume, folio, county and so on. We recommend that you refer to a title search or contract for sale for the property to enable you to find the unique identifiers for that country. If you are not sure, you can email copy of your title search to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will confirm that the details you have entered are sufficient.
If you have full ownership and control of a foreign company, then any property that this company owns can also be protected. You will also need to give us details about the company, and you can do this in the “Other Information” section at the end of the questionnaire. Company requirements are different in each country, but the types of information we will need are: full name of company, identifying company number for that country, registered address for the company, the names of all authorised persons officially required to sign a contract on behalf of that company and the title of the office that they hold, and confirmation that you have full ownership and control of the company.
You need to provide the following information:
- Company: company name, ACN, registered office address, name of all directors, name of secretary, details of ownership of the shares. These details can be found on your ASIC annual return.
- Trust: full name of the trust and details of the trustees of the trust. If your trust has a corporate trustee, all of the details shown above under Company will be required. If it has individual trustees, we only need the name and residential address of each trustee (if other than yourself or your partner). These details can be found on the official Trust Deed.
- SMSF: full name of the superannuation fund and details of the trustees of the fund. If your fund has a corporate trustee, all of the details shown above under Company will be required. If it has individual trustees, we only need the name and residential address of each trustee (if other than yourself or your partner). These details can be found on your official superannuation fund documents.
All we need is their full name (including middle name) and their residential address.
While the current law remains in force, your superannuation is protected, however we recommend that you include your SMSF in your asset protection as an additional layer of protection. should the Government decide to change the law and pirate superannuation benefits in future, then you have a fund that you control that has no equity because all of its assets are mortgaged to the Vestey trust. To read further on this, click on this link.
We can only incorporate a company and its assets into your asset protection if you fully control it, which means you and/or your partner (or another person that is included in the umbrella of your asset protection with you) are the Director/Secretary and can officially sign on behalf of the company. If you don’t have full control, we can still protect your shares in the company. It is best to fill out all of the details in this section of the questionnaire for any company in which you own shares or hold the office of Director/Secretary, and our legal team will look the facts for each entity individually and determine the correct treatment for it.
Every additional person that you add into the umbrella of your asset protection can potentially weaken your own protection. It is akin to opening your vault to ‘contamination’ from others. Basically your Vestey Trust will protect you against an attack from any “outsider”. It will not protect you from an “internal” attack – in a nutshell, anyone you let inside your forcefield could be a threat to your protection – you are not protected from insiders. Further, an attack on anyone you let in (for example if they are sued or go bankrupt) also drags you into the firing line. For this reason I recommend that you keep your protection for just yourself and your spouse/life partner where possible, especially if the others that you wish to include are prone to taking risks in business or investments.
Yes, we can also protect the assets of any person included in your asset protection, including their properties and personal assets. You will have the opportunity to list them in the Personal Assets section following.
Yes, we can protect any foreign company that you own and control. Our questionnaire is specifically designed for Australian company information only, so please provide full details in the “Other Information” section at the end of the questionnaire. Company requirements are different in each country, but the types of information we will need are: full name of company, identifying company number for that country, registered address for the company, the names of all authorised persons officially required to sign a contract on behalf of that company and the title of the office that they hold, and confirmation that you have full ownership and control of the company.
You should include your items of personal property with an individual resale value of over $2,000 eg cars, electricals, furniture, collectibles, jewellery, as well as businesses and business assets and tools of trade and so on.
That’s ok – just describe your assets which as much precision and detail as possible.
Yes, we can also protect the assets of any person included in your asset protection, including their properties and personal assets. You will have the opportunity to list them below.
We recommend that you list every significant asset owned by a company, trust, sole trader business or partnership that you fully own and control. As a guide, include assets with a resale value over $5,000 – this may be items such as machinery, vehicles, photocopiers and office equipment etc.
If the partnership is between yourself and your partner who is also a included in your asset protection, then we can protect the partnership and its assets. If you or your partner only have a share in a partnership with others who are outside of your asset protection, then we can protect your share of the partnership. You will need to advise the name of the partnership, and your individual share in it. Enter the details in the section below.
Yes, your sole trader business can be protected, including any assets that are part of the business. You will need to advise the trading name of the business, the ABN (if applicable), and who owns the business. Enter the details in the section below.
No, you don’t need to list your bank accounts, as they are protected in a different manner. The commentary provided in your Master Wealth Control documents will give all the information you need to know about this.
No, in this case it is sufficient to simply list “Tools of Trade – [insert nature of your business]” eg Tools of Trade – Builder.
Although industry superannuation is currently protected by law, we recommend that you also include it as an asset to be protected. You will need to give us the name of your superannuation fund, your member/account number and let us know who the account belongs to - eg Telstra Superannuation Fund – Joe Bloggs – acct no. 145782. If you have a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) you should enter it in the “Other Parties” section, not here, as we require additional information.
You are welcome to list any asset that you own regardless of whether it is over $2,000 individually or not. The reason that we suggest the $2,000 as a benchmark is that we don’t want you to waste your time listing the entire contents of your house when it is unlikely that a bailiff would bother to seize any asset under this approximate value. They are looking for big ticket items that will sell quickly and with minimum fuss for the return they will get. Assets that they believe have a minimum resale value or that are difficult to sell will most likely be ignored.
If your shares are managed by a broker, instead of listing each shareholding, you can just provide the detail of your broker and your account name and account number (eg Commsec broking account in the name of Joe Bloggs, account no. ER15996). This will take into account the changing nature of your portfolio.
If your shares are not managed by a broker, just list the full name of the company and the total number of shares that you hold at this point in time. Assets do change over time, and periodically we recommend that you review your assets and update them as required. A Word version of the two relevant pages in your official documents is included so that you can make these changes and substitute the new assets for the old.
At the end of each row, simply click on the ‘+’ symbol to open an additional text box for the next asset.
It is possible to add your assets at a later date yourself once your Master Wealth Control documents have been sent out to you – we give you a Word version of the particular schedules that you need to update and then you simply substitute them for the old pages. We recommend however that you take the time now to complete a full listing of your assets as experience has shown that most people say they will do it ‘soon’ and don’t end doing it at all.
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