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Regardless of amazing advances in technology and society, the risks and challenges that we face in business today have changed little over hundreds of years, it is only the tools which we now employ in our businesses that have changed. Concepts brought into existence hundreds of years ago still influence, if not determine, how a business should be structured.  The steps that you should take to upgrade your business were first taken by others hundreds of years ago.

A local barrister recently published a paper which is of assistance for anyone wanting to understand Family Provision Applications. Family Provision Applications come about as a result of section 41 of the Succession Act Queensland.  Although this article explains section 41, first, please read the section in full: "If any person (the deceased person) dies whether testate or intestate and in terms of the will or as a result of the intestacy adequate provision is not made from the estate for the proper maintenance and support of the deceased person’s spouse, child or dependant, the court may, in its discretion, on application by or on behalf of the said spouse, child or dependant, order that such provision as the court thinks fit shall be made out of the estate of the deceased person for such spouse, child or dependant." You should notice that the application may be made, if a deceased person does not adequately provide for a spouse child or dependant. There are two important aspects to a Family Provision Application:
  1. a failure to adequately provide and
  2. only a spouse, child or dependant is entitled to claim.

There are lots of opportunities for things to go wrong when drafting a lease but, in these three situations the consequences are particularly unpleasant.1. Failure to obtain a personal guarantee. Most leases are signed in the name of a company. If a tenant manages to get a lease in the name of a two dollar company and the requirement for a personal guarantee is forgotten then

The issue of testamentary capacity is an issue that we find, we must deal with more regularly, as the population and  our clients, reach a mature age.  In recent times we also find that children and dependants are far more likely to challenge a will, if there is some significant advantage in doing so. If the will of your parent is challenged what would happen?  In legal proceedings the court does not know the true factual situation, what matters is what you can prove.

A discretionary trust is a great way to separate different assets and protect these from business risk.  A discretionary trust works by separating "ownership" from "control".  By using a trust you may ensure that your personal assets are not put at risk.  Trusts are based on legal technicalities, so it is necessary to take care, simple technical failures in the management can undo the protection that a trust offers.  Too often we find that advisors do not take care to ensure that the arrangement actually works, or having set up the trust properly, over time the original intention of protecting the asset is forgotten.  Please read our story about Ralph to see how the most carefully constructed trust will not offer protection when improperly managed.

Tax and Accounting Myths By Peter Rule, Chartered Accountant, CPA, Specialist Superannuation Advisor and Auditor and holds a Masters of Commerce. In practice we are presented with numerous suggestions from clients, prospective clients, lawyers, financial planners etc. Some suggestions have merit and are investigated more fully but there are always a few topics which are regularly discussed and through this article we are attempting to clarify some of the myths that are perpetuated by well meaning friends, family and colleagues.