Navigating Succession and Asset Protection: A Guide to Planning Structures

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In the realm of financial planning, the choices you make today can severely impact your future and that of your loved ones. One critical aspect often overlooked is the selection of the right succession, asset protection, tax, and estate planning structures. Here, we'll take you through the various options available and their benefits and drawbacks.

1. Individual Ownership

At first glance, owning assets individually may seem straightforward, providing complete control over your holdings. However, this simplicity comes at a cost. While you maintain ultimate control, you're also subject to higher taxation, administrative burdens, and increased vulnerability to creditors and legal disputes.


  • Simplicity and complete control over assets
  • Capital gains tax reduction of 50% for assets held over 12 months
  • Lower initial administrative costs


  • High administrative burden
  • Income taxed at marginal rates
  • Limited asset protection and vulnerability to creditors
  • Family Court implications in case of divorce

2. Discretionary Trusts

Discretionary trusts have long been favoured for their tax efficiency and asset protection benefits. However, recent government scrutiny has prompted caution among investors.


  • Trustee control allows for income and capital distribution flexibility
  • Tax minimisation through income splitting
  • Asset protection against creditors and legal disputes
  • Effective in divorce proceedings, historically shielding assets from the Family Court


  • Complex administration and accounting requirements
  • Government scrutiny leading to potential regulatory changes
  • Limited tax advantages for distributions to minor children
  • Assets subject to social security means testing

3. Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs)

SMSFs offer a unique blend of tax benefits and flexibility akin to family trusts, with a focus on retirement planning and multi-generational wealth management.


  • Family-focused, multi-generational wealth management
  • Control shared among family members
  • Diverse investment options
  • Assets protected from creditors
  • Favourable treatment under social security laws


  • Stringent compliance requirements under SIS laws
  • Costs associated with professional advice and compliance
  • Limited access to funds until retirement or death
  • Assets subject to division in divorce proceedings

Choosing the Right Succession Path

Each planning structure offers distinct advantages and considerations. While individual ownership provides simplicity, trusts, and SMSFs offer enhanced asset protection and tax efficiency. Understanding the nuances of each option is crucial for securing your financial future and protecting your assets for generations to come.

Contact our friendly Experts today for more advice.