Estate Planning

I’ve often thought that ‘life planning’ would be a much more appropriate label than ‘estate planning’; estate planning is [and should be] so much more than simply planning for your death.

Of course, planning for how your assets should be dealt with upon your death by preparing a Will is an important component of the plan, but it only one component of what should be much broader life planning – and that planning should begin as early as possible.

Estate planning extends well beyond Wills, to incorporate Powers of Attorney, Superannuation, business ownership, trust structures, tax planning and broader family arrangements, all of which may have no effect until you are unwell or pass away, but should all be part of your planning whilst you are fit and well and enjoying life.

Your estate planning should be front of mind during many of life’s big moments, including the following:

  • PURCHASING A PROPERTY // planning should include how the property is owned, whether that is in your sole name, joint names with another person, or in the name of a company or trust. Getting this right will determine who can receive an interest in the property should you pass away, and can also avoid unnecessary stamp duty, tax and legal expenses in transferring the property down the track;
  • GETTING MARRIED OR SEPARATING FROM YOUR SPOUSE PARTNER // the joy of getting married, or the difficulty of a relationship breakdown, both have an impact on your estate planning. Prior to the event, you should be reviewing any existing wills, powers of attorney, superannuation arrangements, business ownership structures and the ownership of your own assets;
  • HAVING CHILDREN, OR YOUR CHILDREN BECOMING YOUNG ADULTS // your children are the centre of your world, and should also be the centre of your estate plan, whether that is to provide for the care and provision of your minor children, or to benefit and protect your adult children for the challenges in their own lives;
  • STARTING A BUSINESS, OR PLANNING YOUR TRANSITION OUT OF A BUSINESS // both extremely exciting times, and both requiring significant planning to ensure smooth operation of the business and treatment of key people within it.

For bonus points, great estate/life planning will combine elements of legal advice and documents, financial advice and accounting advice, which is addressed in a cohesive, open and organised manner.

 

For further information regarding estate planning, please contact us to receive a FREE copy of our ‘7 Steps to Estate Planning Guide’, and look out for future dates for our ‘Estate of Mind’ seminar series at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/estate-of-mind-tickets-66157682409

 

Stefan Manche – Senior Associate Solicitor

LLB, BComm

Estate of Mind

Estate of Mind… Just like your state of mind changes throughout each stage of life, so too should your Estate Plan.

Join us at our free seminar to learn from our expert panel about the estate planning matters which should be on your mind at every stage of life, including:

  • WILLS
  • POWERS OF ATTORNEY
  • ASSET PLANNING + PROTECTION
  • SUPERANNUATION NOMINATIONS
  • FAMILY AGREEMENTS
  • SIMPLE TAX PLANNING
  • FUNERAL PLANNING+ lots more
Whether you’ve just had children, your children are having children, you’re entering into a new business venture or there has been a relationship breakdown, there is something for everyone in this practical + enlightening session to get you in the right Estate of Mind to secure your family’s future.
Refreshments included + all children welcome!

Congratulations Katherine + Kayla

Earlier this month Canny Legal gained two more solicitors, Katherine Taylor and Kayla Kennedy.  The ladies said goodbye to their positions as Law Clerks and proudly changed their titles to Solicitors.  Katherine and Kayla were both admitted into the Supreme Court as Legal Practitioners and their admissions were proudly moved by our Canny Legal’s Stefan Manche.

Stefan has been mentoring both Katherine and Kayla since he started with Canny Legal in October 2018 and admitted that “it was a very proud moment.”

We are so proud of how hard both Katherine and Kayla have worked they are both so excited to be welcomed into the world of being full-time solicitors!


 

What To Consider When Making Specific Gifts in Your Will

What to consider when making specific gifts in your Will

When preparing your Will there are a number of things to consider such as who to appoint as your Executor, the beneficiaries of your estate and whether you wish to leave any specific gifts to a particular family member or friend.

A ‘gift’ can be anything from a particular item of jewellery to a sum of money.  Below it will be discussed the matters that should be considered if you want to leave a gift under your Will.

Firstly, you cannot gift an item if you do not own them.  This situation can arise where a property is held under a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund or under a Trust.  Another situation to mention is when an item is owned jointly with another person.  In this case, the surviving owner will obtain the asset upon your passing.  Consequently, if you gift an item that you do not own, or is jointly owned, will be ineffective under your Will.

Secondly, it is important to update your Will to ensure that if the asset you have gifted still exists when you pass away.  We understand that life happens and that items and assets are sold or given away during your lifetime.  Therefore it is important to update your Will if you know that you no longer hold an asset.  However, if you have made a gift that is no longer in your possession, the direction in your Will would be ineffective and result in the recipient not receiving the gift.

Finally, if you wish to gift a particular asset or item under your Will, it is important to consider these items are properly described.  It is recommended to provide adequate detail when describing your asset to ensure your wishes are consistent as under your Will.

If you wish to discuss your Will, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly Canny Legal team.

 

Kayla Kennedy

Law Clerk

 

 

 

Cars + Running Expenses

Did you know transport is the second largest expense after housing, equating to almost 14% of household budgets?  As this cost continues to climb, people are looking for more effective ways to reduce their daily bills.  A Novated Lease on a new or existing vehicle may be the solution, providing significant tax savings on the purchase price and running costs of a vehicle.

BE SURE TO CONSIDER ALL YOUR OPTIONS..

Have you consulted with Canny Group about a smarter way to purchase your next vehicle?  Or if there is a more financially sound way to run your existing one?

As transport costs continue to climb, people are looking for more effective ways to reduce their daily bills.  On average individuals spend over $17,000 annually on transportation, equating to almost 14% of household budgets^.

A Novated Lease on a new or existing vehicle may be a solution to ease transport bills.  It is a three-way agreement between you, the financier and your employer, consisting of a vehicle salary packaging arrangement to pay a large portion of the finance and running costs using your pre-tax income. No business-use is required.

There is no other product or method in Australia that allows tax savings on the personal-use of a vehicle.

And whilst business-use can be taken into account, because of the way the ATO have catered for this concession, unless significant, business-use likely won’t increase the saving any further.

Novated Lease savings come from four key areas:

  • PAYG TAX ON VEHICLE REPAYMENTS + RUNNING COSTS – Australian tax law allows you to salary package a significant portion of the total finance repayments and anything the ATO deems to be a necessary vehicle running cost.
  • GST ON FINANCE REPAYMENTS + RUNNING COSTS – In addition to saving on PAYG tax, you also have the ability to save the GST on the salary packaged portion of finance repayments and running costs (i.e. an additional 10%).
  • REDUCED VEHICLE PURCHASE PRICE – Leasing providers like FleetChoice have purchasing power, resulting in significant discounts on the price of a new vehicle.
  • NO GST ON VEHICLE PURCHASE PRICE – If you purchase the vehicle from a GST-registered vendor (e.g. A fleet provider, a new/used car dealership or a GST registered business), you have the opportunity to not pay GST on the purchase price of the vehicle.  The vendor is paid the full price for the vehicle however you will only finance the GST exclusive price of the vehicle.

Put simply, a Novated Lease allows you to drive the car you want and pay for it in a cost effective way.  It’s also common for families to take advantage of multiple Novated Leases as the lease holder does not need to be the main driver of the vehicle.

Whether you travel 0km or 50,000km per year, the total cost of ownership under a novated lease is more often than not, much cheaper than had you paid cash for the vehicle.

Significant discounts on new cars are accessible via a Fleet Provider because of the sheer volume of vehicles they purchase each year.  And whilst a used or demo vehicle could be put into a Novated Lease agreement, it’s a good idea to get a comparative lease quote on the brand new equivalent.  In some cases, a year old used vehicle or demo model may come in at the same lease cost, or more!

Alternatively, if you aren’t ready to say goodbye to your existing car, you can have a Novated Leasing Consultant run the numbers on packaging your existing vehicle and running costs into a Novated Lease agreement.

Whilst fleet pricing is just as good all year round, May-June can provide that little bit of extra saving.  With EOFY knocking down the door, if you find you are in the market for a car, it might be a good idea to enquire into a Novated Lease soon, so you have enough time to compare your vehicle options wisely.

Most people don’t realise the amount of money they spend on getting from A to B, including to and from work.  It’s the second largest expense after housing, so it’s not surprising that 48% of employees are stressed about the cost of transport^.

If this sounds like something you are interested in knowing more about, get in touch here or speak to a Novated Specialist on 1300 34 33 88.

Alternatively if you would like to understand more about the benefits Novated Leasing can bring to your business, at no cost, download a free copy of The Forgotten Employer Initiative whitepaper.

FleetChoice specialise in the SME market and we make it easy for the employer because ultimately they do have to agree to be a part of the employees Novated Leasing agreement.

 

By Ellen Jessop

After a long 10+ years in the industry, Ellen has a passionate focus and demonstrated history in Income Tax Law, Fringe Benefits and more specifically Novated Leasing.  Enjoyer of expensive things like Reformer Pilates and our good old friend interior design, she currently helps pay for her fabulous Art Deco apartment renovation and ongoing exercise classes using the savings she enjoys on leasing her car.

 

*(FY19; 32.5% for those on $37,001-$90,000 annual Income, 37% for those on $90,001-$180,000 annual income). ^Source: 2018 Employer Talent Investment index. A national study conducted by Mantis Research.

 

 

Financial Savvy

Mark it in your diaries ladies.. FRIDAY 31ST MAY + FRIDAY 21ST JUNE!

We are hosting a FREE seminar for women who would like some education on their finances + most importantly their financial security!

Our in-house Financial Planner, Samantha Butcher will be covering topics such as:

  • Women’s Money Challenges
  • Life Events + Women
  • Women’s Money Goals
  • The Need for Insurance
  • Tax Effective Ways to Contribute to Superannuation
  • Superannuation Beneficiaries
  • Superannuation Investment Options
  • Budgeting/Credit Card Debts
  • Wills + Powers of Attorney

Refreshments included + all children welcome!

LIMITED TICKETS VIA EVENTBRITE: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/financial-savvy-tickets-62243498981

PPSR – Personal Property Securities Register

Hidden interests…buyers beware!

Persons who obtain finance, more commonly commercial, car or personal finance, a security interest is generally registered on the Personal Property Securities Register known as the PPSR.  In doing so, they are securing their interests on the borrower’s personal property, such as cars, boats, plant and equipment, but does not include land, certain licences and a few other exceptions.  While registration of a security interest is not compulsory, a financier (secured party) may lose its priority to the personal property if it is in competition with other security interests.

If you are looking to purchase business, plant, equipment, car, boat, trailer or the like, a search of the person and/or company in ownership of the property is a must as part of your due diligence.  At settlement and transfer of the property you have a right to clear and free possession of that property from the seller.  If the personal property is under finance and the PPSR charge is not released when the property is transferred to you, the financier has a right, in the first instance, to repossess the property should the seller default on their loan arrangement.  It is important that any security interests are discharge prior to the property being transferred to you.

The PPSR is a single national register for personal property security interests and an online noticeboard of the particulars of a security interest for a particular individual or company.

Follow the link below to find out more information about the PPSR: https://www.ppsr.gov.au/ppsr-overview

If you wish to discuss your own secured property or that of a sellers please contact our legal team on 03 5278 95000 or email legal@cannygroup.com.au

 

Katherine Taylor – Law Clerk

BCriminology (History)

Casual Conversion Rights

Often our business clients want advice on putting into place employment arrangements that are flexible in the form of casual employment arrangements that may also suit employees.

At times the business may want confidence in the employee’s performance before considering a full time contract or the business may be approached by a casual employee who seeks to be converted to full time employment after working regular hours.

In September 2018 the Fair Work Commission (FWC) turned its attention to the question of “Casual Conversion” and the employer’s obligation to convert a causal employee working regular hours to full time or part time permanent employment.  From 1 October 2018 the FWC varied many awards to include this right.  Subject to certain prerequisites in many circumstances (that is 84 Modern Awards in addition some 28 Modern Awards that already contain the right) an employee has a right to request casual conversion to permanent employment.

The rights is subject to the casual employee working a pattern of hours over the previous 12 months that they could continue to perform on a full time or part time basis under the provision of the applicable award.

Subject to the formalities such as the request being in writing the employer may refuse only on reasonable grounds such as: the employee is not working regular hours; it is known or reasonably foreseeable the employee’s position will end; it is known that the employee’s hours will significantly reduce in the next 12 months.  Any such ground must be provided to the employee in writing in 21 days of the request being made.  If the employee disputes the alleged facts or claimed reasonable bases, the dispute will be heard at FWC.

Accordingly business are not required to offer employees under relevant Modern Awards permanent employment and the casual employee’s right depends on the facts determining regular employment over the preceding 12 months.  If casual employees prefer flexibility and 25% higher pay they will not exercise this right.

If you would like more information, or to find our how we can help – please get in touch with our team.

 

Richard Pinkstone – Principal Solicitor

BA, LLB

New Year Resolutions that Will Make A Real Difference To You + Loved Ones

Now that the dust has settled on what was hopefully a fun-and-family-filled Christmas and New Year period, it is a great time to reflect on those hastily-made New Year’s resolutions, and consider the difference it will make if you actually see them through.

Perhaps you resolved that in 2019 you will exercise more, quit smoking, drink less, or spend less time looking at your phone.

For others, you may have decided that 2019 is the year you get your personal, financial or business affairs in order. That may include getting those Wills and Powers of Attorney prepared (which you’ve been meaning to do for years), getting that accounting or financial advice you know will make a difference, or kick-starting that business which you’ve been daydreaming about.

Now these are New Year’s resolutions that will make a real difference to you, your loved-ones, your financial health and your current/future employees.

The most important part is getting the process started. The second-most important part is making sure that each of the elements of your plan complement, and do not contradict each other. For example, the superannuation or asset planning which you undertake with an accountant or financial advisor should be reflected in your will, your business plan should be supported by adequate funding arrangements and succession agreements, and your business tax planning and compliance must be complemented by appropriate employment agreements for your staff.

Ideally, this means you should be seeing a lawyer, accountant and financial adviser contemporaneously, and have them talk to each other to ensure each element is consistent. But who has the time and energy for that?

This is where Canny Group can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions. We have a team of experienced accountants, lawyers and financial advisers under one roof who are ready to listen, identify your needs or the needs of your business, and work cohesively to get your affairs in order, or your dream off the ground, for the best possible start to 2019.

 

Stefan Manche

Senior Associate Solicitor – LLB, BComm (Finance) 

We Bring Home an International Award

The PANALITIX conference is a premier annual even where accountants from across the globe converge to learn on accounting best practice from industry influencers, thought leaders, technology and solution providers as well as international outstanding accounting firms.

Directors, Amanda Wilkens and Krystine Canny-Smith and Manager Helen Yau travelled across the globe to San Diego in November to take part in the conference.  Not only bringing back extra suitcases and excess baggage, they also managed to bring home the Best in Team Development Annual Award for 2018 from 12 awards.

The ‘Best in Team Development’ category aims to reward those who strive to create an amiable work environment for their team, while consequently providing continuous team development and engagement, resulting in business growth.

http://atthepac.com/thepac-awards/

Estate Planning for Blended Families

The term ‘blended family’ generally describes a family where either one, or both, parties to the current relationship have a child or children from a previous relationship, and may also have children together in the current relationship.

As you can imagine, estate planning can be a challenging task, both for the client and the advisor.  When thinking about your future and providing for your family after you have passed away, the role of your solicitor is to understand your wishes and assist in ensuring that you provide adequately for your spouse, the children of your current and previous relationships and any other dependents.  A key focus is often structuring your estate plan to avoid potential claims against your estate or other issues, and balancing this with your wishes.  It will often also encapsulate elements of tax planning to ensure that the benefit received by your family is not diminished with unnecessary tax or other duties or liabilities.

Depending on your individual circumstances and wishes, your solicitor may suggest the use of one or more of the following strategies as part of your blended family estate plan:

  1. BINDING FINANCIAL AGREEMENT

A binding financial agreement is an agreement between you and your current spouse detailing how each other’s assets are to be divided between the family in the event that the relationship ends.  The agreement may include different outcomes depending on the length of the relationship.  If proper formalities are met (such as each party receiving independent legal advice as to the impact of the agreement on them personally) then the agreement will be legally binding.  The terms of any such agreement should then be mirrored in the wills of each party.

  1. WILL CONTENT

Your will is central to your estate plan, and there are a number of mechanisms which can be included in your will to ensure that your spouse, children from your current relationship and children from a previous relationship are all adequately provided for.  Some of the more common mechanisms are the creation of a testamentary discretionary trust within the will, or a portable life interest or right to reside in a particular property.  These are strategies which provide a benefit to a person or multiple persons in the estate assets (usually the spouse), without actually transferring control or ownership of the asset to them, so that upon a designated time or event, that benefit will end and the control or ownership then passes to another party (usually children from a previous relationship).

  1. MUTUAL WILL AGREEMENT

Less restrictive then creating a trust or life interest, a Mutual Will Agreement is an agreement signed at the same time a couple makes their wills, with purpose of the agreement is to impose obligations on the surviving spouse to not change their will, even if they subsequently re-partner.  This generally ensures that all children of the parties (from the current and previous relationships) are provided for in the manner that the parties agreed, and can be enforced by the children should the surviving spouse change their Will to the detriment of the children.

  1. USE OF EXISTING STRUCTURES AND ASSETS

If may also be possible to use existing structures (such as a Family Trust or Self-managed Superannuation Fund holding valuable assets) to provide a benefit to particular parties outside of the Will, by transferring control of those entities either during your lifetime, or upon your death.  Another option may be to transfer assets to a particular person during your lifetime, or to change the ownership of the asset (such as a property) such that it will transfer to the intended beneficiary automatically upon your death (ie. by survivorship).  The benefit of such planning is that assets held in trust structures, held jointly or gifted by you during your lifetime will generally fall outside of those which can be claimed against by challenging your will.  However, there will also be potential control, stamp duty and tax consequences to be considered and therefore individual advice is required to ensure the best outcome for your situation.

The best outcomes for blended families are obtained when your family circumstances and individual wishes are considered carefully and holistically, to allow the most suitable combination of the above tools, structures and planning to be implemented.

If you wish to discuss your family estate planning please do not hesitate to contact our friendly Canny Legal team.

 

Kayla Kennedy

Law Clerk

The History Behind Our New Home

Following on from our exciting announcement last month, we sat down with Cam Hamilton of the David Hamilton Property Group (DHPG) to find out the history behind our new home and why he’s so passionate about what he does.

 

WHAT DOES THE DHPG DO?

We specialise in the purchase and development of under utilised buildings in Geelong, from there we turn them into transformations of vibrant commercial office spaces.

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE FEDERAL MILLS?

The Federal Mill opened in 1915 and was built by the Commonwealth Government to manufacture woollen cloth for the Australian Army Uniforms for World War One.  In 1923 it was sold into private hands and continued to be a successful textile manufacturer under various ownership right up until the 1970s.

The David Hamilton Group purchased The Federal Mill in 2013 in a derelict state and began the restoration of the site.  The buildings themselves were in reasonable condition but the site was littered with rubbish and many of the original fittings had been removed.  To date we have completed about 75% of the renovation works and we house many new local businesses.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE FEDERAL MILLS THAT ATTRACTED THE DHPG?

The Federal Mills presented a fabulous challenge to restore the buildings to their former glory and create a new story in Geelong.  The design of The Federal Mill was quite innovative in that it was single story and designed to optimise natural light and ventilation, which was a departure from the multi story factories built in those dates.  Today those same design qualities attract new tenants from within Geelong and nationally to set up their tech-based businesses here.  It’s a perfect environment for the new breed of entrepreneurs and start-ups in Geelong.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

Purchasing a property with a clear vision of what we want to achieve, seeing that project through to completion and then leasing all the tenancies.  Sometimes the more successful projects can be the ‘ugly ducklings’ so I get a lot of satisfaction transforming them into great investments.

WHAT’S PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DHPG?

We are forging ahead with our vision for the Pivot City Innovation District which is our ‘big picture’ vision for the PowerStation, Federal Mills and the Glasshouse (old Pilkington’s building) as well as a number of renovations of four buildings in Newtown and the CBD.

 

 

Header Image: ‘Federal Woollen Mills’

Image courtesy of Geelong Heritage Centre