Trust funds are one of the most popular investment vehicles in Australia. Although many people believe that trust funds are only for the super-rich, even modestly well-to-do individuals may utilize trusts to protect their personal, family, and business assets. Establishing a trust fund, on the other hand, might be time-consuming.
Therefore, it’s critical to take things slowly and deliberately. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at Saxo markets for access to global markets.
What is a trust fund?
This is a legal arrangement where money or property is kept by one individual (the trustee) to benefit another person (the beneficiary).
There are various types of trust funds, but they all have one common purpose: to provide financial security for the beneficiaries.
The most common type of trust fund in Australia is a superannuation (or retirement) fund. Other trust funds include education funds, disability funds and estate planning trusts.
Why set up a trust?
It is a legal entity created to protect assets from a person’s estate. Once a settlor entrusts those assets to a trust, they no longer possess them and are effectively protected from creditors in bankruptcy cases or plaintiffs in claims.
There are several purposes for establishing a trust, including:
- Controlling the financial resources of individuals who are physically or intellectually unable to manage their own money.
- The system is designed to identify and limit spendthrifts from squandering their money.
- Managing and distributing pension/ retirement funds during the employee’s working life.
What are the hidden costs of setting up a trust account?
Several hidden costs are associated with setting up a trust account in Australia. These can include the cost of legal advice, setting up the account itself, and ongoing fees.
Cost of legal advice
Unless you are an expert in Australian trust law, you will likely need professional advice to set up your trust account correctly. This legal advice can be expensive, and it is essential to factor this cost into your overall budget for setting up a trust account.
The cost of setting up the account
While some free trust accounts are available, most banks and financial institutions will charge a fee for setting up a trust account. The bank or institution’s administrative fee will vary depending on the entity, but it should be considered when establishing a trust account.
Fees for managing a trust account may be high, and these costs might mount up over time. When establishing a trust account, keep in mind these costs, so you don’t pay too much.
Types of Australian Trusts
The following types of trusts are recognized in Australia:
Family (Discretionary) Trusts
A family trust is one of Australia’s most popular small company structures and is ideal for individuals who own private companies and other income-producing operations. Trustees have complete control over distributions and how often payments are made. Trusts are legal in all Australian states, and they’re simple to set up and manage.
Unit or Fixed Trusts
With a unit trust, the trustee generally does not have discretion over the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. These arrangements divide the trust’s assets into pieces, much like stock shares. The trust is divided into shares, each representing a particular number of units. The holder of each unit (known as a “unit holder”) owns that number of units, and at the end of each year, they receive a distribution from the trust based on the quantity held. Unit trusts are similar to corporations when several families are involved.
A public unit trust is one type of fixed deposit. In this investment, units are offered to the general public or listed on a stock market or controlled by 50 or more individuals.
A hybrid trust combines the features of both discretionary and unit trusts. The trustee has the authority to apportion funds among designated beneficiaries, much as with discretionaries. On the other hand, hybrid trusts are more complicated to set up and administer. The income and capital are distributed equally—as with unit trusts—based on the number of units each beneficiary owns.
Hybrid trusts are frequently used when substantial investment assets are at stake since they provide income tax and capital gains tax advantages.
Special Disability Trusts
The unique disability trust was created in September 2006 and allows family members and caregivers to establish a trust for another family member. The prospective beneficiary must be assessed as severely disabled per the requirements of the trust’s legislation before you can establish the trust.
Family members will be allowed to make private financial contributions for the future and present care of the beneficiary, allowing them to do so without public scrutiny. The trust’s beneficiary may use the money in a trust to assist with various expenses, including medical and housing costs.