Media Page

Recent media releases:

March 2016
SMSFs: Why are trusts deeds still so important?  - Chris Hocking Strategies
Deeds are uber agreements; obligations on steroids; solemn promises carrying the full weight of moral and legal enforcement..

Dishonest Executor Wins Big in absence of a Binding Death Benefit Nomination - Chris Hocking Strategies
When thinking about estate planning for your super death benefits, Brian Hor - SpecialCounsel, Superannuation & Estate Planning with Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers stresses that it is absolutely crucial to put into place a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination to provide certainty regarding how your death benefits will be paid – especially where there is any potential for a conflict of interest to arise between your intended beneficiaries.
 
Wife who murdered husband can’t claim on estate - Chris Hocking Strategies
In the recent case of Edward v State Trustees Limited [2016] VSCA 28 a wife who killed her husband in self-defence was not allowed to receive her husband’s estate under his will. 
 
Battle of the giants: binding death benefit nomination vs reversionary pension - Chris Hocking Strategies
Binding death benefit nominations and reversionary pensions are two means available to members of an SMSF to select who is to receive their death benefit. But what happens if a member uses both but they clash?
 
Battle of the giants: binding death benefit nomination vs reversionary pension - Professional Planner
Binding death benefit nominations and reversionary pensions are two means available to members of an SMSF to select who is to receive their death benefit. But what happens if a member uses both but they clash? 
 
Townsends Lawyers now stamps NSW & VIC documents in-house - Chris Hocking Strategies
Townsends Lawyers can now stamp family, discretionary and unit trust deeds established in New South Wales and Victoria, along with a number of other eligible documents, on a complimentary basis when the documents or transaction are ordered through the firm. All you need to pay is the duty.
 
Clear Instructions Vital to Avoid Estate Planning Disputes - RiskInfo EMagazine  
When thinking about estate planning for your super death benefits, it is absolutely crucial to put into place a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN) to provide certainty regarding how your death benefits will be paid. This become particularly important where there is any potential for a conflict of interest to arise between your intended beneficiaries. 
 
Death benefit pensions: Recent ruling undermines cashing restrictions - MorningStar 
One would have thought that issues relating to self-managed super fund (SMSF) pensions are relatively well settled. However, two private binding rulings have been recently issued which have upset the neighbourhood.
 
LRBA confidence returns - SMS Magazine
After a period of uncertainty surrounding limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBA), both SMSF advisers and trustees had moved on and continued to use the structure in their funds, according to an industry lawyer. 
 
Protect your SMSF from these three risks - Financial Review
If you want to play, you gotta pay. Three ways to protect your super and how much they cost.
 
The other PBR: tax-free transition-to-retirement pension payments - MorningStar 
The banana sundae of a transition-to-retirement pension is to have the earnings of the superannuation interest supporting the pension to be tax-free and to have the pension payments themselves tax-free as well. 
 
Wife who murdered husband can’t claim on estate - Adviser Voice
The ATO has found a significant proportion of SMSF trustees have yet to prepare for situations such as incapacity and has urged trustees and their practitioners to consider their planning options to avoid “messy” disputes.    
 
February 2016
Townsends Lawyers are advising the SMSF sector to be very wary of digitally signing trust deeds - Chris Hocking Strategies
Peter Townsend is recommending that SMSF trust deeds signed electronically in the eastern states are revisited and signed with a wet signature on an actual deed document as required by law.
 

November 2015
Looking through the LRBA window - Money Management
With the look through tax treatment for LRBAs now in effect, superannuation funds will now be treated as the asset owner for income tax and capital gains purposes, Michael HaLLinan writes. 
 
Cost of ASIC chairman's international travel revealed - Money Management
Australia's corporate regulator's chairman and staff spent more than $120,000 traveling to international events at the taxpayer's expense in the 12 months to June. 
 
At Payne's to treat tax losses - Self Managed Super
The treatment of carried-forward losses in an SMSF has been clarified by a recent court decision, writes Michael Hallinan.
 
 
October 2015
 
The ATO has effectively given SMSFs with non-commercial LRBAs a period of grace to ether restructure the terms of the arrangement so that they are on commercial terms or to wind up the arrangement.  The period of grace ends on 30 June 2016.  It seems the ATO is adopting a “we will not ask” and “you do not have to tell us” attitude until 30 June 2016.  However, if a non-commercial LRBA is on foot after 30 June 2016 the ATO will be asking and SMSF trustees will have to be telling.   
 
Sleeper issues of Murray Review are the proposal for comprehensive income retirement products (CIPR) and the rationalisation of legacy investment products. - Chris Hocking Strategies 
While the focus of the Government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry (Murray Review) has been the decision to continue limited recourse borrowing, there are, from a superannuation perspective, two sleeper issues and one known unknown. 
 
The constant demand by SMSF trustees for lower administration costs and the shortcuts used by their advisers to achieve this can have significant tax consequences, including on pension entitlements, an industry law firm has warned. 
 
Court declines to make super splitting order – as split was to a third party Stant’s case [2015] FamCA 734 - Chris Hocking Strategies
Can the Super Splitting provisions of the Family Law Act be used to split a husband’s super interest with a third party?
 
“Whatever real tax “loopholes” that previously might have existed in relation to the use of family trusts are well and truly gone” says Brian Hor from Townsends  
 
Life interest trusts provide modern solution - SMS Magazine
Advisers preferred to use life interest trusts over traditional life estate structures as they were free of several complexities. 
 
Court confirms super splitting can’t involve third party - SMS Magazine
A recent decision handed down by the Family Court of Australia has confirmed superannuation assets cannot be split for the benefit of a third party.
 
Calls for full CGT on family trusts misguided - Money Management
Calls for family trusts to pay full capital gains tax (CGT) were off the mark as any real tax loopholes that previously existed were now redundant, a superannuation lawyer said.
 
Family trusts shouldn’t pay full CGT - Super Review
Calls for family trusts to pay full capital gains tax are unjustified as family trusts are only "look through" structures from a tax point, a superannuation lawyer said.
 

September 2015
 
ATO reaffirms Ryan’s Case* in Private Binding Rule
*A personal services business operating via a trust can pay superannuation contributions for a related employee which are in excess of the market value of the services provided by the related employee
 
How discriminatory can a BDBN be? - SMS Magazine
Binding death benefit nominations are made to ensure a member's superannuation benefits are distributed to the right people.  Julie Hartley looks at just how tailored this document can be.
 
Who gets my super when I die?
For many people it might come as a surprise to learn that the most important estate planning tool for dealing with the payment of their interest in a superannuation fund is not a will. Rather, the most important tool for this purpose is a Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN).
 
 
August 2015
 
New ATO ruling on paying pension to non-resident member - Chris Hocking Strategies
Does the fact that an Australian superannuation fund pays a pension to a non-resident member jeopardise the fund’s residency status? 
 
Who Gets My Super When I Die? - Chris Hocking Strategies
For many people it might come as a surprise to learn that the most important estate planning tool for dealing with the payment of their interest in a superannuation fund is not a will. Rather, the most important tool for this purpose is a Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN). 
 
 
July 2015
 
Are $10m SMSFs a thing of the past? - Financial Review
Fancy a $10 million self-managed super fund (SMSF)? Your chances of getting there are slim, with changes to law making it near-impossible for DIY savers to reach those lofty heights, experts say.  
 
Succession planning and super – not so simple anymore - Switzer Super Report
There are more than 1 million small businesses in Australia and all of them will have issues about succession. 
 
7 Reasons Why ASIC’s $200,000 minimum for an SMSF is not in the client’s best interest - Chris Hocking Strategies
While there are a number of useful features of ASIC’s new guidance papers on SMSF advice (Information Sheets 205 and 206) , comments relating to the preferred minimum for an SMSF of $200,000 are not among them.
 
 
June 2015
 
Lost trust deed – trustee is in their 80s - should it be a cause for panic? - Chris Hockings Strategies
Forgetfulness and ageing often seem to go hand in hand. Whether it’s full blown dementia that is getting acres of space in the media these days because the baby-boomer, damn them, have the temerity to live longer than their elders. 
 
What does a good estate plan contain? - Chris Hockings Strategies
Townsends Lawyers believe that good estate planning comes out of a good process and complete client understanding of their circumstances and their wealth transfer plans.
 
Treating All Children Equally – SMSFs, estates, avoiding claims - Chris Hockings Strategies 
Changes in composition + value of estate and/or super account balance over time can result in the children being treated unequally
 
Recent ATO Interpretative Decision is important for all SMSFs which are paying insured death benefits says Townsend’s Michael Hallinan - Chris Hockings Strategies 
The recent ATO ID 2015/17 – released 5 June 2015 – sets out the ATO view that a Super Trustee can choose to claim a deduction for the “future service portion” of the death benefit and this choice can be made after the member has died. 
 
Budget asset test changes may cause some pre 1 January 2015 account-based pensions to cease to be “grandfathered” under the “deductible amount” income test - Chris Hockings Strategies
One, possibly, unintended consequence of the 2015 Budget changes to the Centrelink assets test is that pre 1 January 2015 account-based pensions (which are currently excluded from the Centrelink “deeming” test and which therefore remain subject to the “deductible amount” test) will lose their “grandfathered” status if the member’s entitlement to the age pension is reduced to nil by operation of the changed assets test.   
 
Uber SMSFs ($10m plus in asset value) are very hard to build now - Chris Hockings Strategies 
The problem with capping the amount of super which can enjoy tax free earnings in “pension phase” is that it is a solution to a legacy problem which is not likely to have in the future.  
 
Legislation to apply look through tax treatment for LRBAs introduced - Chris Hockings Strategies 
Legislation to apply look through tax treatment for LRBAs has now been introduced:  Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No 2) Bill 2015.  
 
How to master estate planning - Financial Review
A cavalier approach to drawing up a will can mean legal and financial headaches for beneficiaries, writes Kate Cowling. 
 
 
May 2015
 
Practitioners warned on aged care ‘chaos’  - SMSF Adviser
Professional advisers who do not fully appreciate the potential for “chaos” in aged care risk losing their clients, according to one SMSF specialist. 
 
Estate planning is a “now” big thing  - Professional Planner
What do financial planners and accountants have to do to meet the challenge of revenue loss resulting from government regulation and technological replacement of their customary roles? 
 
Longevity now makes the only certainties death, taxes … and paperwork - Inside small business
With increasing longevity, the only certainties in life are death and taxes – and now, paperwork, according to a leading superannuation lawyer. Peter Townsend, principal, Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers, says Australians now need, more than ever, to decide on what legal powers are given to other people. The most urgent decisions include Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship, and a Living Will or Advanced Health Care Directive.
 
Growing Adviser Revenue – Estate Planning, the next now big thing - Chris Hockings Strategies
What do financial planners and accountants have to do to meet the challenge of revenue loss resulting from government regulation and technological replacement of their customary roles? 

April 2015

SMSF trustees - This is the Tax Office calling - Peter Townsend
You have your own SMSF and you’re therefore a trustee of the fund.  The phone rings late one afternoon. You answer the phone. It’s the ATO wanting to discuss a recent breach of superannuation law by your fund.  What to do next? 
 
March 2015
 
Directors are liable if their company fails to pay employee super

The director penalty regime was extended to make directors personally liable for their company's unpaid superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) and pay as you go (PAYG) withholding amounts.

December 2014

Sole purpose test and dealing at arms-length go hand in hand  - Chris Hocking Strategies
Trustees were reminded earlier this month of the potentially heavy financial consequences of not understanding their responsibilities as trustees or directors of a corporate trustee of an SMSF. 

 
Townsend: The Murray Report’s recommendation to ban SMSFs from borrowing is inconsistent and based on a flawed approach to the regulation of the superannuation - Chris Hocking Strategies
The Murray Report’s recommendation to ban SMSFs from borrowing is inconsistent and based on a flawed approach to the regulation of the superannuation system.
 
Targeted estate-planning strategies - Morningstar
As former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser once said: "Life wasn't meant to be easy." And life certainly isn't easy when it comes to many families.
 
Townsend slams FSI’s ‘bias’ stance on SMSF borrowing - SMSF Adviser
The FSI's recommendation to ban direct borrowing in SMSFs is based on an ‘inconsistent’ and ‘flawed approach’ to the regulation of super, says an industry lawyer.
 

November 2014

Early action is key to cutting out a beneficiary - Chris Hocking Strategies
Early action is the key if you want to cut out of your Will a family member or other eligible beneficiary, says a leading superannuation lawyer.

Super Central enhances fund set-up services - SMS Magazine
SMSF specialist document provider Super Central has made a bundle of its superannuation documents as well as access to the Macquarie Cash Management Account available to trustees when they establish their own retirement savings fund. 

ATO may ‘explicitly’ push SMSFs to corporate trustee structures - SMSF Adviser
Current evidence indicates the ATO is likely to actively encourage members of SMSFs to use a trustee structure through various incentives, one industry lawyer has suggested. 
 
 

October 2014

Townsend: Estate planning is not just for the wealthy - Chris Hocking Strategies
One of the reasons people give for not sorting out their estate planning is that they don’t think they have enough assets to warrant an estate plan.  Most people are dead wrong about that. 
 
 
September 2014
 
Estate Planning Service with a true adviser focus - Adviser Voice
Trustees must now pay attention to ownership details and their adviser can help guide them through the process with expert estate planning support.
 
 
August 2014
 
Townsends Business and Corporate Lawyers and SuperCentral have launched an estate planning service with a specific focus on advisers. 
 
Some parents are getting in early, buying rental property for teenage children for when they leave home.
 
Advisers must beware of deeming ramifications - SMS Magazine
Advisers must have specific questions at the front of their minds in relation to the changeover to the new pension rules where deeming could potentially hit clients’ entitlements, according to a specialist superannuation lawyer. 
 
When selling an accounting practice... - Accontants daily
As a solicitor, I have worked for over 15 years for one of Sydney’s most successful accountancy brokerage firms. During that time I learned a thing or two about how the sales of accountancy practices pan out and the types of issues that often arise.
 
 
June 2014
 
Urgency needed for 2014 in-specie transfers - SMS Magazine
SMSFs looking to make in-specie transfers before the end of the current financial year need to act now as these transactions generally take time to process, according to a specialist lawyer servicing the sector. 
 
June 30 deadline a tax-deduction super trap - Financial Review
Lawyer Michael Hallinan of DIY super administrator SuperCentral advises that...
 
BDBNs more than just form filling - SMS Magazine
A leading SMSF legal expert has implored advisers to consider the outcome of what a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) is being put in place to achieve rather than just looking at the exercise as a mere formality
 
When to start an SMSF - Smart Investor
As more and more Australians turn to do-it-yourself superannuation to fund their retirement, the debate about the ideal time to take the plunge has grown......
 
 
May 2014
 
“Free” SMSF products targeted in investigation - Wealth Professional
A recent ASIC investigation has revealed a danger that the new SMSF “speeding fines” could see trustees hit with heavy penalties for poor product choice if they are not careful.
 
Trustees need to assess SMSF product offers with greater scrutiny or risk incurring heavy fines under the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) new penalty regime, a specialist superannuation lawyer has said. 
 
 
April 2014
 
Lawyer outlines SMSF estate planning 'gaps' - SMSF Adviser
A financial services lawyer has said trustees are underprepared when it comes to SMSF estate planning, with “gaps” in their superannuation structure creating multiple risks.  
 
Wealth Protection Expert Joins Townsends Law - Chris Hockings Strategies
Townsends Lawyers have appointed senior superannuation, estate planning and tax lawyer Brian Hor as ‘Special Counsel – Superannuation & Estate Planning’.
 
The ATO’s new penalty powers will potentially rake in millions of dollars from the SMSF sector, according to Townsends Business & Corporate Lawyers. 
 
Lawyer warns of SMSF dangers
A Sydney business lawyer is warning mortgage brokers to be careful on behalf of clients who want to buy property through their self-managed super fund.
 
Taxman steps up penalties - Sydney Morning Herald
Trustees of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are going to have to be on their toes. From July 1, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be able to issue financial penalties on trustees of SMSFs who contravene superannuation laws.
 
 
March 2014
 
New LRBA ruling a cost saving for trustees - SMS Magazine
The proposed amendment to the limited recourse borrowing arrangement (LRBA) rules could end up saving some trustees money, according to an expert superannuation lawyer.
 
Accountants’ transition about cultural change - SMS Magazine
Cultural change away from a compliance focus is the key for accountants who want to successfully incorporate advisory services into their practices, according to a senior professional trainer. 
 
Delays can pay-off for baby boomers - Financial Review
A pre-June 30 super strategy often considered by those approaching retirement is contributing as much as you can before you stop work, especially if you are a baby boomer nearing age 65. 
 
When does Superstream apply to SMSFs? - Chris Hockings Strategies
The introduction of Superstream to employer contributions made to SMSFs will be staggered over two years. 
 
‘Speeding fines’ return for SMSF trustee breaches - Chris Hockings Strategies
Proposed powers are planned to come into effect on 1 July 2014
 
Potential changes to unwinding a super fund borrowing: Peter Townsend - Chris Hockings Strategies
While determination is not finalised, if implemented as proposed, likely to mean that the imperative to promptly transfer the title of the acquired asset from the Holding Trustee to the Fund Trustee is removed
 
Trustees must now pay attention to ownership details - Chris Hockings Strategies
The Big News is the increase in the “ordinary” concessional contribution cap from $25,000 to $30,000 and the flow on effect of this increase on the non-concessional contribution cap and the “bring forward” cap.
 
 
February 2014
 
Rich and famous people who died without wills - Money Saver HQ
MANY of the world's rich and famous could have done with some valuable planning lessons before their deaths. Here are a few who failed to leave a valid will.
 
Proposed super fund borrowing changes come “out of nowhere” - Wealth Professional
SMSF trustees could avoid dealing with a whole lot of red tape if sudden proposed changes to unwinding super fund borrowing are pushed through, but they must strategic.
 
Non-lodging to affect property borrowing - SMSF Adviser
The ATO’s recent decision to remove SMSFs that are behind in their lodgements from the Super Fund Lookup website will be a “black mark” for trustees looking to gear into property, according to one lawyer.
 
Non-lodging SMSFs declared non-persons - Money Management
The Australian Taxation Office will now treat a self-managed super fund (SMSF) that has two or more returns outstanding as a non-person, according to Super Central.
 
New super thresholds add extra $60k bang - Wealth Professional
An extra $60,000 in non-concessional contributions can be made if advisers and their clients wait until the 2014/15 year to trigger the ‘bring forward’ rule, following an ATO announcement.
 
ASIC hot on the SMSF trail - SMSF Adviser
While increased regulation is often seen as a blow to the SMSF sector, there’s another side to the story.
 
 
Longevity now makes the only certainties death, taxes … and paperwork - Chris Hockings Strategies
With increasing longevity, the only certainties in life are death and taxes – and now, paperwork, a leading superannuation lawyer says.