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Trust Setup

For business owners in Australia, choosing the right legal structure is crucial for the protection, flexibility, and tax efficiency of their operations.


Among the various structuring options, setting up a trust offers distinct advantages that can significantly contribute to the long-term success and security of your business.

HelloLedger is committed to guiding you through the complexities of establishing a trust tailored to your specific business needs and objectives. Our approach ensures that every aspect of your trust setup is managed with precision and aligned with your strategic goals.

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Why Should You Use a Trust for Your Business in Australia?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, known as a trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. It is an excellent option for business owners who want to enhance their enterprise with several critical benefits:

Asset Protection

Trusts provide robust protection for your personal assets, isolating them from business risks and liabilities. This is crucial in safeguarding your wealth against legal claims or insolvency.

Tax Efficiency

With a trust, you can distribute income among beneficiaries in a way that could lower the overall tax burden compared to other business structures.

Estate Planning

Trusts are invaluable for seamless estate planning. They facilitate the efficient transfer of assets to beneficiaries, minimising the impact of taxes and legal hurdles.


Trusts offer considerable flexibility in how income and assets are distributed, allowing you to manage wealth and plan for future needs effectively


Unlike corporations, trusts can offer greater privacy as they typically do not require the public disclosure of financial details or beneficiary identities.

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When to Consider Setting up a Trust for Your Business?

Choosing the right time to establish a trust is key. Consider setting up a trust under the following circumstances.

Long-Term Business Succession Planning

If you plan to pass your business to future generations or key employees, a trust can ensure continuity and facilitate a smooth transition.

Asset Protection

For businesses facing high risks or potential liabilities, trusts are an excellent way to protect personal assets from business debts and legal claims.

Tax Optimisation

If maximising tax efficiency and managing income distribution among beneficiaries are priorities, a trust structure can be particularly beneficial.

Privacy Concerns

If your business expects considerable profits, utilising a company structure can help you take advantage of various corporate tax deductions and incentives.

Complex Ownership Structures

For businesses with intricate ownership arrangements or multiple stakeholders, a trust offers a flexible and efficient way to manage and distribute assets.

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Trust Setup FAQs

  • Can I be both the trustee and beneficiary of a trust for my business in Australia?

  • Yes, it is entirely possible to be both the trustee and a beneficiary of a trust in Australia. This arrangement allows you to maintain control over the trust's assets while still benefiting from the trust’s asset protection and potential tax advantages.

  • Can I change the beneficiaries of my business trust in Australia?

  • Yes, trusts typically allow for flexibility in changing beneficiaries, provided that such changes are in line with the trust deed and comply with relevant legal requirements. It's important to follow specified legal procedures and possibly review with a legal advisor to ensure compliance and validity of any changes made

  • What are the tax implications of operating a business through a trust in Australia?

  • Operating a business through a trust can have various tax implications, including different treatment of distributed and retained income, which can affect overall tax efficiency. It is crucial to consult with a professional accountant to navigate the specific tax rules applicable to your trust structure and ensure optimal tax outcomes.


  • Are there any restrictions on the types of businesses that can utilise a trust structure in Australia?

  • Most types of businesses can benefit from using a trust structure in Australia. However, businesses in regulated industries, such as financial services or healthcare, may face specific constraints or additional compliance requirements. Legal consultation is recommended to address and navigate industry-specific regulations.

  • How can setting up a trust for my business affect my personal liability in Australia?

  • Setting up a trust can significantly reduce personal liability by legally separating your personal assets from the business’s financial and legal obligations. This separation helps protect personal assets in the event of business debts or legal actions, thereby limiting your exposure to personal liability.

  • What types of trusts are commonly used for businesses in Australia?

  • In Australia, the most commonly used business trusts include Discretionary Trusts (often called Family Trusts), which allow the trustee to decide how profits are distributed among beneficiaries, and Unit Trusts, where benefits are distributed according to units owned. Each type offers different benefits for control, tax planning, and liability considerations.

  • How do I set up a trust for my business?

  • Setting up a trust involves several steps: choosing the right type of trust, appointing trustees, defining beneficiaries, drafting a trust deed with the help of a legal professional, and registering the trust, if necessary, with the relevant authorities, including obtaining a Tax File Number (TFN) and an Australian Business Number (ABN) for the trust.

  • Can a trust borrow money or own property?

  • Yes, trusts can borrow money and own property. The trust itself can hold assets and liabilities as a separate legal entity. However, the trust must comply with the terms set out in the trust deed, and borrowing arrangements may require guarantees from the trustees.

  • What are the responsibilities of a trustee in managing a trust?

  • Trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Responsibilities include managing the trust’s assets prudently, ensuring accurate record-keeping and compliance with the trust deed and legal regulations, and preparing and lodging required tax returns and financial statements

  • What are the differences between having a corporate trustee versus an individual trustee, and which should I consider for my trust?

  • Choosing between a corporate trustee and individual trustees depends on your specific needs for governance, liability, and succession planning. A corporate trustee (a company acting as the trustee) provides benefits like limited liability, continuity regardless of changes in directors or shareholders, and enhanced credibility with financial institutions. However, it can be more costly due to setup and annual fees. In contrast, individual trustees are typically less costly to establish and maintain, but they can complicate succession as new trustees must be appointed if an individual trustee dies or is incapacitated. Additionally, individual trustees may be personally liable for the trust’s obligations, unlike a corporate trustee where liability is generally limited to the company.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a trust to operate a business?

  • Advantages of using a trust include asset protection, tax flexibility, and potential succession planning benefits. However, disadvantages can include the complexity of setup and ongoing management, costs associated with professional fees, and reduced control over assets that trustees might experience compared to direct ownership.

  • What is the role of the appointor in a trust, and why is it important?

  • The appointor is often considered the most powerful individual in a trust structure, as they hold the authority to appoint or remove trustees. This role is critical because the appointor can influence the management of the trust's assets and the distribution of its income by changing the trustees if necessary. Their role ensures that the trustees are acting in accordance with the trust deed and the best interests of the beneficiaries. Understanding the responsibilities and powers of the appointor is essential for anyone involved in establishing or managing a trust.

  • What is a trust deed and what does it include?

  • A trust deed is a legal document that outlines the framework for establishing and operating a trust. It details the trust’s objectives, identifies the beneficiaries, specifies the duties and powers of the trustees, and sets out the rules for managing the trust’s assets and distributing its income. The trust deed is essential for defining how the trust is to be administered and ensuring that all parties understand their roles and the terms under which the trust operates. It must be carefully drafted to comply with legal requirements and to reflect accurately the intentions of the person setting up the trust.

  • How much does it cost to setup a Trust?

  • The cost of setting up a trust can vary widely depending on the complexity of the trust structure and the professional fees associated with drafting the trust deed. Generally, having an individual trustee is less costly upfront compared to a corporate trustee because it avoids the additional expenses of forming and maintaining a company to act as the trustee. However, while individual trustees might be less expensive initially, a corporate trustee can offer long-term benefits such as simplified succession and limited personal liability, which might justify the higher initial setup and ongoing administrative costs. For detailed information and a tailored quote, please contact our office directly.

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Contact us at HelloLedger and let’s embark on the journey to financial clarity and success together.

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