Do I need a will?

The answer to this question depends on individual circumstances, but is almost always yes!  If you have dependents, and you die ‘intestate’ (without a valid Will) then you risk your assets (including any superannuation or life insurance) not being available for your dependents when they will most likely need it most.

McKern works closely with various family lawyers who can ensure your Wills are valid and work effectively to ensure any superannuation and/or tax and succession planning issues have been considered and the assets of your estate are maximised and available for your chosen beneficiaries.

Talk to the McKern team about your will. 

What happens to my assets when I die?

If you have a valid Will, the Executor of your Will can administer your wishes by organising for your assets to be directed to your chosen beneficiaries. The Executor of your Will will also be responsible for ensuring that any outstanding taxation matters are resolved with the ATO, and the payment of any outstanding income tax from your Estate.

If you do not have a valid Will, your assets may not be distributed as you wish. The Intestacy Rules will govern how your assets are distributed. 

Protect your loved ones and your assets, talk to the team at McKern

How do I get a will?

McKern has various trusted specialist Family Lawyers who we work closely with to ensure your Will is drafted to best accommodate the distribution of your assets when the time comes. They also ensure the best outcomes for succession planning matters for your businesses and investments after you have passed. 

McKern understands both the sensitivities and importance of a Will. We would love to work with you to achieve the best outcome for you and your family. Contact Us for an appointment. 

How do I transfer a business to a family member?

There are many issues to consider for the transfer of a business.  One issue is Capital Gains Tax (CGT).  Even if you gift your business to a family member, for tax purposes, the business will be taken to have been sold for the market value - therefore, it may crystallise a CGT obligation.

Other considerations are Stamp Duty.  In Queensland, stamp duty is levied on the transfer of a Queensland business or business assets.

Have you considered the structure of the business going forward?  An effective business structure should consider your succession plans and best allow for the transfer of the control and ownership of your business within your family.

McKern are experienced in this area and are happy to discuss business transfers and succession planning with you. Contact McKern to arrange an appointment. 

How do I set up a SMSF?

We can assist in the setup of a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF). 

McKern Strategic is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Count Financial and is able to provide advice on the set up and operation of your SMSF.

Contact McKern to discuss SMSFs. 

What are the benefits of a SMSF?

The benefit of having a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) is that as the Trustee of your fund, you will be solely responsible for the management of the investments for your retirement. This provides an opportunity for you to invest your retirement savings into specific areas that you are interested in or where you see the most growth potential. 

It's important to note that there are various annual costs of maintaining a SMSF and for this reason the ATO suggest that as a guide, SMSFs would only be viable for Members with a combined balance of at least $200,000 to invest (ATO - Self Managed Super Funds). We have found that funds with less than this can usually achieve a better return by investing in a larger managed fund.

Want to know more about SMSFs? Contact McKern for an appointment. 

How does a testamentary trust work?

A Testamentary Trust is a Trust that is a result a person's Will.  It is when the Will directs specific assets of the Estate to the Testamentary Trust upon the death of a person. The Trustee (as nominated in the Will) of the Testamentary Trust is then responsible for the management of the assets of the Trust, on behalf of the specified Beneficiary/Beneficiaries. 

An additional benefit of a Testamentary Trust is when the beneficiaries of the Trust are minors. Any income distributions from the Testamentary Trust will be taxed as though they are adults, therefore there is access to lower tax rates than if the income was distributed to a minor from a regular investment Trust.

Testamentary Trusts need to be set up in a person's Will. McKern has various specialist Family Lawyers who we work closely with who can assist with Testamentary Trusts. Contact McKern for an appointment. 

Am I entitled to Centrelink pension?

There are asset and income tests that need to be satisfied in order to be eligible for a Centrelink pension once you have reached retirement. By structuring your investments carefully, we can assist you to ensure you will receive the most benefits you would be eligible for.

The tests and thresholds are updated from time to time and are very specific to your individual circumstances. Contact McKern to make an appointment to discuss the rules as they apply to you.

Am I eligible for a concession or health care card?

There are various types of Concession and Health Care Cards provided by the government, all providing different levels of benefits.  Your eligibility for the different types of cards will be dependent on the type of income support pension you are eligible for, your age, whether you have any dependents and various other requirements. Consideration can be given to these requirements when you are planning for your retirement to maximise any benefits you may be eligible for.

Preparing for retirement? Contact McKern, we would love to assist and advise you. 

How do my assets affect my pension?

The value of your assets will determine the level of pension you will be entitled to. Almost all assets you own, with exception to your family home, will be assessable for the test. Your superannuation balance, if you are of Pension age, will also be included. There are many other amounts that may be included, including gifts given over $10,000 in a single year. The Asset Test limits are updated three times each year; in January, March and September. 

Contact McKern to evaluate your eligibility for the Age Pension.

Can I move property into Super?

If you have a SMSF it is possible to transfer a property that you already own into your Super Fund. This does not include residential property. The rules extend only to Business Real Property or Commercial Property.  

Once you have retired, any assets that you have in Superannuation may be subject to substantial tax concessions, as all the earnings could be tax free, including any capital gains when the property is sold.  (This is subject to any future law changes, as proposed by the government in 2013).   

Transferring a property into super will also be subject to various issues, including annual Contribution Cap limits and income tax and CGT obligations outside super. We recommend contacting McKern to seek advice specific to your circumstances.

Can I use my Super to buy investments?

As the Trustee of your own SMSF you are managing the investments of your SMSF. Therefore, you can use the funds in your SMSF to purchase investments. You will need to be aware of the various rules and regulations that relate to SMSF Trustees, as the penalties for breaching the rules are very serious. One of the main rules to consider, (notwithstanding that there are many others) is that any investment you purchase needs to satisfy the sole purpose test.

The Sole Purpose of any SMSF is to provide for the Members in retirement, or for their beneficiaries if they die prior to retirement. You are strictly prohibited from directly or indirectly obtaining a financial benefit when making investment decisions (other than increasing the return to the SMSF) in order to satisfy the Sole Purpose Test.

We can provide detailed advice and information for Trustees of SMSFs, including advise on what they can and cannot do in managing their SMSFs. Contact McKern to make an appointment.