Companies and trusts


Companies and discretionary trusts are often used by families or family members, as vehicles for investment, tax planning, asset protection and income distribution to family members. Often these structures are set up by an accountant. As a result, property of substantial value may be owned by a company or held on trust, rather than being in the individual hands of parties to a marriage or de facto relationship. An important question is whether that property can be regarded as the property of one of the parties to the relationship and thus subject to a property order.

In essence, property owned by a third party (for example, a company or a trust) will not be treated as property of parties to a marriage or de facto relationship unless it can be established that one or both parties has legal control over the trustee or the company. If the requisite level of control can be demonstrated, the company or trust will be treated as property opening it up to division as part of a property settlement. 

The team of experts at Vic Rajah Family Lawyers can assist in identifying the property which will be considered for property settlement purposes.