This week, property owners are receiving the Annual Land Valuation Notice from the State Valuation Service.
Many people won't pay much attention to the Notice as it's only a valuation of property you own. The Notice doesn't require you to pay any money.
The problem is that the valuations are used to calculate the Land Tax that you will pay in October. And if the valuations are unreasonably high, you have to take action now. Any objection has to be lodged by 8 May 2018.
It's worth taking this issue seriously. One government agency is determining the value of your property so that another government agency can send you a bill based solely on their own assessment.
Earlier this week, clients sent me a Land Tax Assessment Notice for $18,000. Their family trust owns an impressive house, which they rent out.
They intend to move into the house as the family home. Bearing in mind that land tax is an annual charge, which usually increases each year - they wanted to know whether the land tax could be avoided.
Today's article provides some good news, as it explains the circumstances where Land Tax won't be payable on a family home owned by your family trust. You can enjoy the asset protection benefits of a Family Trust without paying the ever-increasing burden of annual land tax payments.
Most people own their home in their personal names & enjoy these financial benefits: ◦lower (or no) Transfer Duty ◦no Land Tax ◦no Capital Gains Tax
However, asset protection is becoming more important to many people, and they avoid owning assets in their personal names. The problem with owning your home in your family trust is that you lose these 3 major financial benefits.
Defective Goods & Unfair Contracts
As we are approaching the peak season for consumer spending, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has recently been promoting awareness of your legal rights when dealing with retailers.
Today's article brings to your attention some of these public statements made by the ACCC which you need to keep in mind when making a purchase.
Moving Home: Same-day Settlements.
When you decide to move your home from your current address to a new premises, it's common to try and sell your existing home, and buy the new home at the same time - and to settle the 2 Contracts on the same day
You may have successfully bought and sold on the same day before - and if it all went smoothly, you'd think it's common-place and the normal thing to do.
We've been waiting for 25 years, but it appears that the Queensland government may finally be about to improve the embarrassingly poor quality of Contracts for the sale of real estate.
The Commercial and Property Law Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology is a specialist network of researchers with a vision of reforming legal and regulatory frameworks in the commercial and property law sector. The public can make submissions regarding their report up to 10 November 2017.
The Current Situation
The current process requires a Buyer to sign a Contract without the Seller disclosing the most fundamental of information which would directly impact upon whether (i) the Buyer would want to buy the property, and, (ii) at what price the Buyer would be prepared to pay for the property.
Asset Protection: But Who From? One afternoon, Gary was driving home from work. As he approached his house, he noticed a pile of material on the footpath outside his property. The sort of scene you see after a flood, when all your water damaged furniture is dragged onto the footpath ready to be transported to the local tip!
Wills & Estates
When someone passes away, family members and interested parties may want to obtain a copy of the Will.
Often, someone will be told that they are not entitled to see the Will or receive a copy of the Will - even when they are legally entitled to the document.
Today's article clarifies who is entitled to be provided with a copy of a Will.
Last week I received a phone call from a young man who was very disturbed at being told that he would not be provided with a copy of his father's Will. His father had remarried, and the new wife was the Executor of his estate - after he died prematurely following an accident. His father had previously reassured his son that he was well looked after in his Will. I could understand his real concerns about the behavior of his step-mother. He's heard all the stories!
We have previously spoken about the substantial financial benefits available to families when planning their financial affairs.
Today's article provides more examples of the potential financial benefits which are easily available to families who implement simple estate planning arrangements.
When a person passes away, any capital gain they made in respect of an applicable asset that they owned is disregarded, UNLESS the asset passes to a beneficiary that is an "exempt entity", such as a foreign resident.
This means that, where an applicable asset passes directly to a foreign resident - as usually occurs in a 'simple' Will - Capital Gains Tax is triggered.
That Capital Gains Tax can be overcome by passing the applicable asset into a Testamentary Discretionary Trust created in your Will.
It's impossible to over emphasise the huge financial benefits to families of working together when planning their financial affairs.
Most families do not plan, and the Australian Taxation Office thanks you for your generosity in contributing more of your income than is necessary.
Today's article presents a fairly straightforward scenario. The figures do the talking. The cost of a Will could be recouped in 3 months - even though the benefits could continue for decades.
The benefits for families in executing a plan can reap enormous financial rewards - which brings greater happiness through reducing financial stress.
The primary advantage of having a sophisticated will is that they include optional testamentary trusts. Where a testamentary trust is used, income can be split amongst children and there are preferential tax rates for distributions to minors under testamentary trusts.
We constantly recommend being proactive about the management of our personal affairs. Taking action to prepare for the future.
The benefits of firstly - planning, and secondly - executing the plan, can reap enormous rewards for you and your family.
Today's article is about someone who planned for the breakdown of his marriage, but his execution of the plan was poor.
Helping your family get their legal affairs organised is not as easy as it sounds. For a start they have to want to do it!
When it comes to their Will, they don't deal with the consequences - and it isn't the most uplifting of topics!
The understandable media attention on a Supreme Court decision declaring that a Will made on a mobile phone was valid can be wrongly interpreted by some as meaning that they don't need to prepare a proper Will.
By failing to consider his father’s estate planning, this man had to give $150,000 of his dead father’s assets to his ex-wife!
This is a summary of a Family Court decision made in July 2017!
This relationship lasted a little over 8 years. However the parties didn't take action to finalise a property settlement until 5 years after separation. It is likely their focus was on providing a stable environment for their child - as they continued to share parenting.
3 1/2 years after separation, the husband received a large inheritance from his father's estate.