Discretionary Trusts

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Key areas

5 things you need to know about Discretionary Trusts

  1. Many business people, and individuals, set up discretionary trusts in order to protect assets and increase their tax efficiency. A discretionary trust gives discretion over what income is paid to what beneficiary.  A discretionary trust can be an effective structure for achieving both of these goals.
  2. Setting up a discretionary trust doesn’t need to be overly complicated. First you will need to select a trustee, then you’ll to have a trust deed drafted, the trust will need to be settled, the trustee(s) need to sign the deed, and then stamp duty must be paid (if applicable).
  3. Stamp duty is only payable in certain states; your lawyer or accountant will be able to advise you on whether stamp duty is payable in your circumstances.
  4. Once you’ve set up your trust you will have ongoing taxation and regulatory obligations. Make sure you work with a good accountant and lawyer to ensure you’re keeping up to date with those obligations.
  5. Finally, make sure you only set up a discretionary trust if it makes sense for your particular business. It may not make sense for you to set up a discretionary trust – seek advice before making any decisions.
Our Discretionary Trusts Lawyers
Ursula Hogben Key Focus:

Commercial Law, Contract Law, Information Technology And Online Law, Intellectual Property, Capital Raising Law


Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Baker & McKenzie, Hogben Group

James Douglas Key Focus:

Business And Commercial, Contracts, Dispute Resolution And Litigation


Norton Rose, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors, LOGOS Legal Services (London), DibbsBarker

Jill McKnight Key Focus:

Asset Leasing, Business Structuring/Start Ups, Employee Share Options Plans, Loans (Secured, Unsecured And Convertible), Online Law


Clayton Utz (Sydney), Herbert Smith Freehills (Sydney), Norton Rose Fulbright (London, Paris, Amsterdam and Hong Kong)

See all of our Discretionary Trusts lawyers See our full range of specialist lawyers