Business structure matters
A sole trader is an individual who is personally liable for the business. This is the most cost effective and simple structure. However, it does not easily accommodate for future growth, allow for flexibility, protect personal assets, or provide the tax benefits of other structures.
A partnership is two or more individuals or entities conducting a business together. Although a partnership offers more flexibility than a sole trader structure, the partners are still personally liable for the business. The extent of the liability depends on whether the partnership is a general partnership, a limited partnership, or an incorporated limited partnership. A partnership can also be a partnership of companies, discussed below.
We advise clients on the risks and benefits of the sole trader and partnership structures.
A trust is a business structure where the trustee holds property or income for the benefit of its beneficiaries. Trusts are an appealing structure for the purposes of asset protection, tax minimisation, and reduction of individual risks. The trustee of a trust, either an individual or an entity, is responsible for managing the trust as well as distributing its income and capital to the beneficiaries. If the trust is discretionary, the trustee will have discretion to decide how to distribute the income and capital. We advise clients on trusts.
A company is a separate legal entity. A company in its own legal capacity has the same rights as a natural person, meaning that the directors and shareholders are not liable for the company’s debts and liabilities. A company is regulated by the Corporations Act 2001 as well as a constitution or replaceable rules (if any). The legal relationship between its shareholders is governed by a shareholders agreement. We advise clients on companies.
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“In the absence of clear and satisfactory proof, the court cannot be satisfied that the deceased knew and approved of the contents of the Will.” – Judge McMillan, 17 May 2021