Business Structures and Asset Protection

Business Structuring and Asset Protection

We advise clients who are starting or buying a new business or restructuring their current business arrangements, as well as those that wish to sell or put a business succession plan in place.

The best business structure for your needs will depend upon many factors including:

  • the cost to set up and maintain the business;
  • the industry in which you operate;
  • the size of your business;
  • the need to raise finance;
  • tax splitting and minimisation opportunities; and
  • asset protection.

There are 4 main business structures used by small businesses, namely:

Sole trader – this most simple and inexpensive of business structure requires very little effort to establish. The business owner trades under their own name and/or with a registered business name. A sole trader controls and manages their own business and is personally responsible for all of the debts and liabilities of the business.

Partnership – where 2 or more people go into business together. A partnership may operate under the names of the individual partners or under a registered business name. A Partnership Agreement ought to be entered into setting out the partners’ rights and responsibilities and to reduce the likelihood of disputes and to deal with events such as the retirement or death of a partner.

Company – where people in business wish to have their business run as a separate legal entity such as for asset protection reasons. The shareholders own the company and the directors run it. The Corporations Act regulates companies and they can be more expensive to establish and maintain however the benefits of this type of structure often justify the greater expense.

Trusts – this is where a property or business is owned by a person or company (the trustee) and earns and distributes income on behalf of the beneficiaries. Discretionary or family trusts are the most common form of trust however, there are other types, such as hybrid and unit trusts. A trust often offers a greater level of asset protection especially if the trustee is a company that owns no assets.

We can assist you to:

  • Choose your business structure;
  • Register your business name;
  • Registering your domain name (to trade online); and
  • Lodge an application for a trademark (to legally protect your brand and stop others using it).

For more information in relation to starting your business or restructuring your business to protect your assets and minimise tax, please contact us to discuss or to arrange a confidential no-obligation appointment.

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