What taxes are we talking about?

We do not have death duties on our property in Australia. However there are a number of taxes that do come into play, that with careful planning and Will drafting, can be avoided or minimised. These include the 17% flat tax on certain super death benefits (over 30% for the insurance component), capital gains tax implications of gifting certain assets to certain people, and generally providing favourably taxed vehicles to beneficiaries who receive an inheritance from you.

Estate planning strategies to minimise tax

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. While this may be true, the good news is that there are a number of estate tax strategies to ensure that your assets can pass to your intended beneficiaries in a tax effective manner.

These estate tax planning strategies include:

  • Testamentary Trusts in your Will to provide tax planning flexibility for your beneficiaries. This effectively allows the trust to income split, which can result in significant tax savings each year, particularly for minors (for example, children or grandchildren) who under Australian law enjoy much greater tax concessions in the Testamentary Trust than in a Family Trust structure.
  • Considering the tax implications of your superannuation passing to non-dependent beneficiaries. Non-dependent beneficiaries pay 17% flat on the concessional component of the super death benefit and more on the insurance component. Certain beneficiaries are however tax exempt. We can talk you through alternative strategies that might have a significantly better tax outcome.
  • When certain assets are being left to foreign residents or non-deductible gift recipients, this can trigger capital gains tax. Some assets may be better to be sold, or not sold, by the estate. Again, we can talk you through the implications and suggest alternative gifting strategies in your Will that are available to you.

As you can see, there are a number of estate tax strategies available to reduce the amount of tax your beneficiaries and estate will pay.

Talk to the experts

One of our expert estate tax lawyers at Estate First can provide you with specialist advice on these strategies and more to ensure that your wishes are carried out in a way that are as tax effective as possible, meaning the inheritance you leave is not eroded by a significant tax bill.

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