From the Principal’s Desk – Fabbro Talks (June 2023)
Welcome to the June edition of our Newsletter.
We are fast approaching the end of financial year and many clients are keen to finalise changes to their business operating structures prior to 30 June. If you haven’t already, June is a good time of year to touch base with your accountant and have a brief ‘health check ’. Discussing what has happened in the preceding eleven months in your business or with your investment activities, considering if there are any planning opportunities you can or should avail yourself of, and checking that your quarterly tax obligations reflect the income you’ve earned in this financial year can put you ahead of the game.
Despite the Federal Budget, superannuation still looks like a good environment to place savings and build wealth. Considering with your accountant and/or financial planner where your superannuation contribution levels have been for the year and whether recent changes to the taxation of superannuation are an issue for you, is also a worthwhile exercise.
The generous asset write-off provisions come to an end this 30 June, so considering whether there are any capital items you might wish to use in your business activities that might qualify for an immediate write-off is a useful exercise also. Even thought taking delivery of some equipment prior to 30 June may be difficult, considering whether the expense for the equipment is incurred in this financial year such that you remain eligible for a write-off is worth discussing.
Changes are afoot on the wills and estate front with a new Bill to change the legislation around wills and estates passing through the upper house of the South Australian Parliament recently.
The Succession Bill will make significant changes to the range of people who can make claims against an estate. This expansion is a double-edged sword and I fear there will be more spurious claims initiated as opposed to meritorious claims as a result of this expansion. One of the more significant changes instituted by the legislation, if it passes the lower house unchanged, is to allow step-children to bring claims against an estate for further provision. This will no doubt cause a significant spike in litigation, undoubtedly for which lawyers will get the blame!!
The most material change is that step-children of a deceased person whose estate was “substantially contributed to” by the step-child’s parent can bring a claim. The changes around ‘family provision’ claims are significant in that there are a number of prescriptive provisions to guide the Court in relation to claimants. These include the ‘character and conduct’ of a claimant; this will inevitably lead to some fairly nasty accusations being levelled at people during any proceedings on the issue.
The changes are in some way well meaning, as there is sometimes ‘unfairness’ in the disposition of an estate by a surviving partner who ignores the children of a pre-deceased spouse whilst at the same time having received the bulk of that deceased partner’s assets. Blended families will need to think carefully about how their wills are constructed and how children from previous relationships are treated in their respective wills.
Grandchildren of deceased children are also specifically addressed in a way that I suspect will cause an increase in estate disputes.
Considering your estate plan is becoming increasingly important and this will become especially so where you are in a second relationship with children from a previous relationship.
The only thing certain about the future is uncertainty!
In any event, I trust you all continue to enjoy a healthy and successful month of June and as always, if you are in need of any assistance in matters legal … we’re here to help!
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