We've made the point in previous issues of Acis All Areas that risk in our industry comes in many guises and, at worst, its realisation may threaten the very existence of your business.
We remain concerned that practitioners are unaware of potentially adverse outcomes, simply because they are not identifying inherent risks in some of the most basic transactions they undertake.
Understanding that bridging the gap between awareness and action is critical to mitigating against legal, financial and reputational damage, we have developed a Discretionary Trust Checklist.
This is a diagnostic tool for you to assess the health of the trusts you manage, and identify risks and knowledge gaps that might indicate the need to seek assistance. It also highlights the many advantages of keeping your trust deeds up-to-date and standardised.
The checklist has been developed in conjunction with our lawyers, taking into account the market experience we've built up over some 20 years observing the ways in which advisers structure and use trusts. The questions on the checklist are drawn from real situations we have encountered during this time.
Of course, your clients are ultimately only interested in their tax bills, making it difficult to recover from nasty surprises due to an oversight once those bills are paid. We're fairly sure your clients will not be very forgiving of a failure to read and review their deed.
Carrying out a health check regularly helps to avoid that outcome, and enables you to amend trust deeds prior to the impact of an oversight becoming apparent.
We recommend running health checks for each of your trusts annually, with your tax papers, and definitely when taking on a new client who utilises trusts.
When we talk about the importance of risk management and mitigation, we've seen where it can go wrong. By screening for problems ahead of time, you are making the leap from awareness to action.
We value your feedback and suggestions. Please let us know if you would like to see anything added or amended when using the checklist.
A full copy of the checklist is available here.
Watch this space for our new Unit Checklist, which is coming soon.
For more information, please contact Stephen Harvey on 1800 773 477.