If you are going to buy property or a business or enter into business relationships with others you are going to need to make a decision about what is the best ownership structure. The best ownership structure is always going to depend on your personal circumstances. For some persons, a company will be appropriate. For others it will be a trust. In more complicated situations, there may be need for a partnership agreement, shareholders agreements or property sharing agreements. It may be appropriate to have a company with the shareholding owned by a trust. You should never assume that one model suits all situations.
Your personal relationship status, the risks of the business you are engaged in, the other parties involved in the transaction, tax implications will all have a bearing on what structure should be used.
Before committing to any financial proposition which requires an ownership structure you should obtain legal advice from both your lawyer and accountant. Lawyers who are experienced will be able to identify risks that you had not even considered. Ideally, your lawyer and accountant should be meeting with you together to discuss your objectives and risks so that the best structure can be set up in the first instance. Changing the structure after the ownership structure has been established is complicated and involves unnecessary costs. As with most things in life, the best and most economical advice is given before you commit to a course of action.
If you would like to discuss ownership structures with one of our specialist property lawyers contact Michael Hofmann-Body.