Asset Protection and Trusts

Tailored legal strategies to protect our clients’ wealth and assets, often including the creation of trusts, to achieve the specific goals and needs of each and every client.

How we can help

  • Family Business Advisory Services
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Wills and Testamentary Trusts


Considering that our clients have worked very hard to accumulate their wealth, it is only natural for them to be concerned about asset protection. Typically, we have found that our clients‘ financial affairs, at the direction of their financial advisors, are structured to produce the most effective taxation benefit without proper regard to other risks such as litigation, creditors, bankruptcy, divorce or death. Generally, we have found that our clients only have regard to such matters when they begin to loom large. Each of these issues is inevitably tied to asset protection and succession.

A critical element to asset protection that we recommend to clients is to quarantine separate types of assets in separate entities. However, we often discover that assets have been accumulated over time either in unsuitable structures or personally, which exposes those assets to risk. At that stage, it may be cost-prohibitive to transfer those assets to a more suitable structure due to capital gains tax or stamp duty liabilities.

Depending on the specific situation of the client, we can draw upon our experience implementing a range of effective asset protection strategies in order to recommend the most appropriate strategy for a particular client.

A trust ownership structure can be an effective way of protecting assets by providing an added layer between the beneficiary and the asset. SWS Lawyers has experience implementing various types of trusts, including:

  • discretionary trusts;
  • unit trusts;
  • fixed trusts;
  • family trusts;
  • special disability trusts; and
  • testamentary trusts.

The appropriate trust structure depends on the specific circumstances of each client and may also hinge on tax implications. ​We often recommend that clients protect their wealth by owning assets in a discretionary trust, because a potential beneficiary of a discretionary trust does not have a defined or contingent interest in any of the discretionary trust’s assets. The result is that, assuming that beneficiary is attacked by creditors, becomes bankrupt, has a judgement issued against them or gets divorced, in most circumstances, the discretionary trust’s assets will be protected.​

Their approach is always professional and delivered at a standard comparable to a capital city law firm. It is the clear strategic direction that has always impressed me about the SWS team.

-Director, Top 10 Australian Accounting Firm

We believe their ability to combine first rate legal expertise, commercial judgement and strong negotiating skills is rare amongst lawyers and provides us with a real competitive advantage in corporate transactions. We use SWS because of their ability, not their post code.

-Robert Radcliffe-Smith, Advent

The combination of rare legal expertise, commercial judgement and strong negotiating skills is rare amongst lawyers and provides us with a real competitive advantage in corporate transactions.

-Paul Valaire, Addcar

SWS has assisted with advice on securing and exercising complex property and commercial contractual rights and assisting with protracted contractual management and implementation. We value legal experts who can offer pragmatic and commercial legal solutions for our complicated matters. SWS Lawyers has consistently met these criteria.

-Leading AU/NZ Logistics Company

The team at SWS Lawyers have already showcased their professionalism, commitment, positive can-do attitude and insight into our needs and have a clear understanding of the disability sector.

-Garry West-Bail, Deaf Sports Australia

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