Q&As

Planning for Vulnerable Beneficiaries with Tara Lucke

Wednesday January 24, 2018

Tara Lucke loves helping clients reach peace of mind about the protection of their wealth and transition to the next generation. She is a lawyer and one of the four co-founders of the specialist law firm, View Legal Pty Ltd. While currently enjoying the wonderful lifestyle benefits of being based at the Gold Coast, Tara works predominantly in the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Northern NSW regions. As a location independent lawyer, she also embraces technology to assist clients all over Australia. Tara Lucke

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Tara recently to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.

You can find the full Q&A below.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (experience, your company, expertise, etc)?

I specialise in estate planning, tax planning, asset protection, business succession, superannuation and trusts. I started my career with McCullough Robertson, working with them from 2007 to 2014 before co-founding View Legal in 2014.

One of my fundamental business values is to work collaboratively with clients’ existing advisers to deliver effective and appropriate solutions. To this end, I am passionate about exploring innovations in the legal industry, particularly in relation to using technology and value pricing to provide quality solutions and price certainty for clients.

I am a fellow of The Tax Institute and a published author in Australia’s leading monthly tax journal, The Tax Institute’s Taxation in Australia and the leading weekly tax journal, Thomson Reuters’ Weekly Tax Bulletin.

Aside from my legal interests, I spend my spare time practicing yoga, learning to surf, water skiing, travelling and catching up with friends and family over delicious food.

What are some of the challenges facing advisers in terms of estate planning for Vulnerable Beneficiaries?

It is critical for advisers with clients who have vulnerable beneficiaries to do as much as possible to ensure there is a comprehensive estate plan in place. Estate planning conversations are not always pleasant and it is common for clients to procrastinate when it comes to implementing their estate plan. As advisers, we often need to wear the dual hats of counsellor and adviser to help clients move past blocks and make those tough decisions.

When crafting a robust estate plan where vulnerable beneficiaries are involved, it is important to strike the appropriate balance between leaving sufficient flexibility to adapt to changes in beneficiary circumstances and government regulations, whilst still giving sufficient certainty to clients so they have peace of mind.

What are the common mistakes accounting and legal practitioners usually make when they work in this area?

One problem area I frequently see is that the estate plan does not cater for contingencies.  The estate plan should provide sufficient robustness, especially when nominating guardians and financial controllers to manage the affairs of vulnerable beneficiaries. Often it may appear that there is only one suitable person to take on this role, but it is critical that the estate plan does not fall apart if that person cannot take on the responsibility for some reason.

The Stanford v Stanford decision has also brought to light the potential issues with blended families and elderly beneficiaries, serving as a warning to advisers that we need to proactively address the unique issues posed by blended families where there is the potential for conflicts of interest between financial controllers and beneficiaries.

What are some of the big trends and developments you see ahead for the area?

We are seeing special disability trusts and court ordered wills becoming increasingly useful tools for planning. The complexity of the superannuation regime and its interaction with estate planning arrangements also remains an ongoing challenge for advisers.

What do you see are some of the key takeaways and benefits for practitioners for their practice from attending your session?

Unique issues arise when planning for vulnerable beneficiaries, whether they be minors, beneficiaries with disabilities or elderly beneficiaries who have lost capacity to manage their own affairs.

This session will leave you with the skills to confidently discuss special disability trusts – how they work, when they will be useful for clients and how they can impact on a client’s estate plan. 

You will also be able to identify when a statutory will application is worth pursuing for a client who does not have legal capacity to make a will.

Finally, this session will teach you strategies to proactively mitigate the trust control and power of attorney risk issues that can arise in circumstances with vulnerable beneficiaries.

You can hear more from Tara at the 3rd Annual Business Succession and Estate Planning Conference seminar, being held on Friday 23 February at the Mercure Hotel Brisbane, Brisbane.

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