‘Dealing with the business of estates, dealing ethically - the 2018 Death... and Taxes Symposium


It is well documented that Australia is facing a period of monumental inter-generational wealth transfer.

With an ageing population and increasing wealth held personally and via superannuation funds and trusts, the practical matters in the event of incapacity or death have increasing importance.

As a trusted adviser to their ageing clients, tax advisers are well positioned to help clients and their families deal with the administration burden caused by incapacity and death. In fact, clients increasingly expect their advisers to have the skills to assist.

Here we speak to three presenters from July’s Death... and Taxes Symposium, taking place on the Gold Coast, about some of the issues facing advisers.

In what will be an eye-opening start to the Symposium, David W Marks QC, CTA (Queensland Bar) will deliver the keynote address, ‘Practical legal ethics for the adviser.’
David W Marks QC, CTA

When advisers take on roles such as executor they can face issues of conflict and potential liabilities. In his keynote, David will highlight the risks for all advisers, be they accountants, lawyers or otherwise.

David said “This is a tricky area for lawyers, accountants and planners. We can be drawn into conflicts in unexpected ways.”

Looking at the various roles advisers may be asked to act in, such as attorney, executor, trustee, or appointor, David will cover the potential ethical pitfalls and best practice when asked to assume each. He will also discuss how advisers can guard against liability, how to manage conflicts between spouses or family members, as well as how advisers can be more certain of their role in the process, and what they are covered for.

“I hope my session will assist in drawing clear lines around what we can safely do and charge for” he said.

A commercial Silk at the Queensland Bar, David practises principally in tax. He has a broader practice in commercial litigation, trusts and estates, and administrative law. Following his keynote, David’s role switches to that of commentator, for the session presented by Lyn Freshwater (ATO) on ‘Tax liabilities – Who is responsible?’


Closing out the Symposium is the workshop ‘Dealing with the business of estate administration’, facilitated by Peter McKnoulty, CTA (McCullough Robertson).

Advisers are increasingly called upon to provide solutions to issues associated with estates with varying levels of complexity. The workshop features presenters from some of the earlier sessions who will cover many areas raised across the Symposium's plenaries, taking a deeper dive into complex issues of estate administration.

Peter McKnoulty, CTA
Peter said: “The workshop is designed to tie together many of the issues raised in earlier sessions into a practical case study. We will look at a relatively common scenario involving a deceased person and how a family deals with that loss. This will include the impact on legal structures and in particular control of them, choosing the right executors, inheritance strategies taking into account a typical family with multiple structures, superannuation, overseas assets and beneficiaries, and dealing with loans.”

Peter is a consultant with McCullough Robertson Lawyers in Brisbane, specialising in tax, business structures and restructures, and estate and succession planning. A member of the Institute since the early 1980s, Peter was a member of the Queensland State Council from the early 1990s through to 2014, and was the first recipient in Queensland of a Meritorious Service Award at around that time.

“The issues the panel will discuss will arise from a fairly typical scenario, and so delegates will be able to apply the principles and solutions in their own practices” he said. Panel members joining Peter for the session include Denise Honey, CTA (Pitcher Partners), Thomas Tulley, CTA (EY), and Adele Townsend, CTA (BDO)

Specialist input into the workshop will be provided by Michael Pollard (Perpetual).

Michael said “This session is designed to provide insights via real-life examples and experiences of administration and tax. The workshop panel members will highlight the potential traps and pitfalls that practitioners need to be aware of.”
Michael Pollard

Michael is the senior manager of the Taxation and Accounting team at Perpetual Trustees for Trusts and Estates. Working in the trustee industry for over 20 years, he specialises in the taxation of high net worth retirees, deceased estates, trusts and philanthropic entities.

This is The Tax Institute’s second dedicated symposium on the important taxation issues arising in the event of death and through the administration of an estate.

Other sessions over the two days cover:
  • Income tax, CGT current topics and other relevant litigation
  • Death in the new world, post-superannuation reform
  • Helping my client make the best decisions with home, retirement and residential care
  • Issues with life estates
  • Incapacity issues – Powers of attorney, wills, super and binding nominations
  • International issues in situations where assets are located overseas, beneficiaries are residing overseas, or even your client dies overseas
  • Focusing on loans.
The 2018 Death... and Taxes Symposium takes place 19-20 July at the Sofitel Gold Coast, Broadbeach. Delegates earn 12.5 CPD hours by attending. View the full program and register on our website.

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