Where to start?

The starting point for developing any good strategic plan is in ascertaining all of the relevant information.  This usually starts with the information that is documented and establishing relevant matters which may not be documented.

It is also important to start early and plan for changes well in advance of them occurring.

The key issues are:

  • asset ownership
  • business structure
  • people; and
  • objectives.

Asset ownership

Ascertaining the details of the ownership of assets involves the following:

  • Who owns what assets?
  • What is the market value of the asset and what is its CGT cost base if it is a post CGT asset?
  • Documents required are things such as -- financial accounts, tax returns, asset registers, title documents and loans between related parties.
  • Details of liabilities attaching to assets.

Business structure

The structure of the business needs to be understood and the primary documents are trust deeds, partnership agreements company constitutions, shareholder agreements, unitholder agreements and any other agreements relating to the structure or the holding of equity in the structure owning the business.

Usually there is a need to do a due diligence review of the business to ensure that all the relevant information emerges and everyone involved in the process has a thorough understanding of the situation.


A thorough understanding of all the relevant people and their roles in the business is necessary.  Most usually their family and financial positions also need to be well understood.


It is important to ascertain the objectives.  Looking into the future can be difficult.  Shorter term objectives may be easier to manage than longer term objectives that are less certain.  Any plans may need to involve consideration of various alternatives depending upon future eventualities.


There are a number of documents which will need to be reviewed, possibly amended or prepared.

Taxation issues

Taxation issues need to be carefully considered.  They will arise for consideration where there is a disposal of assets.

The transferring of control of discretionary trusts needs to be carefully considered.

All these matters are best planned well in advance where it it is necessary to restructure the holding of assets and equity concerning the business.