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Understanding family trusts, loans & insurance

It’s wise to discuss financial considerations such as these early in a long-term relationship.

Trusts or family trusts.

Trusts are most commonly used for asset protection, and to generate income through trust distributions. If you are currently in receipt of dividends from a trust fund while married or in a de facto relationship, or you are a beneficiary of a trust fund, you may wish to get advice about your options, risks and entitlements from qualified professionals.

Family loans.

Your family will normally want the best for you and your partner. Some families are in a position to assist by offering a financial head-start towards things such as a family milestone, travel, or a home deposit.

Family gifts and loans are a generous offering to help you and your partner set up your home together. The line between what is considered a loan and a gift could be blurred, especially when it was verbally agreed that the funds were a loan, for instance. Whether the funds are gifted or loaned to you and your partner, it is important that it is documented. Without a written agreement specifically stating this, in the event of a dispute, the Courts may be required to make a determination. Consider approaching a lawyer for legal advice to make sure you and your family members are protected.

Loan agreements should therefore be documented in writing, formalised, signed by all parties (the person offering the funds as well as the individual or couple in receipt of the funds) and witnessed. You should consider speaking to a legal professional for advice. Remember, it is important to ensure that if you decide to formally document the loan/gift, then you and your parents as well as your lawyers keep copies of the agreement.


Different types and kinds of insurance are available which could make your life easier when you need it the most.

As you grow together and the dynamic in the home changes (i.e. starting a family, taking out loans or changes in employment), just knowing that you have added financial security available as the need arises could offer a greater sense of comfort and security.

Many superannuation funds include insurance cover. Understanding your superannuation insurance cover and your entitlements is important and it may be necessary to review your situation.

Read about the many different general insurance options available with Westpac or talk to BT.

Estate planning.

This involves developing a strategy to deal with your assets and investments when you die. Its aim is to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, ensuring that your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries in the most simple and effective way. The deceased estate will include your Will and may also include Powers of Attorney.