The following table is a comparison of the various ownership structures we have considered.

Ownership structure

Income and capital distribution Risk protection

Other considerations

Sole owner
All income and capital gains distributed directly to the sole owner Fully accessible in the event of litigation for distribution to creditors; is passed through will on death Low-cost option included as part of personal taxation return; only ongoing fees are those associated with property
Joint tenants
All income and capital gains distributed according to share Fully accessible in the event of litigation for distribution to creditors; on death share of property automatically passes to survivor Low-cost option as personal taxation returns are required
Tenants in common
All income and capital gains distributed according to share Fully accessible in the event of litigation for distribution to creditors; upon death, share is distributed according to will May require partnership return, though is still a low-cost option as partnership pays no tax, is distributed to owners
Company
All income and gains distributed to the company on which company tax is paid; distribution is then made as a dividend and determined by shareholding by the company Company limited in its liability (depending on structure chosen); shares in company distributed according to will Additional cost for company taxation return to be completed
Unit trust
All income and gains distributions determined according to number of units held in trust Only beneficiary of trust, not the owner of asset so offers limited protection in this way. Units can be acquired via litigation. Units can also can be passed via will Trust requires additional responsibilities, including tax returns, and the trustee has obligations, meaning additional costs and time
Discretionary trust
All income and gains distributed as determined by the trustee with no set figure Only beneficial entitlement to assets, not actually owner so protection is offered in this way. This protection is not guaranteed. Assets cannot be passed on via will as not owned Trust requires additional responsibilities, including taxation returns and trustee has obligations, meaning additional costs and time
Self-managed super fund
Income and capital gains remain within the fund and receive taxation benefits prior to and after retirement Asset is held for benefit of fund member. It cannot be touched in litigation. Fund trustee has ultimate control of distribution on death, though binding nomination can be made for dependants Each member of SMSF must also be trustee of the fund. Taxation returns, written investment strategy and audits required. It must continue to meet superannuation regulations to continue to receive taxation benefits