When registering the ownership of shares in private companies with ASIC trusts are not recorded. You might recall that a trust is not a legal entity, but it is a relationship where someone owns property on behalf of others.
This means the trustee is the legal owner of the shares.
However, on ASIC forms you can nominate whether the registered owner of the shares is holding the shares in their own right, or as trustee. This is done by a tick boxed labelled ‘beneficially held’.
‘Beneficially held’ means the person is not acting as trustee.
If they were acting as trustee then the shares would not be beneficially held (because the beneficial owners are others).
So, check your annual ASIC statements and confirm they are correctly listed on ASIC. If they are recorded incorrectly this could lead to expensive disputes upon your death or incapacity.
Written by Terryw of Structuring Lawyers – www.structuringlawyers.com.au