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Legal Tip 27: Naming Trusts and Companies

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Terry_w, 15th Jul, 2015.

  1. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Naming Trusts and Companies


    A company must have a unique name that is not currently in use. The name is registered with ASIC when the company is set up. Finding a name you like can be very difficult, so it is best to start thinking about it early. Also consider whether you may need a web address and check if that will be available too.


    Trusts on the other hand are not registered. They are private arrangements and trusts, like children, can have names that are already in use. There may be thousands of “Smith Family Trust” for example.


    When choosing a name for a trust consider these 2 issues

    1. Publicly searchable
    If someone can find the trust and link it to you they may be able to attack it more easily. Trusts can be searched if they have an ABN by typing the name into the ABN search. Otherwise trusts are private arrangements with their details not available.


    2. Distinguishing between various entities which you are involved with.

    After a few entities are set up it can be confusing sometimes. Having completely different names can help you distinguish. I have seen instances where wrong names have been put on contracts and monies transferred to the wrong accounts.


    When naming also check the IP Australia database for registered trademarks. Words can be trademarked and this may prevent you from using them. It won’t necessarily prevent you from registering the name, but you or the company could be sued later on and have to give the name up.
     
    PacMan, bonanzawealth and Arnel like this.
  2. Arnel

    Arnel Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up terry,

    My creative mind generally fails me in thinking of company names and opt for a trading name later down the track hehe :)
     
  3. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    The ATO will not approve a ABN / Tax File registration for some Trust names which may be used to misrepresent also. Common to SMSFs and some other trusts...I suspect there have been instances where these trusts have been used to facilitate identity fraud.

    eg : If I form a Trust called the (eg) Westfield Property Trust the ATO may refuse the TFN / ABN registration or at least investigate into reasons why I may be passing-off.. With SMSFs they will reject applications for names which look like a public or industry fund. eg : I cant setup a SMSF called Westpac Staff Super Fund or CBus Super Fund. etc

    On company names I used to work at a known company / trust formation company. You see how detailed ASIC are - They use language dictionaries to manually identify offensive foreign words too... I had one rejected that translated as ********. Client laughed then chose a better ane, That said had a client once who operated a VERY successful finance company we setup. He chose the name based on a old crude expression. I don't believe the bank who bought him out for $80M were ever wise to it.

    And some words are just prohibited. You cant form a company or business name with Bradman in name unless Minister agrees..... Lots of other examples...

    And then just because its available doesn't mean you should use it. Go register a company with Virgin / Coke etc in the name and see how far you get before a lawyer writes to you.
     
  4. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    One of my clients had a trust name (and company??) that was in a foreign language but would translate into English as 'big testicles' and that got through
     
    Serah likes this.
  5. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have company and trust names that are obscure and ambiguous meanings in Latin. I have fun with them! :D

    pinkboy