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Estate Planning

Advisers should look at estate planning focus

A senior legal executive has recommended SMSF advisers become specialists in estate planning to effectively strengthen their advice proposition and their practice models.

“You guys are deep experts already and the advisers I see who do really well love the estate [planning] side and the super of it because they know more than their competitors [and] they know more than the client,” Legacy Law director Donal Griffin told a recent SMSF Association Sydney chapter breakfast.

Griffin identified the standard practice of having a binding death benefit nomination lapse after three years as an element advisers could use to their advantage.

“I’d be making this a bigger part of your practice,” he said.

“The three-year aspect gives you the ability to say ‘right, let’s have a nomination meeting’.

“I would elevate this because if you send out a form, how much can you charge for it? If you have a meeting and escalated this and say ‘we want to have the kids in’ and make it [about] powers of attorney [you could charge more].”

He suggested the education component of the process would also work in the adviser’s favour.

“The kids need to know maybe if mum or dad can’t withdraw the money, [and then] talk about the taxable component involved; you educate them and they’ll remember that it’s you that told them [about] this stuff and it’s contrary to what they’ve heard,” he explained.

“So you need to keep meeting them.”

Even if the binding death benefit nomination was non-lapsing, ever-changing circumstances meant regular estate planning meetings would easily be justified, he pointed out.

“Circumstances change. The beneficiaries were under 18 and now they’re over 18. Find out more about the grandchildren, even though they’re not going to get the benefit,” he said.

“You can show interest in that.”

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