Estate Planning

Estate planning adviser shortage flagged

The amount of estate planning work SMSF clients will require in order to comply with the new super changes will put pressure on specialist adviser demand, which has the possibility to fall short, according to an industry lawyer.

“Without a doubt I think as the population gets older and as we have more and more wealth held by the retirees and the baby boomers, estate planning is an area where I don’t think there are enough advisers at the moment,” View Legal director and co-founder Patrick Ellwood told selfmanagedsuper.

“And I think that shortage is only going to get worse.

“We are seeing more specialisation among advisers and our business is a good example of that where the longer we’ve been operating, the narrower our focus has become because there are just so many opportunities within the SMSF estate planning space without needing to [expand] into other things.”

Ellwood revealed that in his experience binding death benefit nominations (BDBN) were rife with litigation across both new and older established SMSFs.

“It’s really across the board,” he said.

“It tends to come up more frequently as an issue where you’ve got a slightly more complex family dynamic as opposed to depending on the trust deed.

“A lot of the instances we’re seeing involve children from a previous relationship and a new spouse and because of that being a potentially difficult family dynamic, it’s more likely someone’s going to look at that BDBN and argue that it’s invalid.”

He warned while legal advice in these scenarios could have prevented such problems, the lawyer involved should also be an estate planning specialist.

“If not, they may not necessarily appreciate the significance of the issues,” he noted.

Ellwood recently presented an estate planning session at the Institute of Public Accountants 2017 National Congress on the Gold Coast.

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