Documentation, Estate Planning

Adviser support key to managing member incapacity

member incapacity support

Member incapacity is likely to grow and advisers should find innovative ways to provide support to ensure the continued smooth running of SMSFs.

SMSF advisers should embrace technology to meet the growing need for increased support due to the rise in member incapacity, an SMSF legal expert has said.

In a blog post on the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand website, View Legal director Matthew Burgess said the continued growth of the ageing population would likely result in a higher rate of mental incapacity among SMSF members.

“It’s becoming one of the fastest-growing areas of the law. People have a lot of money tied up in SMSFs and now that they’re living longer, their mental health is often degenerating,” Burgess said.

“Ten years ago, elder law and abuse didn’t really exist, but now the need to protect our ageing population has increased substantially.”

He said the rise in member incapacity presented a growing need for increased SMSF management support from advisers.

“Many individuals already have a gap in understanding SMSFs and need support from advisers and professionals. When you factor in mental incapacity, the issue becomes even more serious,” he noted.

The maintenance of fund documentation was a critical area for members that industry professionals should focus on when providing assistance with the management of an SMSF, he said.

He also highlighted the industry’s reluctance to embrace digital solutions as a major issue preventing advisers from providing the necessary support to fund members.

“Not only should lawyers and finance professionals be leaning on technology to manage processes, they should also be sharing their knowledge with trustees where they can,” he said.

“In the past, advisers have been perceived as keeping information within their firms, but if the culture was to instead share knowledge and educate trustees, that could be of real benefit.”

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