Estate Planning, Superannuation

Estate planning not formulaic

SMSF estate planning

SMSF practitioners need to be prepared for all situations that could possibly trigger the implementation of estate planning or fund succession strategies.

A technical manager has warned advisers to be prepared for all SMSF estate planning or succession strategy scenarios even if they did not conform to the accepted notion of having a fund member pass away.

Speaking at last week’s SMSFPD Digital 2021 event hosted by selfmanagedsuper, SuperConcepts SMSF technical specialist Anthony Cullen suggested practitioners need to be cognisant of different circumstances that would possibly still be considered an estate planning issue where the death of an individual may not actually be able to be confirmed.

“This probably doesn’t come up too often, but it wasn’t too long ago that my colleague took a phone call that I think in all his years of experience he would never have suspected he was going to have to deal with. He got a phone call from a trustee basically saying that he’d gone camping recently with his wife and that she had gone missing on that camping trip, and after several months she [had been] been declared a missing person,” Cullen said.

He noted it is a situation that should prompt advisers to consider what needs to be done in terms of the SMSF as a result of the unfortunate turn of events at hand.

“What do we need to do in terms of trustee structure? Who’s making the decision? What can we do with her balance because generally you can’t roll a balance over without the member’s consent?” he said.

“So I’m not going to go through any of the answers [to these questions], because I’m not sure I actually have them, but I’m just throwing out there that it’s not always about having defined rules in relation to estate planning or even EPOAs (enduring powers of attorney).

“There are cases that are always going to challenge you.”

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