Off-the-shelf documents popular

off-the-shelf documents

The majority of advisers participating in a recent survey have indicated they favour using off-the-shelf documents for their SMSF clients.

A recent poll of financial planners and accountants has shown more than half of these practitioners are using off-the-shelf documents, such as trust deeds, for their SMSF clients.

The survey, conducted during the selfmanagedsuper SMSF Professionals Day 2022 in Sydney last week, revealed 52 per cent of practitioners favoured these generic-style documents for their clients.

A further 18 per cent indicated they used tailored documents for their clients, while another 26 per cent said they allowed their clients to choose the documents they feel comfortable using. Four per cent of practitioners admitted to having no input in the process.

Accurium head of education Mark Ellem told delegates at the event it was a positive sign over a quarter of respondents are offering their clients a choice.

“The one I like there is providing the client with a choice because we know there is most likely a difference in cost between off-the-shelf and tailored documents,” Ellem noted.

“But if we at least give the client the choice and the client says they are happy to go with the off-the-shelf product, because their fund is pretty vanilla, you can then make your appropriate file note about that.”

While still suitable for some clients, he pointed out there is an associated level of risk for the practitioner if off-the-shelf documents are used for an SMSF.

“There seem to be a few more articles in the press from the legal fraternity about the issue of off-the-shelf documents and tailored documents pointing out you could potentially be looking at a claim by dependants down the track,” he said.

“[They might say:] ‘Hang on, this document isn’t specific for the circumstances of the members or of the trustees. Why wasn’t it tailored for their circumstances? Why didn’t you put in these mechanisms regarding control of the fund?’”

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