The increasing focus on estate planning as one of the benefits of a self-managed super fund (SMSF) is contributing to the popularity of SMSFs broadly, according to Peter Burgess, head of policy and technical at AMP SMSF.
There are certain estate-planning strategies SMSFs offer that are not necessarily available in other types of funds, Mr Burgess said, including death benefit nominations such as cascading nominations.
“You can be much more detailed, you can talk about specific assets that you can link to various members of the funds, and you can be very specific,” Mr Burgess said.
“In an SMSF... you can talk about what form that benefit should take, so whether it should be a lump-sum, pension and so forth,” he added.
Mr Burgess added with blended families becoming more common, there’s a focus on making sure that clients’ super assets get paid to their preferred party.
“SMSFs can provide that level of certainty that you can’t necessarily achieve in other types of super funds,” said Mr Burgess. “Practitioners are looking at things like SMSFs, not just for the control aspects and the investment flexibility but also the estate planning flexibility that these vehicles provide.”
Mr Burgess also stressed the importance of binding nominations and said there is a risk of not meeting the wishes of the deceased if it’s not clear that a binding nomination is in place.
“If you want certainty as to where your money is going to go on death, then [make] sure that you’ve got that binding nomination in place,” he said.
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