Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Ian Glenister, principal of Glenister & Co Superannuation and Estate Planning Lawyers said the financial planning and accounting professions profess to being enthusiastic in aiding and assisting their clients with respect to estate planning, but instead only “give lip service to it”.
Mr Glenister said there is a misconception among SMSF accountants and advisers that is too hard to address estate planning with their clients because they don’t have the qualifications to perform the entire process.
“The other misconception is that they don’t think they can make a lot of money out of it, but if they were astute they could; they could project manage the whole process,” he said.
Mr Glenister also said SMSF trustees are as ill-prepared for their mortality as the rest of Australia.
Estate planning for super funds, he said, does not get the attention it deserves, despite the fact that most clients hold the bulk of their wealth inside super.
“I have dealt with clients that have millions and millions of dollars inside SMSFs and they have very little outside, so what’s more important their death benefits and their SMSF estate planning or their general individual estate planning matters – it’s the former,” he said.
Topdocs national manager of training and advice Michael Harkin said estate planning is one of the “last frontiers” yet to be addressed by accountants and advisers.
“It hasn’t received the focus that is probably should have but I think that is changing,” said Mr Harkin.
“There are more [advisers and accountants] becoming aware of the need to consider estate planning, where to start and what to do about it but I think there is still room for improvement.”