SMSF admin firm points to death benefit rollover trap

While the ability to roll over a death benefit without losing its death benefit status is a useful strategy that has resulted from the super reforms, some trust deeds do not allow this to occur, one SMSF administration firm has cautioned.

Heffron SMSF Solutions head of customer Meg Heffron says one of the opportunities with the new rules is being able to roll over a death benefit without changing its status as a death benefit.

“Although it will still have to be converted to a pension or cashed out as a lump sum in the new fund,” she told SMSF Adviser.

In two-member SMSFs, it is not uncommon for a member to want to wind up the fund after the other member, who was perhaps the driving force behind the SMSF, dies, Ms Heffron said.

She said the new rules will make it easy for the remaining spouse to wind up an SMSF quickly but retain the money in a super pension in an industry or retail super fund.

However, some trust deeds do not allow for this.

“It was never an issue before, so people didn’t need to worry about it because you couldn’t do it anyway,” Ms Heffron said.

“This is probably a classic case of where there’s nothing wrong with the old trust deed, you can keep it and you wouldn’t have a compliance problem, but you might just find there are some opportunities you unable to take advantage of.” 

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