Technical expert flags estate planning strategies for 2017-18
With the $1.6 million transfer balance cap now in place, technical experts have identified some of the considerations that will need to be made in relation to death benefits and reversionary pensions.
Perpetual Private head of strategic advice Colin Lewis says many SMSF practitioners, in the lead-up to 30 June 2017, didn’t have the opportunity to review their clients’ estate planning in light of the changes to superannuation.
“SMSF practitioners now really need to start looking at the client’s estate plans in terms of what income streams they’re receiving, if they’re receiving any reversionary income streams or whether they just have binding death benefits in place,” Mr Lewis said.
“For those with more than $1.6 million, reversionary pensions may be treated more favourably in terms of the amount and when it’s counted towards the transfer balance account test.”
SuperConcepts executive manager of SMSF technical and private wealth, Graeme Colley, said it’s important reversionary pensions are considered carefully before they are implemented, as there can be some traps.
“If you’re going to put a reversion in, make sure your pension can move from being non-reversionary to reversionary,” Mr Colley said.
“If that’s not possible, they may need to commute that pension and start a new pension. The trap there will be that if someone qualifies for Centrelink benefits, then that is an issue they need to be aware of. That may lend itself to people keeping the non-reversionary pension.
Individuals with more than $1.6 million who’ve had to do something with the excess or will be doing something with it to transfer it out of pension phase, will need to work out what to do with the money when it gets paid out to their family on their death, Mr Colley said.
“Or if their spouse dies, they’ll need to decide what happens with the money then,” he said.
“They might want to look at whether they can implement equalisation strategies for the estate [also].”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.