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Estate planning strategy flagged with partial commutations

Estate planning strategy flagged with partial commutations
Miranda Brownlee
28 December 2017 — 1 minute read

While strategies involving partial commutations will mainly apply to members with larger pension balances, SMSFs may still want to consider these strategies for estate planning purposes, according to a technical expert.

Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Cooper Partners director Jemma Sanderson said even if SMSF trustees have less than $1.6 million in their super fund, they might still look at the partial commutation strategy from an estate planning perspective.

This strategy can help the client to release extra funds from their transfer balance cap, she explained.


“That way, when their partner or spouse passes away, they’ve got some extra room there to start a new pension,” Ms Sanderson said.

The SMSF Academy’s Aaron Dunn explained that a member’s transfer balance account dies with that member and does not carry across to the surviving member.

In a husband and wife situation, he said, where the combination of those two pension amounts is greater than the transfer balance cap, the SMSF practitioner will need to discuss with clients how they might be able to reduce the value of the initial credit when it is applied to one or more income streams.

“Therefore, rather than treating those above minimum payments as pension payments, they may want to partially commute that income stream because of course, they’re going to get a debit against their transfer balance cap,” he said.

Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee


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.

You can email Miranda on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Estate planning strategy flagged with partial commutations
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