Preparing for loss of capacity or death is vital for SMSF members. It's important to ensure your trust deed is watertight.
There are more than 600,000 self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) in Australia, managing close to $900 billion of assets on behalf of over a million Australians.
Each SMSF’s trust deed is legally required to set out the rules for establishing and operating the SMSF including its objectives, who can be a member of the SMSF, and whether benefits can be paid as a lump sum or as an income stream.
But what happens when a member becomes incapacitated, or dies?
Has the SMSF’s trust deed been worded in a way that will make it possible to give effect to the wishes of an incapacitated or deceased member, to the extent those wishes are consistent with superannuation laws?
If you’re a member of an SMSF, it’s important to ensure that you have ticked all the right boxes when it comes to succession planning.
And, to do this, it’s worthwhile considering obtaining tailored professional advice from an SMSF specialist.
Preparing binding death benefit nominations
SMSF members generally have a degree of ability to choose who will get their residual super benefits when they die, by making and giving the SMSF’s trustee a binding death benefit nomination.
This directs the fund’s trustee to pay the benefit to either a legal personal representative or one or more eligible dependants of the member.
However, depending on the wording of your SMSF trust deed and the nomination itself, it is possible that a binding death benefit nomination given by a member will expire after just three years (or any shorter period specified in the trust deed) under Regulation 6.17A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth). In that scenario, assuming the member is still alive, their death benefit nomination would then need to be renewed and there would be no death benefit nomination in place unless and until they do so.
But the High Court ruled last year that it is possible for a validly made binding death benefit nomination to last indefinitely if a trust deed’s wording is structured in such a way that effectively avoids the three-year automatic expiry.
This is a prime example of why it may be worthwhile getting professional advice around the wording in your trust deed covering death benefit nominations as well as your nomination form, including whether they are aligned with your preference as to how often (if at all) death benefit nominations need to be updated in order to be legally effective.
Preparing for loss of capacity or death
Another key aspect for SMSF trustees to consider and plan for is who would take control upon a member’s loss of capacity or death.
For example, problems can arise where someone wanted their super money to go to a child from a previous relationship, but where a second spouse controlling the fund was able to frustrate the wishes of the deceased.
It’s certainly worth asking how your wishes will be honoured if you lose capacity or die. Who will or could be running the fund in this situation? As there are a range of legal factors and restrictions that shape who would be eligible to operate the SMSF or make decisions on your behalf, good quality expert legal and financial advice on these matters can go a long way to avoiding inconvenience, confusion and conflict in future.
Reversionary pension nominations
SMSF trust deeds can generally specify that a superannuation income stream that a member of the SMSF is receiving will automatically transfer to an eligible dependant beneficiary previously nominated by the member upon the member’s death. This nomination is typically referred to as a reversionary pension nomination.
For some SMSF members they can be very important, particularly for people who have a high tax-free component or who are expecting a life insurance payout upon their death.
Some SMSF trust deeds are worded in a way that gives priority to a reversionary pension nomination over a binding death benefit nomination, which can lead to unexpected or unintended outcomes after a member’s death.
Reversionary beneficiary nominations are not necessarily needed or suitable for everyone with an SMSF, but for those wanting to implement them it’s important to ensure they’re permitted under the terms of the trust deed and enforceable in the future.
Getting succession planning advice
SMSF trust deeds can be complex documents, and it’s vital to ensure that yours is structured to ensure it is best placed to conform to your wishes in the event you’re incapacitated or die.
Consider consulting a licensed financial adviser or other relevant qualified professional who can provide you with specialised advice based on your circumstances.
Tony Kaye, Senior Personal Finance Writer April 2023 vanguard.com.au
General Advice Warning: The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.
Retiring on your own terms is not always easy to achieve, however it is evident that those who plan for retirement are more likely to do so. Results also show that obtaining professional help during the pre-retirement years further improves the probability of attaining your retirement objectives.
The earlier you start implementing a plan the better the outcomes.
During one’s working life there is always an income to make ends meet when raising children, paying off a mortgage, etc.
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Life insurance isn’t just a cost, though it often feels like it. You buy peace-of-mind that should a serious issue effect you then the consequences won’t unduly affect your family. Insurance provides you with the ability to manage the financial and emotional impact of some of the more drastic events, whether personally or in your small business.
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Many Australians are underinsured and the consequences can be very serious for families should there be a death or serious injury. A yes to any of the following questions means you may have a need for insurance coverage:
Do you have a mortgage?
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Superannuation is mandatory but taking an early and active interest in your retirement planning is critical to ensuring your benefits are maximised by the time you retire. Many will have a superannuation scheme through employment but increasing numbers are starting their own Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF).
For many, simply relying on employer contributions may not be enough to provide the lifestyle you desire at retirement. We can assist in building strategies to ensure your retirement goals are met and your required lifestyle is maintained throughout retirement.
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Self Managed Super Funds
Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs) offer a good strategy option for many individuals, families and small business owners to build tax effective wealth and to protect assets over time. SMSFs are becoming popular for those who are ready to take control of their own super investments as they give you ultimate control and flexibility to manage your retirement benefits.
It must be noted though, that you will have increased responsibilities as a trustee of the fund. As a SMSF Trustee you need to keep up to date with all required regulations and keep up with the fast paced financial markets.
Wybenga Financial can work with you to understand your personal financial situation and decide whether a SMSF structure is appropriate for you. We will also make sure your assets are invested in the most effective way to maximise your retirement benefits.
Should you wish to consider establishing a SMSF then we can help with all aspects of the process from establishment to managing your compliance obligations.
Wybenga Financial would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can help maximise your opportunities to grow your wealth through a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF). Contact us today to discuss how we can work together: (02) 9300 3000 or .
Your estate is made up of everything you own. This includes your home, property, furniture, car, personal possessions, business, investments, superannuation and bank accounts.
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Strategic planning is determining how an investor is going to meet their goals and objectives. It is about helping clients define their goals, gathering information and analysing data to make a plan, then implementing the plan and monitoring the results. It is also monitoring and updating goals and objectives as clients move through different phases of life.
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Please enjoy the links to these free tools supplied by MoneySmart – a great resource for general financial information. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any questions that you may have as a result of using these calculators.
Tess has over 22-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.
Over the last seven-years, Tess has turned her attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.
Tess’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of her Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.
As a woman in a male dominated field, Tess is active in promoting gender equality in the industry through various programs and mentoring opportunities.
Using her depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Tess is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.
2001 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
2004 – Graduated Masters of Commerce from the University of New South Wales
2005 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
2007 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial
B.Bus, B.Sc, CA, DipFP
Adam has over 18-years experience in Chartered Accounting Firms and in this time has had a broad range of experience in superannuation, taxation, business services, and financial strategy.
Over the last seven-years, Adam has turned his attention to Financial Planning, earning a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2015 and leading the newly established financial division of the Wybenga Group as a director of Wybenga Financial.
Adam’s mission is to bring the ethics and integrity of his Chartered Accounting background to the area of wealth management.
Combining traditional accounting and financial services has been a welcome move for Adam, allowing him to operate and advise in the financial sector that has been a long time personal passion.
Using his depth of knowledge and experience in tax and accounting Adam is able to demonstrate a level of competence that is unique in the Financial Planning sector.
2005 – Graduated Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Sydney
2005 – Commenced employment with Wybenga & Partners and part-time accountancy studies
2007 – Graduated Bachelor of Business from the University of Western Sydney
2010 – Admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
2010 – Promoted to Manager at Wybenga & Partners
2012 – Appointed as Associate Director
2015 – Awarded a Diploma of Financial Planning
2016 – Appointed as Partner of Wybenga Group and Director of Wybenga Financial
What is an Advisory Cadetship? An Advisory Cadetship enables you to commence your career whilst attaining the necessary university qualifications by studying part-time.
How does it work? Generally, our cadets complete a relevant business or accounting degree at the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, or the University of Western Sydney.
The Firm provides 3-hours paid study leave per week to attend university. This can either be taken at the one time or broken between days depending on the individual’s requirements. In addition, the Firm provides paid study leave for both mid-semester and end-of-year exams.
We take the work life balance very seriously at Wybenga Financial and our cadets are encouraged to have a fulfilling life outside the office. A typical day will have you arriving at the office at around 8.30am with most days concluding at 5.30pm.
What are the benefits of an Advisory Cadetship with Wybenga Financial? Our cadets benefit from the following:
Career path – on completion of their degree our cadets have significant practical experience which will assist them in advancing their careers
Work helps your studies – by working full-time our cadets are able to apply their practical knowledge in the university subjects
Camaraderie with other cadets – the Firm has a number of cadets at various stages of their career
Mentoring – cadets are paired with a senior staff member who oversees their progress and training both at work and with their studies
Communication and feedback – the Firm has an open door policy which enables all cadets to interact with all members of staff including Directors
Culture – the Firm promotes a friendly social culture with a number of functions throughout the year
Modern environment – including ‘socialising’ areas such as pool table and break out area
Training – ongoing support and technical training. We also provide internal and external training on a monthly basis
Remuneration – working full-time provides a market salary and independence with salaries being reviewed every 6-months
What happens when I complete my degree? The completion of your degree is the first step of what we hope to be a long and successful career with us. The next step is the commencement of a Diploma of Financial Planning followed by completing the requirements to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
There are always progression opportunities for the right cadets and we are dedicated to the long term development of our staff.
Who should apply? Current Year 12 students or first/second year University Students who:
want to commence their career in financial advisory;
are due to commence or are currently completing a part-time business or commerce degree at university with an advisory major;
want to gain valuable hands-on experience while completing their qualifications;
are looking for a friendly working environment;
are team players who display initiative;
have a commitment to self-development;
possess excellent personal presentation and communication skills; and
are motivated and mature minded.
How do I apply for an Advisory Cadetship? To apply for a Cadetship position at Wybenga Financial send us your details. Please also include in your covering letter why you wish to do a cadetship, include relevant qualities you possess, main interests / achievements, and any previous employment.
Interested candidates should initially forward a resume/covering letter of no more than 3-pages. Please provide full details of contact information (telephone or e-mail).
What if I have more questions? For further information about our Cadetship program, please send your enquiry to .