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Superannuation and estate planning


Superannuation and its link with estate planning has taken a big step forward since the 2017 superannuation reforms and the increase in the number of cases being contested before the courts and tribunals. Superannuation provides a useful vehicle as part of the management of a client’s estate planning, but it is not exhaustive due to the limits imposed by the introduction of the transfer balance cap and the value of death benefits that can be retained in superannuation. It is essential that an adviser understands how death benefits can be retained in superannuation and who is eligible to receive lump sums and pensions. The validity of death benefit nominations, provisions of the fund’s trust deed, and the last will and testament of the deceased are material to making sure that the right amount is paid to the right person at the right time. This article covers the superannuation side of estate planning, and discusses who is eligible to receive death benefit payments and the issues with a member’s transfer balance cap.

Author profile

Graeme Colley
Photo of author, Graeme COLLEY Graeme is the Executive Manager, SMSF Technical and Private Wealth at SuperConcepts. In that role his responsibilities include the provision of technical and education services to private wealth clients, maintaining the company’s media and corporate profile and its advocacy with government. Graeme has considerable taxation and superannuation experience gained from senior positions in the ATO, as an Assistant Commissioner of the Insurance and Superannuation Commission, ING as well as leading fund managers and consultants, including Macquarie Bank, Mercer and Chartered Accountants ANZ. He is a joint author of the CCH Master Financial Planning Guide and Financial Planning in Australia. His academic experience extends to the ATAX Masters course at UNSW and the Master of Commerce (Financial Planning) course at UWS. - Current at 10 February 2021
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