Regular reviews and safekeeping of documents vital: expert

Keeping track of all documents relating to an SMSF trust deed is important if an estate planning issue arises, says an industry expert.

.

Scott Hay-Bartlem, partner at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers and board member of the SMSFA, said being able to physically produce documents, including trust deeds, reversionary pension information, death benefit documents, and even living wills, need to be kept safe and secure, but also be ready at hand when needed.

“They're not testamentary documents, but they are like wills and we need to treat them seriously to be able to find them and have them there,” he said.

 

“The trust deed is probably the most obvious document and it's the starting point that most people will think about and will be focused on but that's not the only important document that needs to be kept in a safe place, and re-read.”

Pension documents are another important document that is needed in an SMSF, he said, and most people are not familiar with what it is.

“One of the problems with pension documents is that if you are dealing with an old one and if you have a defined pension still going and you claim it is reversionary, you’re going to have to find the original pension documents,” he said.

“How many of us can find documents from the ‘90s? If you’re trying to prove your pension is reversionary, without your documents that have the reversion in them, you may be in trouble.”

He added other SMSF documents are important and it is ideal to do a regular audit of all documentation to ensure they have been signed properly and still meet the needs of the members of the fund.

“In the case of things like trust deeds, it's easy to see that we have the director sign or a principle employer sign who has to sign, but when you're looking at things like resolutions, if we've got a resolution accepting a binding death benefit nomination, that's got to be accepted by the trustee,” he said.

“But we see all the time where the resolutions and the minutes don’t reflect trusteeship – does it actually work? In court cases, you have to be able to hold these up and make sure everything is consistent.”

Mr Hay-Bartlem said some obvious documents need to be reviewed and audited regularly including things like trustee variations and pension documents, but these are often overlooked.

“Binding death nominations is another obvious one. Another one that I am finding is catching people out is the annual trustee resolution,” he said.

“Do you read them? Do you think it is correct? Is it the same one you used last year? Is it the same on all files? These questions need to be asked and answered.”

 

 

 

 

Keeli Cambourne
29 February 2024
smsfadviser.com

 

More Articles

TRANSITIONING INTO RETIREMENT: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Deciding on your retirement funding options comes down to personal choice. . If you’re close to...

Read full article

The Deadliest pandemics in History

Check out the Deadliest pandemics in...

Read full article

Middle-to-higher incomes boosting SMSF growth

The SMSF sector experienced healthy growth over the March quarter, with men and women on middle-to-higher...

Read full article

The superannuation changes from 1 July

The super changes on the way from the start of the 2024-25 financial year. . A number of...

Read full article

Investment and economic outlook, May 2024

Region-by-region economic outlook and latest forecasts for investment returns. . For the last...

Read full article

Downsizer contributions can be time critical

With the expansion of the downsizer contribution, the timing of when it is used can affect how to use...

Read full article

Deeming freeze a win for Age Pensioners

Why the decision to keep deeming rates on hold may be a window for interest rates.   . In...

Read full article

Plan now to take advantage of stage 3 tax cuts

With the stage three tax cuts set to be implemented in around six weeks, opportunities for tax-saving...

Read full article

Sofie Korac is an Authorised Representative (No. 400164) of Prudentia Financial Planning Pty Ltd, AFSL 544118 and a member of the Association of Financial Advisers.

Financial Advice Sydney and the North Shore Office based in Gordon NSW

Financial Services Guide - Disclaimer & Privacy Policy

^