SMSF industry still working through impacts of changes on estate planning

The SMSF industry is still working through the “far-reaching” changes that took effect on 1 July 2017, according to the SMSF Association.

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney said the changes, which he described as the most extensive in the past decade, fundamentally altered the landscape for SMSF members and advisers. He said the industry was still coming to terms with the impacts in some areas, including estate planning and death benefits.

“In the lead up to 1 July 2017, the industry’s focus was on optimising contributions and reducing pension accounts to under $1.6 million as well as considering CGT relief for those affected by the transfer balance cap and transition to retirement changes,” Maroney said.

“A consequence of this understandable focus on these issues requiring immediate action was less attention being paid to the longer-term strategic consequences of the changes.”

“Now the industry has had time to reflect on the changes, it has recognised the enormous impact on estate planning that wasn’t appreciated at the time the changes were introduced.”

“It’s also had the effect of making death benefits, always a complex issue, even more complex. The reality now is that SMSF members who fail to appreciate what these changes mean, or fail to get specialist advice, could find themselves being forced to move money out of superannuation.”

Maroney said there was “no doubt” the changes increased the complexity and compliance burden of the super system, but that the concerns of the Association had been somewhat allayed after detailed discussions with the Government and ATO.

“But the increased complexity can’t be denied, and advisers are urged to speak regularly with their clients, to streamline and assess their processes, and take every opportunity to increase their technical knowledge,” he said.

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