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Succession planning for SMSF trustees

A responsibility that does not immediately spring to mind when managing a self-managed super fund is working out what will happen if a member becomes incapacitated and unable to perform their trustee duties.

Succession planning for an SMSF can become quite complicated if not managed on an ongoing basis. It not only requires having a plan; trustees also must stay in touch with Australian superannuation rules as time passes.

Finding a replacement trustee can be difficult, and since appointing a replacement trustee, whether as an individual trustee or director of a corporate trustee, gives that person control over the super fund’s assets; particularly its investments and bank accounts, trustees should choose wisely.

Some may opt to appoint an enduring power of attorney (EPoA) as a replacement trustee. An EPoA is someone who is appointed to look after a member’s interests if they can’t do it themselves and can assume the member’s responsibilities (if that is how the fund is structured).

However, for an EPoA nominee to be appointed, legal documents i.e. the succession documents appointing the replacement director must be in place before the member loses their capacity to be a member.

A common misconception surrounding SMSFs is that a trustee’s legal personal representative (LPR) who is appointed under an EPoA can immediately assume the role of trustee of a self-managed super fund.

This is not entirely true, and ultimately depends on the provisions of the fund’s trust deed and whether there are appropriate legal documents in place to make this happen.

Essentially, a fund’s trust deed and corporate trustee company constitution should include the ability to easily appoint a successor trustee or director who assume the role of a member, should that member lose the capacity to perform their trustee duties.

Posted on 15 March '16 by , under Super.

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What to consider when consolidating your super

The ATO reported that 45% of working Australians were not aware that they had multiple super accounts in 2016. Having multiple super accounts is particularly common for individuals who have had more than one job. If this is you, it is important to identify and manage your super accounts because having more than one can be costly as a result of account fees from multiple funds.To combat this, you may want to consolidate your super, which moves all your super into one account. Not only does this save on fees, but it also makes your super easier to manage and keep track of.

Before consolidating your super, it is important to do the following:

Research your funds' policy
Compare your active super accounts so you can make the right choice about which one you should close. Things to assess include:

  • Exit fees
  • Insurance policies
  • Investment options
  • Ongoing service fees
  • Performance of the funds

Check employer contributions
Changing funds may affect how much your employer contributes, as some employers contribute more to certain funds. Check your current accounts to see if changing funds will affect this. Once you have selected a super fund, regardless of whether you choose a new super fund or one of your existing ones, provide your employer with the details they need to pay super into your selected account.

Gather the relevant information
When consolidating your super, you will need to have the following details ready:

  • Your tax file number.
  • Proof of identity. This could include your driver's license, birth certificate or passport.
  • Your fund's superannuation product identification number (SPIN).
  • Your fund's unique superannuation identifier (USI).
  • Details of your previous fund.

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