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The Importance of Estate Planning for Your SMSF

When it comes to your finances, it’s essential to get professional advice. This is especially true when it comes to your SMSF and your estate plan. Not many people truly understand the importance of estate planning when it comes to their SMSF, which is why we wrote this article.

Self-managed super funds are a growing trend: as of 30 June 2021 there were almost 598,000 SMSFs, an increase of 4% on the previous year, and an increase of 6% over the five years from 2016–17 plus there were almost 1.115 million members of SMSFs in Australia.1

What is an SMSF?

An SMSF, or a self-managed super fund, is a superannuation fund where the members are usually also the trustees. This means that the members have full control over and responsibility for the management and investment of the fund’s assets.

The main advantage of an SMSF is that it allows you to tailor your investment strategy to suit your own unique circumstances. For example, you may invest in a particular type of property or asset unavailable through a traditional super fund.

There are many benefits to setting up an SMSF, including:

  • You have control over how your assets are invested.
  • You can tailor your investment strategy to suit your own needs and goals.
  • You can provide for your family’s future financial security via intergeneration planning.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of preparing for the transfer of your personal or business assets upon your death. It involves deciding how your assets will be distributed and who will receive them. Estate planning can also help to minimise the amount of taxes and fees that will be owed by your estate.

Through estate planning, you can safeguard your wealth and ensure that your intended beneficiaries are well protected in case you pass away rather than hinder their future. Generally, in its simplest form, estate planning can be broken down into three steps:

  1. Understand your assets and your liabilities.
  2. Identify risks. For example, the potential for divorce, or early death.
  3. Creating a plan that is tailored to your needs, family members, personal circumstances, and financial structure.

There are many different aspects to estate planning, and the best way to approach it is to work with an experienced financial adviser and estate planning solicitor. Estate planning can be a complex process, and you want to ensure that all your assets are well-protected and your wishes are carried out.

SMSFs and Estate Planning

SMSFs can play an important role in estate planning. This is because SMSFs can be used to hold assets on behalf of the members of the fund, which can then be passed on to beneficiaries when the member dies.

What’s critical to remember is that even though you may have an estate plan in place – it does not automatically include your superannuation assets, this also applies to self-managed super funds. It is actually the SMSF trustee who decides who receives your death benefits when you die, which must be directed through a valid binding death benefit nomination, not your Will.

It is important to note that there are a number of rules and regulations that apply to SMSFs and estate planning. You should seek professional advice before preparing your estate plan for your self-managed super fund.

Why Estate Planning Matters

Estate planning is the process of structuring your affairs so that your assets pass to your intended beneficiaries in the most efficient and tax-effective way.

There are several reasons why estate planning is essential, not least of which is the fact that it can save your loved ones a lot of money and stress at a time when they are already grieving your loss.

Estate planning can also help ensure that your assets are used in the way you intended and that your wishes are carried out after your death.

If you have an SMSF or are thinking about setting one up, it is crucial to seek professional advice to ensure that your estate planning is done correctly and in line with the relevant laws.

Get Your SMSF and Estate Plan Organised with Coastal Advice Group

Estate planning is vital for everyone, and it is especially important for those with self-managed super funds. Because SMSFs are so complex, it is crucial to have a plan in place in case something happens to the fund member. Get started on your estate planning and SMSF today by seeking professional advice.

If you’re one of the many Australians who worry about your future and wealth, it’s time to get help from professionals who care about your needs. Coastal Advice Group is a team of financial advisers catering to people of all ages who want to secure their finances. We not only have the expertise to provide sound financial advice, but we are also passionate enough to understand your needs and help you secure your financial future.

We have offices located in Newcastle, the Central CoastSydneyPort Macquarie, and Byron BayCall us or book online to secure your first appointment with us today and get started!


  1. https://www.ato.gov.au/Super/Self-managed-super-funds/In-detail/Statistics/Annual-reports/Self-managed-super-funds–A-statistical-overview-2019-20/?page=2#:~:text=At%2030%20June%202021%3A,1.115%20million%20members%20of%20SMSFs.