A reminder of the importance of dealing with SMSF balances in estate planning

19 November 2013 Topics: Estate planning

A recent Western Australian case serves as a reminder of the importance of careful estate planning where a self-managed superannuation fund is involved (Ioppolo & Hesford v Conti [2013] WASC 389).

Mrs Conti died with significant balance in an SMSF, of which her husband was the co-trustee and the other member.

Prior to her death Mrs Conti had signed several non-binding and binding nominations directing that her superannuation death benefit should be paid to her husband but these had lapsed.

In her Will, Mrs Conti directed that her superannuation be paid to her children and she expressed her wish that none of her benefit should be paid to her husband.

Mr Conti, (as the sole controller of the SMSF) resolved to pay her entire balance to himself. Mrs Conti’s children (who were the executors under the Will) challenged this decision in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

The Court held that the trustee of the SMSF could pay the death benefit to Mr Conti, and the children failed in their application.

This highlights the special issues involved in estate planning where there is superannuation (and particularly a SMSF) and the importance of thinking through the issues and tailoring an appropriate solution.

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