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Recent decisions have confirmed that the use of a Self-Managed Super Fund (‘SMSF’) may require extra caution for those looking to pass on their belonging to a designated inheritor. Ioppolo and Hesford v Conti [2013] has reconfirmed that for a trustee of a SMSF to be bound by the beneficiaries requested by the deceased, a valid binding direction must be provided before death. In this case,  due to certain conditions having not been met, the previous binding directions were not actioned, and consequently the wife’s wishes were not fulfilled and her children missed out on receiving any super death benefits.

Despite the deceased’s written directions in her Will to have her children awarded with her death benefits, the Court held the view that “the trustee was entitled to ignore the direction in the Will” and entitled to distribute at its discretion.

Therefore, this case highlights the importance of:

– having your estate planning reviewed by legal professionals to ensure it is valid and complies with current laws; and

– considering the succession planning of all your estate and non-estate assets.

If you have not updated your Will in the last few years, your Will may not be compliant with the law. Additionally, if your financial or personal circumstances have changed since your last will, such as the use of a SMSF, this may also have adverse consequences on your beneficiaries.

The estate planning team at MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers Parramatta specialise in providing estate planning advice, drafting and updating Wills, Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship. Contact us to obtain legal advice.