How You Own Assets Impacts Your Estate

WEALTH can be held in a variety of ownership forms. Estate planning requires a careful and considered examination of ownership structures to determine exactly what will fall within your estate and what will not, and to plan as appropriate for the ultimate control of these assets. 

Increasingly, more and more
of an individual’s wealth will be
held outside the estate.

These non-estate assets will include real estate and other property held as joint tenants, assets held within a company or trust, assets held within a superannuation fund (self managed or otherwise) and certain insurance policies. 

If you have your super invested in a large retail fund, it is important to understand how the death benefit will be paid. Enquiries should be made to determine whether the fund offers the ability to make binding death benefit nominations and, if so, the fund’s requirements for doing so. This is an area Yield assist our clients.

Equally important is when a family pools their wealth in a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF). Unfortunately it is often not until a member of a SMSF dies that anyone turns their mind to what needs to be done about the superannuation death benefit. Problems can arise: where there is uncertainty about the regulatory and trust deed requirements; where tax implications have paralysed those responsible for finalising the member’s affairs; or where there is a dispute about who should receive the benefit. 

It is at your peril that this is ignored, as increasingly, more and more of an individual’s wealth is held outside the estate. 

The rules of Superannuation mean that death benefits can only be paid to one or more of the member’s dependants, the deceased’s legal personal representative (being the executor of the will or administrator of the estate of a deceased person) or to any non-dependant where a dependant or Legal Personal Representative cannot be identified. 

Due to the fact that there is a degree of inflexibility as to who can receive superannuation death benefits directly, if a member wants to benefit a person who is not a ‘dependant’ for superannuation law purposes, this can generally be achieved only by having the benefit paid to the Legal Personal Representative and this must be applied to the required beneficiary under the Will. 

Yield Financial Planning help our clients structure their assets with the end in mind. We know from experience that this can avoid painful mistakes at the worst possible time.

For any Estate planning queries, please contact us for a confidential discussion. 

Lachlan Vallance
Accredited Specialist - Wills & Estates                                                                                 




The content of this presentation is intended to be general information only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Each person should consider its appropriateness having regard to these matters or obtain relevant professional financial advice before making any financial decisions.  Examples are illustrative only. Each person should obtain any relevant professional financial, taxation and social security advice before making any financial decisions.