Elder abuse has the potential to grow among 55 per cent of self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) members aged between 55 and 75, according to the SMSF Association.
The SMSF Association welcomed the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC’s) recommendations in its report on elder abuse, and said the report had found the right balance with its suggested reforms between mitigating this emerging risk without placing overly draconian restrictions on how the SMSF sector was regulated.
The association’s chief executive, John Maroney, said: “In essence, it involves changes to the superannuation laws to ensure that trustees consider planning for the loss of capacity of an SMSF member and estate planning as part of a fund’s investment strategy, and for the ATO [Australian Taxation Office] to be told when an individual becomes a trustee of an SMSF because of an enduring power of attorney [EPOA]”.
“The investment strategy recommendation will ensure that SMSF trustees and their specialist advisers can give greater thought to planning for loss of capacity and ensuring that the right people are assisting SMSF trustees with their fund as they age.”
Maroney also said that the association supported the reform to provide replaceable rules in the limited circumstances where an SMSF trust deed did not appropriately allow a new trustee to be added to a fund where an EPOA is required to be used.
“Similarly, we support the ALRC’s call for a review of the laws regarding binding death benefit nominations for superannuation fund members, acknowledging that this is an area of law that is seeing more disputes among a deceased’s beneficiaries and relatives.”
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is recognised on 15 June every year as designated by the United Nations General Assembly.