Editor: In a recent speech, Kasey Macfarlane, Assistant Commissioner, SMSF Segment, Superannuation, discussed the issues facing SMSFs and their aging trustees. The following is an excerpt from her speech.
Planning ahead – cognitive decline
"I'd like to touch on the increasingly important topic of cognitive decline. Dementia is on the rise and currently affects one in ten people over 65, and three in ten over 85."
"Even mild dementia will affect a person's ability to make financial decisions. SMSF numbers continue grow, and . . . require a high level of financial decision making.
"While many trustees remain perfectly capable of effectively managing their financial affairs well past retirement age, there is a risk that some with diminished capacity to effectively manage their fund may nevertheless continue to do so.
"As my colleague Matthew Bambrick said back in March, 'These issues are a time bomb waiting to go off if not addressed now'.
"It's essential to ensure that all trustees are genuinely involved in managing SMSF funds, to agree in advance about decision points and exit decisions, to have a will, and appoint an enduring guardian and power of attorney."
Editor: If you would like to discuss this important issue further, please contact our office.