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Unlocking the Power of SMSF Wills and SMSF Death Benefits Trusts: A Comprehensive Guide

In the ever-evolving landscape of superannuation and estate planning, the introduction of SMSF Wills and SMSF Death Benefits Trusts has revolutionised the way we protect and pass on our wealth. These innovative legal instruments provide a robust framework for safeguarding assets, minimising tax liabilities, and ensuring a seamless transition of wealth to the next generation.

What is an SMSF Will?

An SMSF Will is an advanced binding death benefit nomination that allows a member of a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) to direct death benefits specifically to dependants, bypassing the estate. Unlike traditional wills, an SMSF Will provides a direct pathway for assets, ensuring that they reach the intended beneficiaries without the risk of family provision claims with the possible exception of NSW where "notional estate" provisions allow the Courts to penetrate superannuation in some cases.

What is an SMSF Testamentary Trust or SMSF Death Benefits Trust?

An SMSF Testamentary Trust, also known as an SMSF Death Benefits Trust, is a specialised trust created through an SMSF Will. It serves as a protective shield for the death benefits, providing tax advantages, asset protection, and a tailored distribution strategy that aligns with the member's wishes. Most people understand a standard testamentary trust arising from a Will. Here we have a SMSF testamentary trust arising from a SMSF Will. We use SMSF Death Benefits Trust so as not to confuse lawyers who have been pushing super into estates for decades to use a standard, family provisions claimable testamentary trust.

Five Benefits of Using an SMSF Will and SMSF Death Benefits Trust

  1. Asset Protection: Safeguards assets from litigation, creditors, and potential family law actions.

  2. Tax Efficiency: Ensures that beneficiaries, even minors, are taxed at adult rates, maximizing the inheritance.

  3. Estate Claim Prevention: Excludes superannuation from forming part of the estate, protecting against family provision claims (except in NSW).

  4. Tailored Distribution: Allows for precise control over how and to whom the death benefits are distributed.

  5. Long-Term Wealth Stewardship: Facilitates responsible management and preservation of wealth across generations.

Case Study: Bob's Wise Decision

Scenario 1: Using SMSF Will and SMSF Death Benefits Trust

Bob, a father, resident of Queensland decides to leave $500,000 in super to his son David using an SMSF Will and SMSF Death Benefits Trust. His daughter Jane is intentionally left out.

  • Outcome: David receives the full amount, protected within the trust. Jane has no legal grounds for a family provision claim against the superannuation.

Scenario 2: Leaving Super to Estate

Bob leaves his super to his estate, directing it to David. Jane makes a family provision claim.

  • Outcome: The super becomes part of the estate, and Jane's claim may succeed, reducing David's inheritance and having it eaten into with significant legal fees.

Why Choose Abbott and Mourly Lawyers?

Abbott and Mourly Lawyers, specialists in SMSF protective estate planning, stand out as the go-to experts in this field. Here's why:

  • Expertise: Unmatched knowledge in SMSF Wills, SMSF Death Benefits Trusts, and related legal instruments.

  • Innovation: Pioneers in protective estate planning, offering cutting-edge solutions.

  • Client-Centric Approach: Tailored strategies that align with individual needs and goals.

  • Real-Time Support: World-class legal technology for immediate assistance.

  • Trust and Reputation: A proven track record of success and client satisfaction.


The strategic use of an SMSF Will and SMSF Death Benefits Trust offers a powerful tool for wealth protection and succession planning. The case of Bob illustrates the profound impact these instruments can have on preserving family wealth and ensuring that it reaches the intended beneficiaries.

Choosing a law firm with the expertise, innovation, and client focus of Abbott and Mourly Lawyers ensures that you are not only leveraging the best legal strategies but also partnering with a team that understands your unique needs and aspirations.

In the complex world of superannuation and estate planning, the right guidance can make all the difference. Trust Abbott and Mourly Lawyers to lead the way.

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