Superannuation funds have been ramping financial advice services but they are not likely to enter the underdeveloped estate planning market in the near future.
This is the view of advisory firm HLB Mann Judd Sydney which recently began its own estate planning entity in a bid to service clients who would otherwise be referred to lawyers when the important financial issue arises.
HLB Mann Judd wealth management partner Jonathan Philpot said he expects super funds will always look to expand their range of services but estate planning was an entirely different area to managing superannuation.
"I would assume just keeping up with the death benefit nominations for super funds and dealing with members - by getting a copy of the will and writing to every single beneficiary to check if they are making a claim on the super - is probably a big enough admin task for them at the moment let alone trying to capture all the other elements and assets that an individual might have. You really do need specialists in that area," Philpot said.
The firm has enlisted prominent estate planning lawyer Robert Monahan to help begin HLB Estate Services. There is about 60 specialist estate planning lawyers in New South Wales.
HLB Mann Judd wealth management partner Michael Hutton said the firm was now driving the process around estate planning than loosely referring clients to lawyers.
"What happens when you die - it's not necessarily a cheery topic. People are quite willing to talk about it but they're just not looking to do anything about it," Hutton told a recent media briefing in Sydney.
"I think it's alarming that one in two people in Australia will die without a will."
Hutton said rules often not understood when someone dies include those around jointly-owned assets; and many people learn more about their financial affairs after going through the estate planning process.
He said options such as testamentary trusts should be considered when passing on wealth to beneficiaries in a tax efficient, asset protected manner.