General / Jul 28, 2020

The Power of Reversionary Pensions 

Abra Chowdhury
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by Abra Chowdhury

A reversionary pension is a superannuation income stream that will, on the death of the pension owner, automatically continue to a nominated beneficiary. The beneficiary must meet the SIS definition of dependent both at the time of nomination and when the pension reverts.

A valid reversionary pensioner nomination will generally take precedence over all other death benefit instructions, making it a simple and powerful estate planning tool.

Nominations are usually done at pension commencement, but can be added at a later date.  Be sure you understand any Centrelink implications before making changes.

Reversionary pensions are also treated more leniently for the $1.6 million transfer balance cap, with the value not counting towards the recipient’s cap until 12 months after death of the primary pensioner, compared to non-reversionary pensions which count immediately.

A key estate planning consideration is that death benefit income streams can never be commuted back to the accumulation phase – they can only be taken as a lump sum or rolled over to another death benefit income stream.

As always check the trust deed of your SMSFs to ensure there are no overriding provisions.

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