Popular SMSF Questions Answered – SMSF Trust Deed

The Self Managed Super Fund, or shortly SMSF, is becoming the fastest growing and most popular fund in the superannuation industry all over Australia. This is due to the fact that this fund offers many benefits that are not offered by other super funds, such as: control over your super, potentially reduced costs and ability to manage taxes. With few words, the SMSF is a structure that helps people save for their retirement and is supported strongly by the government through reduced tax rates on investment earnings. In return, the government doesn’t allow access to your super until you retire.


Many people invest their funds in industry or retail superannuation funds – your employer pays your super into arrangement with other members, and the fund is managed by trustees. Another thing which makes this fund different from others, is the ability to have up to four member. All members are trustees and they have the right to make decisions about how the fund should be managed, with a sole purpose of providing benefits to all members. The members of the fund need to follow the law and to complete all paperwork required by the ATO – Australian Taxation Office. If you want to establish your own SMSF, it is recommended to consult with professionals, because this fund is not suitable for everyone.

When it comes to SMSF trust deed, people usually have many questions. Generally, the SMSF trust deed is a legal document that outlines the rules and establishes the fund. Once the trust deed is developed, the fund comes into existence. Every SMSF must have a superannuation trust deed which needs to be updated frequently to be in compliance with the changes in the law and legislation. The trust deed can be modified virtually any time, but the trustees must follow direction for improving the deed which is set out in the original SMSF trust deed. When it comes to superannuation trust deed, here are the most frequently asked questions answered.

Can I Draft My Own Superannuation Trust Deed?

For this question there is just one simple answer – No. A trust deed covers every aspect of your activities related to the fund, and can be stretched to more than 100 pages. It’s unlikely that you could word it correctly. Today a standard SMSF trust deed from some commercial provider will cost you little. If you want to customize the trust deed, then you should talk to a lawyer who is a specialist in trust law and SMSF deeds.

Can My Trust Deed Override Trust Laws?

The trustees of the fund should remember that the trust deed cannot skip the trust law or legislation, and must work within the borderline of the law. For example, maybe you could draw a deed that allows the fund to accommodate money to your family, but you can’t do this legally because it breaches the rules of the SMSF.

What Happens If I lose My Trust Deed?

If for some reason the trust deed is lost, then you have a serious problem. If you lose your superannuation trust deed there will be no evidence that your super fund has been set up correctly. When the fund is analyzed, the auditor will check whether a contemporary copy of the trust deed has been provided. If not, you could be in breach.

What Can I Do?

If your trust deed can’t be found, the government may request from you to set up a new SMSF with the correct paperwork, and to transfer the funds to the new SMSF. Without a superannuation trust deed your fund is non in compliance with ATO rules.

Updating Your SMSF Trust Deed

The rules surrounding the SMSF are changing every year, and sometimes every week by the government. Usually it is stated that the trust deed needs to be updated at least every five years, or once the new law is enacted. You must keep all SMSF trust deed documents from the moment SMSF was set up until the present day.

What Other Changes Need To Be Made?

With time, members of the SMSF may be changed. All these changes must be recorded in your SMSF trust deed documents.