An SMSF can have up to four individual members, each of whom must be a trustee of the fund. Alternatively, an SMSF can have a company as a corporate trustee, with each member of the SMSF being a director of the company and each director of the company being a member of the SMSF.
Most SMSFs are established with individuals as trustees – around 80% according to ATO statistics.
To protect all members of your fund, no member can be the employee of another member, unless they are related.
Can you have a single member SMSF?
Yes, but you have to have either:
- a private company as a Trustee (also known as a Corporate Trustee), or
- a second Trustee (a natural person) resident in Australia, with a TFN, who has no criminal convictions and is not a bankrupt.
We charge a fee of $950 to set up a Corporate Trustee. We explain the pros and cons of using a corporate Trustee here.
Legal personal representatives
A legal personal representative can be a trustee of an SMSF (or director of a corporate trustee) in place of a member who is under a legal disability (except for undischarged bankrupts). A representative may also be a trustee of an SMSF if they hold an enduring power of attorney in respect of the SMSF member. This can be done when a member is overseas.
Children in an SMSF
Children under the age of 18 can be Members of an SMSF but, as minors, they cannot be Trustees. A parent or guardian usually acts as trustee in place of an underage child. In certain cases, a legal personal representative may be appointed to the position.
Death of an SMSF member
A legal personal representative can be a trustee (or director of a corporate trustee) in place of a deceased SMSF member until the deceased member’s death benefits are paid from the SMSF.