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Special circumstances

Check out Australian Retirement Trust's simple, easy to use glossary of all the different terms you might come across when researching superannuation. Find a clear and simple definition for anything relating to the special circumstances within superannuation, from sole trader superannuation to divorce.



Bankruptcy refers to the situation where a person or business cannot pay outstanding debts. When declared bankrupt a legal procedure is put in place where the business assets or property owned by the individual or business is used to pay debts. Changes to the Corporations Act of 2001 means that employees of bankrupted businesses stand a good chance of getting any outstanding super entitlements paid, as they must be paid before payments to ordinary unsecured creditors. If an individual is at risk of going bankrupt, while they generally won’t be able to access their superannuation balance, they may be able to apply to the government to access their super on compassionate grounds if, for example, their house is at risk of being sold by their mortgage lender.  



The legal dissolution of a marriage is known as a divorce. Divorce can have financial implications for both parties, as it can mean dividing assets and ensuring those previously financially supported by the marriage (such as dependent children) continue to be looked after. A person’s superannuation account is considered as property in the event of divorce so like any other asset it can be divided between the parties by agreement between them or by court order. 


Power of attorney

Appointing a power of attorney gives an individual or organisation the legal authority to look after your affairs on your behalf. Appointing someone as your power of attorney requires you to draw up legal documents about the responsibilities you're happy to entrust to others. There are several types of power of attorneys including general power of attorney and enduring power of attorney. Visit ASIC's MoneySmart website to find out more about power of attorney and superannuation. Please give us a call on 13 11 84 if you'd like to appoint someone as your general or enduring power of attorney. You can provide authority to a third party to access information about your Australian Retirement Trust account without appointing them as your power of attorney. 


Sole trader superannuation

As a sole trader, you generally don’t have to pay super contributions for yourself. However, it may be a good idea to consider contributing to super to help prepare for your retirement. If you are sole trader and make a voluntary contribution to super, you can claim a tax deduction, so you only pay 15% tax on the contribution – rather than the potentially higher tax rate you paid when you first earned the money. Contributions you make and claim a tax deduction on count towards the concessional contribution cap of $27,500 per year. If you have full-time, part-time or casual employees in your sole trader business, you will need to make superannuation guarantee contributions to their super fund. Find out more about who is eligible to receive superannuation guarantee payments.  


Self employed superannuation - For Employers

If you are self-employed and make a voluntary contribution to super, you can claim a tax deduction for the contribution and only pay 15% tax. Contributions you make and claim a tax deduction on count towards the concessional contribution cap of $27,500 per year. To be eligible to claim a tax deduction, you need to have made a voluntary contribution in the current financial year and lodge a notice of intention to claim a tax deduction with your super fund. Note that now anyone who makes a voluntary contribution to super can claim a tax deduction; this may be an alternative to making salary sacrifice contributions. 


Third party authorities

In certain situations you may decide, or need to, allow another person or organisation to access specific information about your Australian Retirement Trust account. These third parties may include accountants,  financial advisers, friends or family members, solicitors or other legal representatives. You can provide authority to a third party to access all information or certain types of account information. You can also choose to provide access to account information until a nominated date, or arrange for the authorisation to remain in place until your revoke it. The third party can only access information, they may not transact on your behalf. You can nominate a third party to access your account information. You can do so via Member Online or through a third party authority form.



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