In most circumstances, superannuation and life insurances do not fall within the “estate” of a deceased person and will not be distributed in accordance with the terms of a person’s Will.
The best way to ensure certainty with respect to whom your superannuation is paid is to ensure you have a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination in place, and to ensure this is updated every three years (for retail superannuation funds).
Preparing or renewing a Nomination is a task that people often forget about and the consequences of failing to ensure a Nomination is in place can have significant consequences after death.
After someone has passed away, it is important to contact their superannuation funds to determine whether the deceased held any superannuation and life insurance entitlements and whether they had a Binding Death Benefit Nomination in place.
If there is a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination in place for an entitlement, the super fund will distribute the deceased’s entitlements to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries.
In the absence of a Nomination, the Trustee of the superannuation fund will be required to make a determination with respect to whom the entitlements are paid, which may be inconsistent with your wishes or an ineffective tax outcome. In this regard, they are required to contact all potential beneficiaries who are then invited to make a claim for the entitlements.
Our team of lawyers can provide you with advice regarding to appropriate direction with respect to your superannuation, to ensure your named beneficiaries are eligible superannuation benefits and any tax payable on your superannuation is minimised.
Importantly, however, you should keep an eye on your superannuation statements to ensure that as the years pass, your Nomination continues to remain valid and binding. This quick task will ensure that your superannuation passes in accordance with your wishes after your death and save your loved ones the protracted process of having to apply to your superannuation fund for your entitlements after your death.
If you believe you may be entitled to a payment from a loved one’s superannuation, we can assist you with the claims process and ensure that you are best placed to receive a fair entitlement. We can also guide you through the process of objecting to a determination made by a superannuation fund, should you disagree with a determination which has been made.