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Superannuation Death Benefit Claim – What You Need to Know

Upon death, superannuation is considered a trust asset, it is not an asset of a deceased’s estate.

In many cases, the funds that make up the deceased’s superannuation will not only comprise the deceased’s member account balance, but also a death benefit payment. Sometimes, this significantly increases the value of the trust asset.

If the deceased member had a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination, the trustee of the superannuation fund will be bound by that Binding Death Benefit Nomination.

However, if a deceased member did not have a Binding Death Benefit Nomination, the trustees of the fund will be entitled to exercise their discretion to determine who will receive the deceased’s superannuation death benefit.

Should I be lodging a superannuation death benefits claim?

If you were the spouse, de facto partner, child or in a close personal relationship with a deceased member, you may be eligible to make a claim for their superannuation death benefits.

You are not always going to be made aware of your eligibility to make a superannuation death benefits claim; therefore, you should consider it your responsibility to investigate your position and seek advice.

Things to consider when making a superannuation death benefits claim

  1. There is no legislated time frame for a person to be considered a de facto partner, or an interdependent of a deceased. This is different to making a family provision application in Queensland, where it is necessary to have been living with the deceased on a genuine domestic basis for a minimum period of 2 years ending on the deceased’s death.
  2. It is important to consider the superannuation fund’s trust deed. All superannuation funds are governed by a trust deed. In some cases, there are terms in the trust deed which direct the trustee of the superannuation fund to make payment to the deceased’s dependents where there is no Binding Death Benefit Nomination.
  3. If a superannuation fund trustee has exercised its discretion improperly, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. This is an external body with the ability to consider the decision and either affirm, vary, set aside or substitute the decision.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to seek advice in relation to making a superannuation death benefits claim.

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The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, Wills, Estates and Probate Lawyers (WEP Lawyers) cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. WEP Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. WEP Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.

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Written by—

Chloe Kopilovic

Call 07 3035 4077 to speak with our team now