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Who will receive your superannuation when you pass away?

It is important to be aware of the rules surrounding your superannuation entitlements and how superannuation is treated when you die. There is a common misconception that superannuation is treated like all other assets and that it will form part of your estate. This is not the case, there are many rules and regulations governing superannuation and these will determine when and where your superannuation is paid following your death.

When a member of a superfund dies, the fund trustee determines who receives the entitlements based on the fund's rules, the trust deed and other Australian superannuation laws.

The trustee has the discretion to pay the deceased's entitlements to the following (known as dependents):

  • A spouse/de factor partner of the deceased;

  • A child of any age;

  • A person who was financially dependent on the deceased at their death; or

  • A person who was in an interdependent relationship at the time of death.

If there are no dependents (by definition), then the trustee will determine the benefit is payable to the deceased's legal personal representative (their estate).

Superannuation laws allow members to make "binding death benefit nominations" which bind the Trustees to pay your superannuation in accordance with the nomination after the members death.

Binding Death Benefit Nominations

You can only nominate a dependent or your estate. If accepted and valid at the time of death, the trustee must pay your entitlements in accordance with your nomination. To be valid, the nomination must:

  • Be in writing;

  • Witnessed by two people over the age of 18 and who are not nominated beneficiaries; and

  • Be renewed every 3 years (unless the nomination is specifically non binding or a Self

Managed Superannuation Fund) .

How can Nevin Lenne Gross help you?

Principal Lawyer Rebecca Healy is an Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates, she can provide you with expert legal advice in relation to estate planning, including your superannuation entitlements and assist you in making valid binding death benefit nominations.

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