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Superannuation death benefits claim

When a person has died, it is commonplace for their dependants (eg spouse and/or children) to put in a claim for payment of the deceased’s superannuation to them personally rather than the executor named in the Will requesting that those funds be paid into the estate and distributed after Probate has been obtained.

However, in recent cases, the Courts have made it clear that if the person making a superannuation death benefits claim is also the executor or administrator of the estate, they need to proceed with caution and can be liable to refund the superannuation death benefits to the estate.

This is because the executor or administrator of an estate has legal duties which include a duty to:

  1. collect the deceased’s assets on behalf of an estate; and
  2. not pursue their own personal benefit where it conflicts with their duty to act in the best interests of the estate’s beneficiaries.

This conflict of interest issue can be totally avoided if a valid Binding Superannuation Death Benefit Nomination is put in place and the terms of that Nomination are reflected in your Will.

This issue can be particularly relevant where:

  1. you specifically wish a person who is not named as a beneficiary in your Will to claim the superannuation benefits;
  2. you have children from a previous relationship; and/or
  3. you have a self-managed superannuation fund.

To read more about the recent cases click here

To find out more about how we assist our clients with their estate planning, Please contact Leanne Matthewson, on 07 4616 9898 or click here to send an email.

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be viewed as broad guidance only. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render advice. No one should rely on the information contained in this publication without first obtaining professional advice relevant to their own specific situation.

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