An article written by Amy Pallister, a Solicitor located at our Campbelltown & Narellan offices
Superannuation is generally not covered by a will, unless the necessary arrangements are made with the superannuation fund. Recently I have been assisting a client to make a claim for the superannuation of her de facto partner who recently passed. Her partner had not made a will nor nominated a beneficiary with his superannuation fund.
A beneficiary nomination can be binding or non binding. Where a non binding nomination has been made, each superannuation fund has its own rules and processes to determine the most appropriate beneficiary with it often being paid to the spouse and minor children over non dependent children. If a binding nomination is in place, the superannuation fund is obligated to pay the funds to the nominated beneficiary. With these types of nominations so it is important to regularly review them to prevent your funds being paid to someone that you would not want to receive them if your circumstances changed since making the nomination.
The superannuation fund rejected our client’s claim for the super to be paid to her and determined that as there was no will, the superannuation formed part of the estate and they required Letters of Administration to payout the super. This is an order of the Court which allows an appointed person to collect and distribute the estate assets in the absence of a will. Our client has had to apply to the Court for this order which has cost her a few thousand dollars in court filing fees and legal fees. The application to the Court is expected to take around two months to be reviewed and the order granted which delays access to funds that our client needs as a now sole income earner.
The superannuation fund’s decision was made despite our office providing the fund with details of the deceased’s extended family members and their contact details which is part of the ordinary process of making a claim where no binding nomination has been made. This would have allowed the fund to contact the relevant people and notify them of our client’s claim and allow them to make their own claim for consideration by the fund before they determined how to payout the funds.
Whilst obtaining Letters of Administration is not ordinarily required for payout of superannuation where no appropriate nomination has been made, the process for collecting superannuation takes longer and is more complicated than what it would be with a nomination in place. It could cost you unnecessary time and money as our client has experienced in this matter.
This article was published on 13/02/23 and the information is valid only to the date of publishing. This article should be considered merely general and non-specific on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal, advice. Meehans Solicitors is not responsible in the event this information is relied upon by the reader in the absence of specific legal advice.