Planning for your

Planning for your superannuation

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Your superannuation and your Will

When you’re looking at preparing a new Will or estate plan, superannuation can be a tricky thing to deal with. These days, superannuation often forms a large part of a person’s net worth, not only from the value of accumulated contributions over time, but also due to the effect of life insurance policies owned within the superannuation fund (collectively called a ‘death benefit’).

Who gets my super after I die?

Every superannuation fund has its own rules about how a death benefit is paid out. However, the overriding rules of the superannuation legislation state that death benefits can only be paid to:

  • a dependant of the deceased
  • the executor of the deceased person’s estate, to then be distributed in accordance with the terms of the deceased person's Will.

Dependants are defined as being a spouse (including a de facto spouse), a child or someone else who was financially dependent on the deceased. As such, you can usually pay your superannuation death benefit either directly to your immediate family, or to your estate.

Can I control who gets my super?

As above, every superannuation fund has its own rules about how a death benefit is paid out so it’s hard for us to tell you whether you can or not.

Some funds offer different kinds of nominations, so that you can influence control over your superannuation, as follows:

  • a non-lapsing binding nomination: this is like a Will for your superannuation, and states that your superannuation must be paid in a certain way, and the nomination does not need to be renewed
  • a binding nomination: similar to the above, but which automatically lapses after a fixed period, usually three years
  • a non-binding nomination: this gives the trustee of your superannuation fund a preference for who you would want to receive the death benefit, but is not binding to them. This means that at the time of your death the trustee of your super fund determines who the death benefit should be paid to.

Whether you enter in to a nomination, and who you should nominate, depends on your personal circumstances and what your fund will allow you to do.

If you have any question about the best course of action for you, contact Maurice Blackburn today to speak with an expert in this field.

Is there tax on my superannuation death benefit?

There can be under certain circumstances, particularly if your death benefit ends up in the hands of someone who is not your spouse or a child under the age of 18. If you have any concerns about how you can manage a potential tax liability, we recommend you contact your accountant or financial planner.

Superannuation is a confusing area. If you have questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us—we're more than happy to help.


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