Superannuation is a funny thing. It is yours, but you can't
have it yet. It gets paid out when you die, but the money may not
go to whom you would like. You are basically saving all your life
for something you might never receive and you probably don't
even know who is getting it when you die. Black humour? You will
only be laughing if you have the right advice. Angela Harvey,
partner, and Euge Power, solicitor, give some insight on how to
have the last laugh when it comes to leaving your superannuation to
the people who need it most.
Imagine this: You have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands
or even a million dollars or more, and you can't do what you
want with it. You might hold in your hands the opportunity to make
the lives of the ones you love much more comfortable. Arm yourself
with the below information to make sure you leave your
superannuation in the right hands:
I thought: where there is a Will there is a
Although it would seem to make sense to most people, you cannot
simply dispose of your superannuation by stating who it is to go to
in your Will. Arranging who is to benefit from your superannuation
can be a complex and ongoing issue if you do not have an expert
working with you.
Stiff as a board (Psst! I'm talking about the
A trustee of a superannuation fund can be inflexible and rigid
as they must abide by all the various pieces of legislation when it
comes to who will receive the benefits after death of a member of a
fund. The trustee has limited discretion to change to whom a death
benefit is to be provided.
Death and taxes: together at last (but not in the way
Payments of death benefits from superannuation funds can have
lots of different tax consequences, depending on:
Is the benefit being paid to a dependant?
Had the superannuation reached maturity? (i.e. has the member
In which way must the benefit to be paid according to the
Do any assets in the fund need to be sold or transferred to
affect the payment?
All complicating factors in relation to how much tax is paid. An
expert in this area can assist you to pay as little tax as possible
depending on contingency plans for when and who payments are to be
Domination of your nomination to remove expectation of
If your plan is to have your superannuation distributed direct
from the trustee of the superannuation fund, there are ways in
which you can nominate a particular person to receive the funds. A
non-binding death benefit nomination gives some guidance to the
trustee on who to give your hard earned.
A binding death benefit nomination does what it says. However,
the paperwork must jump through a number of hoops to be effective,
and even still, the nomination will only last for 3 years unless it
The complete last laugh package: payment into your
This takes the superannuation trustee out of the picture
entirely. Payment to your estate means it is the words in your Will
which will set out who gets what and when. Taxation issues can be
worked out during your lifetime or during the administration,
whichever is necessary and depending on how much power you give to
The problem with the serious, complex and the seriously complex
things in life, like death and superannuation, is that people
don't want to talk about them, and will tend to leave them
until it is too late. These issues are serious, and they are
complex, but no one is saying you should do it on your own. Expert
solicitors who have knowledge and experience can assist you with
the seriousness, so you can get on with the fun in life. Do this
and you can be assured you will have the last laugh knowing you
have taken care of those who need it most.
There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
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