What Will Happen To Your Super Fund Benefits Upon Your Death?

When someone has contributed to a superannuation fund all their life, it may represent a substantial nest egg. Therefore, this "super" could be of particular interest when settling a deceased person's estate. When you're thinking about crafting your will, you should take specific steps to ensure that this fund is distributed in accordance with your wishes. Otherwise, such decisions may be up to the fund administrator. So, what do you need to know?

Distributing Your Superannuation Fund

Unless there are very specific instructions within your last will and testament, a superannuation fund manager may need to follow a particular legal process. In other words, these third parties may need to decide who will benefit from the asset and how it will be apportioned.

Leaving It up to the Fund Manager

For example, the manager may pay the benefits directly into the estate, where they can be part of the pool. Further action will be in the hands of the executor. However, they could also decide to pay the money directly to your dependents. In this case, they will need to take into account many factors before they proceed.

Some of these factors may include the nature of the relationship and how dependent the beneficiary may have been on view before you passed. They may look at that individual's capability to see if they can support themselves and have their own income in place. The manager may also refer to the general content of the will if you have not been very specific about your super.

Creating a Binding Death Benefit Statement

To take control of the situation and ensure that the benefits of your fund are passed to the right individuals, you need to generate a valid, binding death benefit statement and ensure that it is incorporated into the will. Unless this is couched in a certain way, it may be considered to be "non-binding" by the superannuation fund manager, which will trigger that complex and potentially lengthy process.

Questioning the Fund Manager

Even if you do not include a binding statement, some dependents may be able to question the decision made by the fund manager. There is a complaints process in place and this can even be escalated to a federal complaints authority, but this will involve significant effort and could take time.

Making Sure of Your Position

If you're worried about how your superannuation fund will be distributed and are unsure how to create a binding statement, reach out to an experienced lawyer. They'll be able to put your mind at ease and get all your paperwork in order.

For more information on legal wills, contact a lawyer near you.