Superannuation Claims

“A Superannuation Death Benefit may include life insurance payable to a nominated beneficiary, however, if no nomination of a beneficiary was made, a claim for the benefits may be made by a person who is able to prove they were financially reliant on the deceased.”

Most superannuation funds in Australia offer their members ‘Death and Disability Benefits’ as an insurance component of their superannuation fund account. Death benefits are payable to a person nominated by the member who holds the account. This nominations is often made at the time of joining the superannuation fund and is known as a ‘binding death beneficiary nomination’.

Do I have a death benefit component in my Superannuation Fund?

You can contact your superannuation fund to enquire about all benefit components within your policy or account.

Do I have to nominate a Death Benefit Beneficiary?

It is always best to ensure that you have nominated a beneficiary to your death benefits, equally important, to change the named beneficiary if the relevant circumstances change. For example, you may have nominated a former partner or a trusted friend and you became re­partnered at a later stage and wish for your new partner to become the beneficiary.

What happens if I do not have a nominated person on my Superannuation Death Benefits?

In the event that a nomination is not in place, the payment of your benefits will be referred to the fund’s Trustee who then decides as to who receives the payment. In the majority of cases, the Trustee passes death benefits to the spouse, a child or a de facto partner of the deceased.

Can the payment of Death Benefits be contested?

Yes, if a fund’s trustee makes a decision on the payment of a member’s death benefits, they must allow for non­payment period of time during which they cannot pay the benefits and must consider any objections or claims made by any parties interested in the payment of the benefits.

Objections to payments of Superannuation Death Benefits can also be made if a nomination is in place but the objector believes that the nomination is invalid. For example, a child of the deceased may object to the payment of benefits to a former spouse of the deceased arguing the deceased had remarried and had children after separating with the former spouse.

Who can make a claim for a deceased’s Superannuation Death Benefits?

Any person of close relationship to the deceased or someone who was financially dependent on the deceased.

Making a claim for Death Benefits.

Generally, the process of making a claim for payment of a superannuation death benefit is as follows:

  • Making a claim for the benefit payment to the superannuation fund.
  • he fund’s trustee must then review the original decision to make the payment.
  • f the claimant is dissatisfied with the trustee’s review decisions, they can make an lodge an appeal with the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. During this phase, the parties will be given an opportunity to negotiate and settle the matter prior to the Tribunal making a decision.
  • If the Tribunal makes a decision and the claimant is unhappy with that decision, they can lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Do I have a valid claim?

Our team of superannuation claims lawyers can assist you with answering this questions. We will assess your claim and provide you with accurate advice on the likelihood of success of your claim. Persons who are considering making a claim for, or objection to the payment of, death benefits, are strongly advised to seek legal advice in relation to the prospects of succeeding in their claims. Do not fall into the trap of falsely convincing yourself that you may not be successful before obtaining advice. We have a strong record of assisting our clients in successfully claiming Superannuation Death Benefits. Contact us today to discuss your claim.

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