Superannuation benefits where there is no binding death nomination

When someone passes, it is a difficult time especially when you depend upon the deceased person for financial support and security.

We recently acted for the de-facto partner of a deceased man in respect of superannuation entitlements. He lived in a de-facto relationship with our client for approximately 25 years. He had no children. The deceased and our client were both pensioners at the time of his passing.

The deceased died without a will.

Apart from a vehicle, he had no assets other than his superannuation. We were able to identify two relevant superannuation policies, one in which he had nominated our client with a binding death nomination and the other he had not.

Our client was required to produce certain documentation to the first fund in order to receive the preserved superannuation amount and the insurance component. This process was easy and straightforward due to the existence of the binding nomination.

In relation to the second fund where there was no binding nomination, our client was required to prove her relationship with the deceased in order to satisfy the Trustee of the superannuation fund that she was the de-facto partner of the deceased. This involved a detailed statutory declaration from our client along with statutory declarations from witnesses to provide independent evidence of the relationship.  We obtained years of rental receipts to evidence that they had rented a property together for a number of years along with telephone bills and electricity bills.

We were successful in establishing the relationship which enabled a total of over $200,000.00 in preserved superannuation and insurance benefits to be paid to our client.

This case study serves as a reminder to be aware of your binding death nomination with your superannuation fund and to keep it up to date. This can often be as simple as downloading the relevant form from your super fund’s web page to complete and return to your fund.