You may have questions about who is entitled to a death benefit from a superannuation fund. The benefit also includes any insurance payout that is designated to a beneficiary. The holder of a superannuation account, who makes a binding nomination, guarantees that the death benefit will go to a designated recipient. If no binding designation is made, the death benefit will go to a dependent, interdependent, or the estate.

Dependent and Interdependent

A dependent is anyone who was supported by a decedent at his or her time of death. Therefore, a dependent can be a de facto partner, spouse, or a child, including a stepchild or adopted child. An interdependent is someone who had a close relationship with the deceased and received financial support or lived with deceased.

In some cases, the death benefit is paid to the estate. In this instance, you may need assistance from superannuation lawyers. When a death benefit is paid to an estate, the administrator or executor may need to apply for a grant.

Paying Out a Death Benefit

Before any disbursement is made, the fund considers the relationship of the beneficiary with the decedent as well as the beneficiary’s financial requirements. If a recipient is under the age of 18, the death benefit may go to the guardian or parent of the named beneficiary. It may also be paid to a New South Wales (NSW) Trustee and Guardian where it will be held until the individual reaches 18.

What to Do If You Believe You Should Have Received a Benefit

If you believe you are entitled to a superannuation benefit, you must seek an internal evaluation.  This evaluation should be reported to the superannuation fund within a 28-day period from being notified. At this point, you need to explain why you believe the decision is wrong and supply supporting documentation. This supporting paperwork is to show your dependency or relationship with the deceased.

If you are still not satisfied with the superannuation fund’s decision, you are entitled to apply, within 28 days, to the superannuation complaints tribunal. However, before requesting an internal review, you should obtain legal consultation about the complaint. Naturally, it is easier to discuss the process with a lawyer that specialises in these types of complaints or contact a law firm that handles superannuation law cases.

The superannuation complaints tribunal is set up to manage complaints about funds that are regulated. The court is not designed to handle complaints about funds that are self-managed. Before any complaint is lodged, check the fund type. Try to resolve any dispute with the fund first before submitting a claim. If you file a complaint with the superannuation complaints tribunal, it will set up a phone conference to resolve the issue and settle the grievance.

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