Superannuation and death benefit disputes2022-06-01T06:06:21+00:00

Superannuation and Death Benefit Disputes

An overview of the situation:

In 1987 the total value of assets held in superannuation funds in Australia was 41.1 billion dollars. Compulsory superannuation was introduced in Australia in 1993 and according to Richard Williams and Brian Herd ‘The most recent superannuation statistics issued by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) indicate that, in Australia, superannuation assets total more than AUD1.62 trillion.

Some AUD970 billion is held by APRA-regulated superannuation entities. Self-managed superannuation funds (‘SMSF’), of which there are more than 500,000, regulated by the Australian Taxation Office, hold AUD506 billion of assets, and exempt public-sector superannuation schemes AUD142.9 billion.’ Arguably the next 35 years is going to see one of the largest non-probate wealth transfers in Australian history. Superannuation (and any life insurance benefits held by the fund) are a trust asset and not an asset of a deceased’s estate. Nominations are not considered to be a testamentary disposition and therefore need not comply with the same formal requirements wills. Although possible under superannuation law, the payment of superannuation to the legal personal representative is infrequent in comparison to payments made directly to dependants. The legal personal representative is often paid as a last priority with the trustees preferring to pay dependants directly. In both retail and self-managed funds, a member may direct the trustee to pay the proceeds of the fund, in whole or in part, to beneficiaries. This is known as a binding death benefit nomination (‘BDBN’). The use of BDBNs is a common asset minimisation strategy for estate planning lawyers seeking to reduce the available assets of the estate and insulate them from potential attack.

Fixed & Deferred Fees

Most people can’t afford big legal bills. You shouldn’t be worried about money when a loved one dies. In most estates we manage, fees are taken entirely from the estate once the assets become available.

The other unique approach or firm takes towards billing is that it does not provide time charged services. We only provide fixed fee quotes which never change. This avoids cost blow outs and over servicing which regrettably does occur within the legal profession.

Instant Engagement

The purpose of the meeting is to assist families to navigate the minefield of bureaucracy. If nothing more, we hope to help families understand the processes of winding up an estate from start to finish so that they are at least off on the right track.

We can assist our clients to send identification, approve quotes and cost agreements all at the press of a button. Secondly, our firm has developed long standing relationships with other professionals including but not limited to accountants, realtors, valuers, auctioneers and conveyancers.

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