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Super and estate planning

Who can be paid a super death benefit?

Section: 14.7

The trustee can pay a super death benefit from a super fund to one or both of the following:

  • the member's legal personal representative (LPR), or
  • one or more of the member's dependants.

A particular fund's trust deed may be more restrictive about who a death benefit can be paid to. Remember to check the trust deed to see if any restrictions apply to the fund you are dealing with.

If the member has died and the trustee, after making reasonable enquiries, has been unable to find either a legal personal representative or a dependant of the member, the trustee may cash the member's benefits in favour of another individual, subject to the fund's governing rules. The trustee must make a decision in relation to the benefit that is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances of all parties who have, or are likely to have, an interest in the death benefit. Interested parties who consider that the trustee's decision is unfair or unreasonable may have the matter dealt with by the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). The SCT is not available to potential beneficiaries of SMSFs; however, general legal recourse is available.

If the trustee is unable to find an appropriate beneficiary, the benefit must be dealt with under the unclaimed money provisions of the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999, administered by the ATO.

Last modified: Tuesday, May 2, 2017