Like challenging a will, it is possible to challenge decisions made about who receives a person’s superannuation death benefits. Because of compulsory insurance policies, there is often much more at stake in a person’s superannuation than in their estate. It is important to act quickly and, because of the different rules that apply to different funds, it is important to know which approach to take.
Challenging a Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN)
Many people will put in place a BDBN as part of a strong estate plan, but if the rules aren’t followed precisely a BDBN will not be as binding as a person intended.
Every superannuation fund has its own rules. We know how to wade through the legalese and legislation to determine whether every requirement is complied with, and give you the best possible chance of a positive outcome.
Challenging the Trustees’ decision
Many people do not know that unless they have a valid BDBN in place when they die, the Trustees of their superannuation fund will determine where the death benefit is to be paid – it is not dealt with by their will unless the Trustees decide to pay the benefit into the estate.
Close relatives and dependants of someone who has passed away are able to challenge the decision made by a Trustee. There are different bodies with different rules which oversee different types of funds, so it is important to act quickly and to get advice from experienced solicitors.
Conflicts of Interest
Judgments of the Supreme Courts of Queensland and South Australia in recent years have called into question whether it is appropriate for certain people, like executors or administrators of estates, to apply for the payment of a death benefit personally. If you want to be sure you are not caught out by this changing area of law, or if you want to ensure you do not miss any opportunity, contact us for up-to-the-minute advice.