Superannuation 

"Nominated-beneficiaries"

This page is not directly related to will-making. We include it because it is of potential benefit no matter how you make a Will.

Compulsory superannuation has created a generation of people with superannuation entitlements.

Those referred to in the media are generally the older people who have had the opportunity to accumulate a "nest egg", having been encouraged by tax breaks to do so.

But what about young people?

Most young people outlive their parents of course, but some do not. Accidents, suicide and drug related deaths do happen.

We are often approached by the surviving parents who say that the superannuation company will not release super entitlements without probate (or Letters of Administration in cases where there is no Will). Some parents find that a child's small (sometimes multiple) superannuation entitlements are significantly reduced by the cost of getting probate.

A much better arrangement is for super companies to hand over the entitlement without probate, and some companies do seem to make allowance for that by letting members nominate those who will benefit from the policy. This is usually done on a "Binding Nomination" form.

Any person with a superannuation entitlement can help their next of kin by nominating them as beneficiaries. 

Be aware that there has been a lot of controversy in recent years about superannuation companies refusing to do what the Will says about superannuation assets, claiming that the superannuation asset in effect belongs to the superannuation company and does not form part of your estate. So if you make a binding nomination that names your husband/wife as your beneficiary, make sure that the superannuation company is going to respect your nomination.  Note also that the binding nomination must be renewed every 3 years or else the trustee of the superannuation fund does not have to honour it.

Note also that since October 2010 all superannuation balances under $200 are transferred to the Australian Tax Office. This makes them easier to locate in the future - one solution to the widespread problem of young people changing jobs and leaving small super entitlements behind.

To search for unclaimed money or unclaimed superannuation balances, start with the ASIC website.

We include below one example of a Binding Nomination form from a superannuation company. We don't suggest you use that sample - we include it merely to indicate the sort of information that might be included in a nomination. Your own super company will have its own. It will differ in detail but serve the same purpose. You should read it because it is important.

Sample superannution nomination  NEXT: Organ donations