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Sunday July 03rd, 2011 RSS

News reinforcing the importance of a binding death nomination

Taken from 'Superannuation trustees ignoring the wishes of the dead', The Australian, July 2nd, 2011

TRUSTEES of superannuation funds are overturning the wishes of deceased policy holders, ignoring written instructions in wills and giving away millions of dollars in death benefits to people who claim they are entitled to the money.

The fight over super death benefits is now such a major issue that such cases comprise a third of all complaints made to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, the body established to oversee disputes relating to regulated super funds.

The issue of who gets paid what is being complicated by the decline of the traditional family structure, with fights over money extending to past spouses, adult children from former relationships, current and former de facto spouses, stepchildren and children of de facto spouses. Parents and siblings are also getting involved, angered at the decisions being made. In the wake of a push for people to invest more in their super, leading to a greater funds to fight over, people are recruiting lawyers to fight their cases before the SCT, which was set up so that people would not have to go to that kind of expense.

Appeals to the Federal Court are also taking place when aggrieved people don't get their way, meaning increased legal costs for those involved.

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"Solicitors should (tell people) super is not part of an estate," Ms Furlan said.