MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE DEATH BENEFITS

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1 MAURICE BLACKBURN LAWYERS SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE DEATH BENEFITS

2 02 MAURICE BLACKBURN YOU RE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. If you are hurt, injured, or are facing an unfair situation, you and your family shouldn t have to suffer. That s why we never stand back when bad things happen to good people. At Maurice Blackburn we believe that the law should serve everyone. Who you are or where you re from, it doesn t matter. You re worth fighting for. Maurice Blackburn was born from one man s belief in making a difference to people s lives. Nearly 100 years on these values remain a powerful influence on everything we do. We exist to fight for your rights. For what you deserve. When life isn t fair we ll help you to fight for everything you re entitled to. Because at Maurice Blackburn, we fight for fair.

3 03 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE Superannuation death benefits Super funds all have death payments which are usually contributions plus any insurance benefits. Some government super funds pay pensions to surviving partners or children. Super death benefits are usually paid to a surviving partner, children or dependants or to the deceased s estate. Superannuation death benefits Super funds all have death payments which are usually contributions plus any insurance benefits. Some government super funds pay pensions to surviving partners or children. Super death benefits are usually paid to a surviving partner, children or dependants or to the deceased s estate. What are superannuation death benefits? Most superannuation funds have two types of benefits: the money paid into the fund by you and your employer (plus any investment earnings), and Some other funds pay lump sums or pensions calculated as a percentage of your salary and depending on whether you leave the fund because of resignation, disability or death. These are called defined benefit funds and include funds such as Vision Super and Telstra Super. You may have more than one superannuation fund and multiple death or disability benefit claims. Check your annual statements for your death and disability cover and get advice before changing jobs or amalgamating your old superannuation funds because you might lose valuable insurance cover. See help at the end of this brochure. insurance benefits for death or disability which top up your superannuation if you die or become disabled while you re an active member of the fund. These are called accumulation funds and include funds such as AustralianSuper and REST.

4 04 MAURICE BLACKBURN Who gets superannuation death benefits? If you die, your superannuation will usually be paid to your dependants or to your estate at the discretion of the trustee of the superannuation fund. Dependants means: your legally married spouse de facto spouse (heterosexual or same sex) children (although sometimes only those under 18) financial dependants (total and partial), and interdependents (those people with whom you have a close personal relationship, as well as live with and provide each other with financial and domestic support and personal care unless unable to do so because of a disability). When you join a super fund you are asked to nominate who gets your super if you die. Most nominations are non-binding which means that the trustee will take them into account but are not bound by them. If the trustee pays the superannuation death benefit to your estate, it may be claimed by your creditors. However, if it s paid to your dependants, it doesn t go via your estate, so your creditors can t get the money. Binding nominations Some funds have binding death benefit nominations which means that as long as the nomination is valid, the trustee must pay the money as directed. To be valid, the nominee(s) must be your dependants (as above) at the date of death, or your legal personal representative (the executor of your Will). If you want the certainty of knowing who will get your super, or if you want money to be left to non-dependants such as a charity: contact your super fund(s) and ask if they have binding nominations if so, ask them to send you binding nomination forms if not, you could consider transferring your super to a fund that has binding nominations (get advice before doing this) fill in the form making sure your nominated person(s) are dependants or your legal personal representative sign the form in front of two witnesses who must also sign the form. The witnesses must be over 18 and must not be nominated beneficiaries send the form back to the fund you will have to redo the nomination every three years and you can make changes to the nominations at least every year, and if you are nominating your legal personal representative, you should keep your Will up-to-date.

5 05 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE Claims process Once the trustee is told about a member s death, they will try to identify anyone who may want to claim, called claims staking. If you want to claim a superannuation death benefit you should: contact the super fund and ask for a claim form fill it in setting out your relationship with the deceased, including any financial dependency, and send in the completed form with any other relevant documents such as a death certificate, marriage certificate and financial documents showing dependency. If there is a binding nomination, the trustee will check to see whether any nominee(s) were dependants at the date of the member s death and whether the nomination form was properly completed and witnessed. The trustee will identify who are dependants of the deceased. They will then decide who gets what money mainly based on the extent to which each person would have relied on the deceased for financial support had he/she lived on. If there is a valid binding nomination, the trustee will have to pay the money to the nominee(s) and in the nominated percentages. Terminal illness If you have less than 12 months to live, you can access all your super immediately and tax free. This includes the accumulated contributions and maybe terminal illness insurance benefits. To claim: contact the super fund and ask for a terminal illness claim form get certificates from two doctors (one a treating specialist) stating that you have less than 12 months to live, and send the completed forms to the fund. Most terminal illness claims take one to two months, although this can vary. Important note: If you take all your super out of a fund, you may lose valuable death and disability insurance cover. It is very important you get advice before making a terminal illness claim. See help. Most superannuation death benefit claims take approximately two to three months, although this can vary. Most death benefit claims are uncontroversial, even though they can involve a lot of paper work and mucking around. However, in some cases there can be disputes between family members, partners and other parties which can be legally and emotionally very difficult. If you find yourself in this situation, see help.

6 06 MAURICE BLACKBURN Government superannuation funds State and Federal public servants have been covered by superannuation schemes for many years. State superannuation State superannuation schemes such as New South Wales State Authorities Super or First State Super* Victoria Emergency Services and State Super (ESSS) or VicSuper* Queensland QSuper* South Australia SuperSA* Western Australia Gold State Super or GESB* Northern Territory Northern Territory Government Super Tasmania Retirement Benefits Fund *Are defined benefits schemes which pay lump sums or pensions. The amount depends on whether you stop work because of resignation, retirement, disability or death. I cannot find the exact words to express my gratitude except for the fact that you have achieved justice for me and my family. I remain indebted to you for the professional, honest and kind service. Superranuation client

7

8 08 MAURICE BLACKBURN Commonwealth superannuation Most Federal public servants are members of the Commonwealth Super Scheme (CSS), Public Sector Super (PSS), PSS Accumulation Plan (PSSAP) the Military Super and Benefit Scheme (MSBS) or the Australian Government Employees Super Trust (AGEST). If a member dies, the schemes (except PSSAP & AGEST) pay defined benefit pensions or lump sums to any surviving partners (spouse or de facto heterosexual or same sex) and children and if none, lump sums go to the deceased s legal personal representative. AGEST and PSSAP are accumulated contribution funds with death insurance benefits. They pay a lump sum on death to any dependants or the legal personal representative of the deceased member. They also allow for binding nominations. Claims Government superannuation death benefit claims are basically made the same way as other superannuation schemes, although different time limits can apply. Contact Maurice Blackburn for advice. Maurice Blackburn has the largest and most experienced Superannuation team in Australia. We ll fight to win your claim and clearly explain your rights and entitlements. Other life Insurance You might have other insurance or superannuation policies that also pay death benefits. Many employers arrange death insurance benefits for their employees, such as through Incolink, Protect or International Underwriting Services (IUS). Some people have their own superannuation policies that might include death benefit lump sums. Some people also have their own life insurance policies. Call Maurice Blackburn to check for possible claims.

9 09 SUPERANNUATION & DISABILITY INSURANCE Tax on death benefits Generally, superannuation lump sums paid to dependants (spouse, de facto, children under 18, financial dependants and interdependents) are tax free. Super lump sums paid to anyone else will be taxed at 15% plus the Medicare levy. This tax is in addition to the contributions tax deducted from concessional contributions paid into the fund (employer contributions and salary sacrifice contributions). However, the trustee of a super fund can refund the contributions tax (called an antidetriment payment) to the dependants of the deceased member. Terminal illness benefits are tax free. However, no anti-detriment payment can be made to the dependants of a former super fund member who withdrew all their super on grounds of terminal illness. Superannuation disability pensions are generally taxed but at a concessional rate, while reversionary death benefits (paid to dependants after someone has died) are either tax free or also concessionally taxed. Non-super life insurance benefits are usually not taxed. The information above is general and it is important to get advice from a tax expert. Complaints and appeals You or any other person can appeal a superannuation fund trustee s decision about a death benefit. any further evidence about the nature of your relationship to the deceased, the extent to which you would have looked to the deceased for on-going financial support, or why you think any binding nomination was valid or invalid. The trustee will make a new decision and notify all the relevant parties in writing. If you or anyone else is unhappy with the Section 101 complaint decision, a further appeal can be lodged to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). This tribunal is a statutory ombudsman scheme set up to deal with complaints against decisions of super funds and insurance companies. Important note: You have 28 days to lodge a Section 101 complaint or an SCT complaint from when you are told by the trustee in writing of the relevant death benefit decision. The letter must tell you of the time limit. Alternatively, you can take your case to court. The time limit for lodging a court case from a trustee s decision varies from state to state it might be as little as six years or as much as 15 years. Decisions of state government super schemes can be appealed to the state administrative tribunal. Time limits apply. Decisions by life insurance companies can be appealed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Again, time limits apply. It is important to get advice before you lodge any complaint or appeal. See help. The first appeal (called a Section 101 complaint) must be made back to the trustee who then has 90 days to make a new decision. If you lodge a Section 101 complaint you should include why you think the trustee s decision was wrong providing

10 10 MAURICE BLACKBURN Help It s really important to get expert advice and help with any superannuation or insurance death and disability claims. Maurice Blackburn has helped thousands of people get hundreds of millions of dollars in superannuation benefits. Maurice Blackburn has the largest department dealing with super claims in Australia. We have offices in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA, and we can make an appointment to see you at our local office. We re experts in tracking down your superannuation and will take on your claim on a no win, no fee* basis. To check if you have a superannuation claim, call us on our helpline More information is also available on our superannuation and insurance website. Go to mauriceblackburn.com.au. *Conditions apply Checklist for superannuation or insurance claims Have you stopped work? Are you on a Centrelink Disability Support Pension? Are you on a workers or motor vehicle accident compensation? Have you ever had: employment super? income protection insurance? employment disability insurance? private super? life insurance? mortgage protection insurance? trauma insurance? If you answered yes to any of the above (or if you re not sure), contact Maurice Blackburn to check for a possible claim.

11 CONTACT US If you are considering legal action or want to fight for your rights, get in touch and we can assess what you need or arrange for a meeting with one of our lawyers. For most practice areas, your first consultation is free (business hours) mauriceblackburn.com.au Superannuation & Insurance Claims Work Related Injuries Road Accident Injuries Medical Negligence Asbestos Diseases Public Liability Faulty Products Comcare Will Disputes Employment & Industrial Law Class Actions Social Justice You are welcome to drop into one of our offices nationwide. Call us or visit the website for more details: Victorian Offices (03) Melbourne Dandenong Frankston Geelong Greensborough Mildura Reservoir Ringwood Sunshine Traralgon Wangaratta Queensland Offices (07) Brisbane Browns Plains Caboolture Cairns Gold Coast Ipswich Mackay Rockhampton Strathpine Sunshine Coast Toowoomba Townsville NSW Offices (02) Sydney Parramatta Western Australia Offices (08) Perth Hamilton Hill ACT Office (02) Canberra South Australia Office (08) Adelaide We also have visiting offices in the other states and territories.

12 Maurice Blackburn is a leading Australian law firm certified to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Information correct at 1 April This brochure is a general guide to dealing with Superannuation claims and is not a substitute for professional advice in this area. Maurice Blackburn is proud to be carbon neutral (see our website for details). This brochure is printed on ecostar Silk. Made with 100% certified post consumer waste fibre, it is produced with a carbon neutral manufacturing process and has been made in a facility that operates under the ISO Environmental Management System. MB4184_NATSDEB 03/15

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