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Nominating a beneficiary

Superannuation can often form a significant part of an individual’s wealth. Therefore, the transfer of such an asset upon their death can potentially cause dispute among the deceased’s family and potentially others.

Unlike assets owned in an individual’s personal name, superannuation does not form a part of their estate when they pass away. Instead, it can pass directly to a beneficiary rather than via a Will. However, this depends on who the beneficiary is and how the nomination was made.

Under superannuation laws, a nominated beneficiary must fall within at least one of the following categories of dependants:

Broadly speaking, beneficiary nominations can be binding or non-binding.

Binding nominations compel the trustee to act on the deceased member’s instructions (provided the nomination is valid). While the trustee must pay the beneficiaries nominated in such a manner, the form of the payment is still left to the discretion of the trustee.

If a deceased individual’s family is blended or has a history of conflict, a binding nomination may be the most appropriate option, as it ensures that the designated beneficiary is provided for according to the deceased member’s specific wishes.

A non-binding nomination is not compulsory for the trustee to follow, and the trustee would use this nomination as a guide in paying out the member’s balance upon their death. Non-binding nominations can provide more flexibility for planning to achieve the most tax effective outcome, especially when the beneficiaries receive different tax treatment.

Posted on 21 October '15 by , under Super.

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What to consider when consolidating your super

The ATO reported that 45% of working Australians were not aware that they had multiple super accounts in 2016. Having multiple super accounts is particularly common for individuals who have had more than one job. If this is you, it is important to identify and manage your super accounts because having more than one can be costly as a result of account fees from multiple funds.To combat this, you may want to consolidate your super, which moves all your super into one account. Not only does this save on fees, but it also makes your super easier to manage and keep track of.

Before consolidating your super, it is important to do the following:

Research your funds' policy
Compare your active super accounts so you can make the right choice about which one you should close. Things to assess include:

  • Exit fees
  • Insurance policies
  • Investment options
  • Ongoing service fees
  • Performance of the funds

Check employer contributions
Changing funds may affect how much your employer contributes, as some employers contribute more to certain funds. Check your current accounts to see if changing funds will affect this. Once you have selected a super fund, regardless of whether you choose a new super fund or one of your existing ones, provide your employer with the details they need to pay super into your selected account.

Gather the relevant information
When consolidating your super, you will need to have the following details ready:

  • Your tax file number.
  • Proof of identity. This could include your driver's license, birth certificate or passport.
  • Your fund's superannuation product identification number (SPIN).
  • Your fund's unique superannuation identifier (USI).
  • Details of your previous fund.

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