A common misconception arises when people make Wills assuming that their superannuation forms part of their estate and can be gifted in their Will. This is not the case.
Superannuation funds and benefits now comprise a significant part of a person’s wealth.
When considering a Will, a Will maker is surprised when told that superannuation funds do not form part of their estate and are not therefore dealt with as part of their Will.
Superannuation funds and benefits are controlled by the Trustee of the superfund in which the Will makers money is invested. More often than not the superannuation is held in a fund controlled by an external trustee, unless the fund is a self-managed super fund.
This means that it is the trustee of the superannuation fund who will determine to whom your superannuation should be paid. Rather than leave it to the trustees’ discretion and thus ensure that your superannuation is paid to the person (or persons), to whom you wish to benefit it is imperative that a Binding Death Nomination is provided to the trustees of the superannuation fund. The nomination must also be revived, as most funds require, every three years.
It is possible in making such a nomination to direct your trustees that you wish the funds to be paid to your estate, rather than to a nominated person, in which case it can then be dealt with pursuant to your Will.