Why does estate planning need a specialist?......... When Ruby died all she had was her superannuation totalling $92,000.00.
She indicated that her intention was for the trustees of the fund to pay the money to her two adult sons rather than her life partner of 18 years. However, Ruby did not have a binding death benefit nomination.
Her life partner of 18 years met the definition of a de facto spouse and as such was eligible (possibly entitled) to receive Ruby’s superannuation death benefit. The trustee of the fund has to exercise their discretion in deciding how Ruby’s death benefit should be distributed.
It would have been better if Ruby had put in place a binding death benefit nomination. It would have avoided the uncertainty and family anguish. If the de facto spouse’s financial position was deemed sufficiently strong the two boys may have been able to negotiate with the trustee of the fund to receive a reasonable amount from the death benefit payout. Not the happiest position for the family to find themselves in given their mother’s intention to them to receive the money, highlighting the necessity for financial planning that understands all aspect of, and specialises in, estate planning.