This story starts like all good stories – at the bar over a few drinks!.
There were two lawyers and a politician at the bar – no seriously, there were! We were at the recent Telstra Business Awards ceremony of which Welden and Coluccio Lawyers were a South Australian finalist, and we got to discussing matters of estate planning with one of the state’s leading politicians.
In that discussion, we raised the all too common issue of the inability of public servants who have their superannuation with Super SA or Triple SSSuper, being unable to make a binding death nomination of their choice.
As all good financial planners and accountants would be well aware, public servants, must have their superannuation paid into a Super SA or Triple SSSuper account, however they have up until this point, unable to nominate anybody to receive their superannuation balance as at the date of their death. Unlike most other retail and industry super funds, Super SA and Triple SSSuper states that where a spouse exists, that in the event of death, the trustees must make payment of any super balance to a spouse.
Unfortunately, sometimes this definitive payment to a spouse lead to unsatisfactory results such as follows:
- When the policyholder has more than one lawful spouse, such as two or more domestic partners, or in the more common scenario, where separation has taken place following the breakdown of marriage, but a lawful divorce has not taken place;
- The policyholder’s surviving spouse has become bankrupt;
- Where a policyholder seeks to make a benefit by the use of a testamentary trust to ensure that any minor child’s inheritance is protected from the potential remarriage of the surviving spouse;
- Where a blended family exists and the deceased’s natural children may miss out altogether as the superannuation fund will directly benefit the second spouse.
However, unbeknownst to us (and the Honourable politician) at the time of having our second, or perhaps fourth drink of the evening, on 16 June 2016 legislation was gazetted in South Australia which resulted in a change to regulations allowing members of Super SA and Triple SSSuper to select their estate to receive the fund balance and associated insurance policies upon death. As such, there now exists the possibility that policy members can nominate someone other than their spouse to receive the benefit upon death.
Accordingly, for all of your clients who are public sector employees, be they teachers for the Department of Education, Nurses or Doctors for the Department of Health, Bus Drivers and Train Drivers for the Department of Transport, any of our emergency services or indeed any other public servant, now is the time to encourage them to undertake an estate plan review with respect to whether a nomination should be made to someone other than their spouse.
We strongly advise that all public sector employees take the time to speak with one of our skilled solicitors at Welden and Coluccio Lawyers in order to have all their documentation reviewed. After all, there is nothing worse than discovering an oversight or in error once it is too late.
For all your estate planning needs and queries call 7225 8703 or Jason direct on 0409 700 007.