• 23 Mar 2016

Unlock your Superannuation Benefits - Ioppolo&Hesford v Conti [2013] WASC 389

Mr and Mrs Conti were estranged. They retained a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) in which they were sole members and trustees. Mrs Conti made a Will in which she purported to leave her SMSF entitlements to her children. There was even a specific statement in the Will that her husband was not to take her SMSF entitlements. Mrs Conti died without a valid Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN). The SMSF deed stated “in the absence of a binding direction from a deceased member the trustees may in their absolute discretion pay or apply the amount…. to a spouse.” After Mrs Conti’s death, Mr Conti established a corporate trustee as sole trustee of the SMSF and resolved to transfer Mrs Conti’s entitlement to himself. The Court upheld Mr Conti’s action.

Superannuation is something that is often forgotten by people once they pass. Key things to remember:

  1. Trust benefits pass under the trust deed; and
  2. This is a complex area of law, use an experienced estate planning lawyer.