18 June 2021
Some members have been contacting Rest regarding news reports of a death benefit payment related to a Rest member who tragically passed away, and asking why Rest made its decision.
Rest has every sympathy for the late member’s loved ones and all those grieving her, however we can’t comment on the specifics of this matter due to privacy laws.
In general terms, when a member dies, trustees of super funds are required by law to pay the member’s death benefit to a dependant or a legal personal representative, such as an estate. The trustee can only consider paying the death benefits to someone else if they can’t locate either a dependant or the legal personal representative. Under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, a person’s dependant can be “the spouse of the person, any child of the person and any person with whom the person has an interdependency relationship”. Individuals in a de facto relationship are defined as spouses.
If a dependant of a member makes a claim as a beneficiary, Rest must follow its legal obligations. The process of paying a death benefit can involve contested claims and disputes between potential beneficiaries and others. Rest always endeavours to handle situations like these with the utmost sensitivity and sympathy.
Members are able to nominate beneficiaries, however if the nominated beneficiary is not legally valid because the person is not a ‘dependant’ or a legal personal representative, Rest is unable to use that nomination and must make a decision based on superannuation law. Members can make either ‘binding’ or ‘non-binding’ nominations. To understand more about who you can nominate and how to nominate them, click on the links here: