Proposed reform to superannuation death benefits
The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Treasurer to recommend reform to the superannuation death benefit framework in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) (SIS Act) and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth) (SIS Regs).
The Law Council recommends a proposal set out in the submission. The proposal is to simplify and improve the framework by amending the SIS Act to require that all superannuation death benefits form part of the estate of deceased person, except where that person has made a binding death benefit nomination.
In the Law Council’s view, the proposal would:
- provide greater certainty and autonomy for all members of superannuation funds in their succession planning;
- be consistent with key rule of law principles, by:
- providing a clear, consistent and statutorily authorised means to distribute superannuation death benefits;
- determining disputes about distribution through judicial processes, applying settled principles; and
- significantly reduce delays in the provision of superannuation death benefits. Proposed reform to superannuation death benefits.
At the very least, the Law Council recommends that the Commonwealth Government give effect to the recommendation made by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in its 2017 Report, Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response, that the structure and drafting of the provisions relating to death benefit nominations in the SIS Act and SIS Regs be reviewed.1
Read the full submission below.
1 Australian Law Reform Commission, Elder Abuse—A National Legal Response (Report 131, May 2017), Recommendation 7.1 (ALRC Elder Abuse Report).