Breaking up is hard to do!

Splitting up with you partner is bad enough, then there is the advice from your mates to pick yourself up and move on.

What no one seems to advise you is that you should contact your superannuation fund and make sure that your ex is removed as your beneficiary.

Here is a case example:

A young man aged 30 died on impact after he had an accident on his motorbike. Six months before his accident the young man in question had parted from his girlfriend of 10 years. Three months after his accident, his ex girlfriend received a cheque for $120,000.

The young man in question had not notified his super fund that his beneficiary had changed and so his loved ones received nothing. To make matters even worse, the young man did not have a will.

At the time of his death, the young man probably was unaware that his super fund was such a major asset. After being in the workforce for 10 years, his employers 9 per cent super contributions had built up a nest egg worth around $40,000. His super carried a life insurance policy (his death benefit) which paid out on his death an additional $80,000.

Your super beneficiary

Normally when an inappropriate person is named as a beneficiary and there is no will, the fund will ask for evidence to proof that a relationship existed.

Phillip La Greca technical services director of SMSF, Multiport pointed out that most people in this age group do not have a normal eligible dependent. By the term normal refers to spouse, de facto, partner of the opposite sex or children. If there is a will, then the will takes control of the money and decides who will get it.

Mr. La Greca also mentioned that a list of what you own and what you owe should be kept somewhere safe. Information like your car details and rego details, insurance policies outside super, banking details and any other investment details, including credit cards numbers, and loan documents. It should be a list of your financial details stating "this is what I have and what I owe".

Another option is to nominate a sister or a brother as your super beneficiary instead of a girlfriend or a boyfriend. As your circumstances change you may have several people that depend on you for financial support such as a wife, a husband, children from a previous marriage, young children from a present marriage, a mother or father or a sick relative. In these cases, you need to make the super fund trustee aware of these people in case of your untimely death.

Here are some useful super fund tips:

  1. Nominate to the fund trustee who you would want to receive your death benefit. You may be allowed a binding nomination (a dependant or legal representative) which the trustee must follow, or a non-binding nomination (instructions in your will) to guide the trustee.
  2. Keep your nomination up to date, especially if your wishes or personal situation should change (e.g. you remarry or have children.)
  3. Let your fund know if you have more than one dependant. You can explain your wishes for each of them which is far more helpful than giving your fund no guidance at all.
  4. Explain your wishes to your dependents, to help prevent any disputes after you die.
  5. Talk matters over with people who may need to prove their financial dependence on you. It can help to give them easy access to relevant financial records or written agreements about the support you where giving them, in case they need to prove their claim.
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Published on May 5-th, 2009 in Insurance
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.

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