Superannuation is not automatically covered by your Will

For many of us, superannuation is one of our biggest assets. It may even be worth more than the family home. But did you know that your superannuation death benefits are not automatically covered by the terms of your Will and that if you pass away your superannuation may not be paid to the people that you intend?

Your superannuation is governed by the terms of the trust deed that established the super fund, and by legislation. Australian superfunds have their own requirements that must be followed in order for them to be bound to pay a super death benefit in accordance with your wishes. If the correct documentation is not in place, it is usual for the Trustee of the superfund to make a decision on who will receive your super death benefit. The same is true of your self managed super fund.

Putting the right documents in place for your Super

It is not as simple as downloading a binding death benefit nomination form from your super fund and filling it in. The death benefit nomination must align with other aspects of your estate plan, particularly your Will. Also, many Super funds provide that their death benefit nominations lapse every 3 years and cannot be renewed if you have lost capacity. Having ‘back up’ measures in your other estate planning documents to cater for this scenario is prudent.

Is there a tax on my super death benefit?

There could well be a tax on your super death benefit – it depends on who the beneficiary is. You must consider the tax implications of your superannuation passing to certain beneficiaries (such as independent adult children) and whether there are more tax effective alternatives that may be available to you. We are able to provide you with advice on how to potentially save this death benefit tax as part of your overall estate plan.

A comprehensive estate plan

You need an estate plan, which covers your Will, superannuation and other assets not governed by your Will. We can also ensure that comprehensive financial terms are included in your Enduring Power of Attorney document so that your attorneys can appropriately deal with your superannuation interests if you lose capacity due to accident or illness (for example, withdrawing super, renewing your death benefit nomination when it lapses, and so on).

At Estate First Lawyers, we specialise in superannuation estate planning (including self managed super funds) and will advise you on your best options. We will also provide you with a fixed fee quote at your first consultation.

Our unique ‘4 easy steps’ makes the process easy

Expert Estate Planning with Fixed Fees


Make An Appointment

7200+Estate Plans Completed

Meet With Your Lawyer

Whether we meet virtually or face to face, we will listen, answer your questions, craft your estate plan and provide you with a fixed fee quote.

94%Clients accept the fixed fee quote and proceed

We’ll Keep You Updated

You will receive draft documents to review. You can discuss your plan with us at any time you want.

92+Years of combined legal experience in Estate Law

Final Document Meeting

We will go through all of your final documents together to ensure the plan is exactly what you want.

99%Clients have peace of mind with their Estate Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Read our Superannuation and Life Insurance factsheet for more information.

Download Fact Sheet
Brian & Barbara V


"From our first meeting with our lawyer we felt confident and relaxed in making our decisions. They put forward all options and then was sympathetic to all our needs. We have no hesitation in recommending Estate First Lawyers."

Mai L


"My overall experience was nothing but positive and the services provided were very professional and very easy to understand."

Doyles 2019
Tax Institute
Women in Super
Queensland Law Society
Cover of Excellence
Queensland Law Society