Superannuation trustee boards, committees and staff spend a large amount of time dealing with the assessment and payment of death benefits. Despite this, in 2013-14 complaints relating to death benefit made up 32.5 per cent (the second largest category) of all written complaints made to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).
The purpose of this paper is to provide best practice guidance on a broad range of issues facing trustees in the management of death benefit claims. To achieve this requires a fair degree of explanation of the legal framework. As a result, the 3rd edition of this best practice paper (January 2015) is more comprehensive than its predecessors. However this paper should not be construed as legal advice.
Appendix 1 contains a number of case studies on a broad range of court decisions and SCT determinations. These have been selected on the basis of their usefulness in illustrating the key principles that have evolved in this area.
Appendix 2 includes information on the interdependency provisions in the SIS Act and SIS Regulations. This information has been included as an appendix to the paper due to its extensive nature.
Trustees are also referred to the SCT’s paper Key considerations that apply to death benefit complaints, 2006 and their Death Benefits brochure, 2014 (both of which are available from the SCT's website www.sct.gov.au).