Adviser knowledge could cut super disputes

Disputes could be avoided if advisers and their clients were better educated about the purpose of superannuation, says the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

Tribunal chairperson Jocelyn Furlan told ifa that education regarding the purpose of superannuation could “really help” avoid complaints regarding the division of super after a contributor’s death.

“It’s quite deliberate that superannuation doesn’t form part of people’s estate and that’s because often when people die prior to retirement, the benefit they get is actually more death cover than it is their account balance,” she said.

Furlan also said advisers could be more aware that trustees will make a decision at their client’s “point of death”, where there isn’t a binding nomination in place.

“Where the great benefit of the current system of the trustee having a discretion is [the trustee] can look at who is actually dependent on that person for his or her income at that point in time, not who might’ve inherited something had they lived to a ripe old age,” she said.

Furlan also said complaints regarding the dividing of super after death are often related to a “multiplicity of relationships”.

Last year, complaints to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal rose by approximately 6.5 per cent. The tribunal deals with all complaints by members of regulated superannuation funds, against trustees or insurers in relation to their superannuation.

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