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This section has information about accessing superannuation after a person dies.
Superannuation is a payment that is made by an employer on behalf of an employee to the employee's superannuation fund. Employers are required by law to make superannuation contributions in addition to the employee's wage.
For more information on compulsory employer contributions, go to the
Australian Taxation Office website.
Superannuation is not part of the deceased person's estate and is dealt with separately. As an executor or next of kin, you must find out whether the deceased was a member of a superannuation fund and the details of that fund. To find this information, you may need to make enquiries with:
If you are not sure if the deceased held an account with a superannuation fund you should contact the Australian Taxation Office. For more information, go to
The superannuation fund will not automatically allow a person to access the superannuation account after a person dies. The 'death benefit' or a deceased person's superannuation benefit will be paid to a nominated beneficiary, if the deceased made a binding nomination. If there is no binding nomination, then the superannuation fund will decide whether to pay the death benefit to the dependent, interdependent or to the estate.
The most common dispute about superannuation involves claiming the 'death benefit'.
For more information, see
Disputes over superannuation.
As an executor or next of kin, you have authority to contact the deceased's superannuation fund to notify them of the member's death and to make a death benefit claim.
The superannuation fund will require certain information from you to prove your relationship with the member. For example, you may be required to provide:
Once you have provided the necessary details to confirm your relationship to the deceased, the superannuation fund will ask you to complete and return various forms to claim the death benefit.
Each superannuation fund has a different procedure so it is best to ask them to send any forms to you by post or email. Remember, it may take several weeks after you return all the forms and any other requirements for the claim to be processed.
Sample letter to the superannuation fund
A person can be a member of more than one superannuation fund. You should write to each superannuation fund separately.
If the superannuation fund insists that you first obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration, you should get