How your superannuation affects estate planning and can lead to inheritance disputes

Published 21 Oct 2013

Inheritance disputes can lead to long-lasting legal battles that involve contesting wills lawyers and ultimately cause rifts between families that may never heal.

The best way to avoid these legal troubles is to ensure your will is put together as clearly as possible, leaving no room for vagueries that could be interpreted differently by varying parties. However, bringing superannuation into the mix – as is often the case – can create even more complexities you’ll need to address.

For one, the laws surrounding superannuation are confusing. The money is owed to you, but it isn’t freely yours to spend when you want. After your death, any money left in it can be willed to family or friends, however there’s no guarantee it will make it to these members.

The best way to ensure your superannuation is left to the people you love most is to get in touch with a wills lawyer now to learn what the best options are.

For example, many people believe all it takes to distribute superannuation is to write it out as such in a will. But it’s not this simple. Merely writing out the name of someone who is to receive the funds may not be enough. There are several factors that go into how your superannuation can be left, and to whom it can be willed.

Taxes can also influence contesting wills claims

Superannuation funds are susceptible to a number of different taxes, and this should be a serious consideration when drafting your will. Several factors will influence this, including whether the death benefit is being paid to a dependent, or if the superannuation has reached maturity or not.

You’ll also need to decide how the benefit will be paid, depending on existing legislation, and determine whether any assets that need to be sold will sway how much the payment is.

However, one of the best ways to avoid these issues is to remove the superannuation trustee from the equation altogether. Making payments directly into your estate is the best way to ensure that what is written in your will is what will happen after your death.

Creating a clean will without any ambiguity isn’t always possible, though. In these instances, it’s best to get in touch with contesting wills lawyers with ample experience in handling these matters.

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