Sadly, many members of Industry Super funds believe that they & their families are protected simply because their superannuation statements indicate that they have some life insurance.

Members of Industry Super Funds purchase life Insurance in units (e.g. 1 unit may equal $5,000 insurance for a male aged 35), however, the value of those units decreases as members age (e.g. that same 1 unit may equal $3,000 insurance for a male aged 45).

It is unheard of in Australia for Industry Funds to personally contact their members to discuss Estate Planning matters & advise on Family Protection strategies.

2.    Your family is financially dependent on you, but the only insurance you have was purchased either on-line or was sold to you over the phone.

Like Industry Super Funds, major institutions know there is a lot of money to be made by selling insurance products to unwary consumers. Just look at how many organisations are advertising now on TV, on the radio or on-line about ‘how easy it is to obtain insurance’ or ‘how there is no need for you to undergo a medical examination’ etc. ‘Just answer a few easy questions…’ right?

They don’t care about you or your family….they just want your money!

Did they discuss policy ownership with you so that you could choose which option was more cost-effective? No.

Did they discuss beneficiary options with you so that your family could take advantage of tax-effective income streams? No.

They just signed you up to a new insurance policy & took your premium, didn’t they?

3.    You have a spouse & financially-dependent children, and you have nominated your spouse as the sole beneficiary of your superannuation & life insurance policies.

This is another article that all Australians need to read:

We all have a number of options in this regard & each of those options can, & will have significantly different outcomes. Families can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary ‘Death Taxes’ simply by being shown what options are available & what the outcomes actually look like.

4.    You are in a blended family but you haven’t changed the death benefit nomination on your superannuation.

Superannuation is a trust, which means that the Trustee is responsible for administering the fund, including member’s nominations. Should you pass away prematurely, & both your ex-spouse & your new spouse want to receive the proceeds from your superannuation (& any associated insurances) then have a guess who will get the ‘Lion’s share’ of those funds? Their Lawyers!

If your current nomination is still your ex-spouse, but that nomination is not binding, then payment of the proceeds will certainly be held up as the Trustee considers all relevant options before making a determination. If your nomination is binding on the Trustee then is this nomination still appropriate?

5.    Your circumstances have, or are about to change (birth of a child, divorce, marriage etc.) but you have not changed your Will.

Normally the last thing we think about right? Sometimes it’s just all too hard!

Here’s the deal though – if you don’t make the decision about important issues like ‘who will be the guardian of my kids?’, ‘what school do I want my kids to attend?’, ‘who do I want to receive that particular asset?’ or ‘who do I definitely NOT want to receive that particular asset?’ then someone will make that decision for you when you are gone. The question then is: ‘Is that the decision that you would have made?’

If you answered YES to any of these then there are a couple of things that you can do immediately:

Re Q4.  Obtain a new Binding Death Benefit Nomination form, complete & submit with your new nomination. Note: this form will need to be witnessed by 2 adults who are NOT beneficiaries.

Re Q5. Immediately book in to see an Estate Planning Lawyer (not necessarily the same lawyer that has done your conveyancing). Estate Planning is a specialized field & needs to be addressed by a specialist – your family is far too important. Oh, & by the way, make sure you get them to give you a quote – some are very reasonably priced & others will charge like a wounded bull! Stop delaying, just do it!

Re Qs 1, 2 & 3. I can’t solve this for you before the end of the year but I have the next best thing:

a)    If you live in S.E. Qld then why not make a date to see me early in the New Year. Contact me personally, & Celeste from my office will arrange a suitable time for us to get together; or

b) If you live in another part of Australia then, once again, contact me & I will arrange for a local expert in your area/state to personally look after you. I have a very strong relationship with a number of colleagues around the country who I trust implicitly to do the job thoroughly & professionally.