Losing a spouse brings with it enormous emotional hardship. On top of this, in the days, weeks and months that follow, there are many practical decisions and actions which need to be taken. It can all feel overwhelming at a time when you possibly feel least capable.
The super death benefit needs to be sorted
One of the things which needs to be sorted is your spouse’s super. Their super cannot simply stay accumulating in their name with a super fund indefinitely. You’ll probably be wondering:
- How quickly must decisions be made?
- To whom can the super be paid?
- Who decides?
- How will the death benefit be taxed?
- How can I maximise the amount able to be kept inside super?
- If you have a self-managed super fund, how can I be sure the fund remains compliant?
Super law imposes strict rules around dealing with super death benefits, and the financial implications of various decisions can be very significant. You’ll need to look at possible tax impacts, and you might also want to consider strategies to maximise the amount able to be kept inside super.
And, even though there’s a grace period for making decisions around the super death benefit, six months passes awfully quickly. Before you know it, you can find yourself under the pressure of a looming deadline. Ideally, you’ll have time and headspace to seek advice, consider all the options, and make decisions that work best for you.
Managing your super into the future
If the super death benefit ultimately stays within the super environment – for example, it transfers to you as a death benefit pension – there will also be decisions regarding the ongoing management of the super. This is especially so in the case of self-managed super funds.
What we typically find with couples who hold self-managed super, is that one member of the couple takes a more active lead in managing the fund. When that member of the couple passes away first, the surviving member can be left wondering just how they’re going to manage. But, with the right guidance and support, this is absolutely achievable.
We can help reduce complexity
Dealing with your spouse’s super benefits can be a complicated process.
We have a great deal of experience assisting bereaved clients with their self-managed super funds. Having a supportive adult child or children can be immensely reassuring as well. Together, we navigate the decisions and next steps regarding your loved one’s super.
Quality advice which is tailored to your situation is very important to ensure you get the best outcome possible. We understand what a difficult period it will be, but the sooner you can begin the conversation, the more headspace you’ll have to reach decisions that are best for you.
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