- Eligible persons have a right to raise a claim for superannuation death benefits.
- A conflict of interest may arise when a personal representative of an estate seeks to raise a claim for themselves, at odds with the estate’s right to raise a claim.
- Recent decisions guide practitioners in advising their clients on non-binding nominations, collection of death benefits and possible conflicts of interest for personal representatives.
Australians currently have two trillion dollars invested in superannuation (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Quarterly Superannuation Performance 2016), so it is no surprise that upon death, competing interests in the superannuation death benefits (‘SDBs’) can result in contested applications.
While it is commonly understood that certain eligible persons have a right to raise a claim for SDBs, what is not commonly appreciated is that a conflict of interest will often arise where a personal representative (‘PR’) of an estate seeks to raise a personal claim which is at odds with the estate’s right to raise a claim, on whose behalf the PR must act. With so much at stake it was only a matter of time before the issue was litigated. The first noteworthy decision was in the Queensland case of McIntosh v McIntosh (2014) QSC 99 (‘McIntosh’).