Superannuation Death Benefits for Same Sex Couples

Superannuation law recognises a ‘dependant’ of a deceased member of a superannuation fund as:

(1) a spouse of the deceased;

(2) a child of the deceased;

(3) a dependant of the deceased; and

(4) if an ‘interdependency relationship’ is established.

Enabling the beneficiary to directly inherit the contributor’s funds if they die, and avoiding higher taxes that would apply if the funds passed under a will or through the intestacy process.

Interdependent relationship

From June 2004, a surviving same-sex partner would be entitled to his or her partner’s super benefits if they could satisfy that they had an ‘interdependency relationship’. Which is defined as a cohabiting ‘close personal relationship’ where one or both parties provide the other with ‘financial support’ and ‘domestic support and personal care’

Definition of Spouse amended to include same sex relationships

Since 2008, same-sex couples have had their relationships recognised by their superannuation fund as the word ‘spouse’ includes same-sex partners who register their relationships, or who live on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship;

  • the definition of ‘de facto’ includes same-sex relationships, and;
  • the definition of ‘child’ includes adopted children, stepchildren and ex-nuptial children.

This ensures a member of a same-sex couple no longer has to satisfy the interdependency criteria to receive the deceased member’s superannuation benefits either continuing to take the deceased members pension, or as a tax free lump sum.

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