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It Depends – What did the High Court in Hill v Zuda decide about binding death benefit nominations in SMSFs? – Wills/ Intestacy/ Estate Planning


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In this edition of ‘It depends’, partner Scott
Hay-Bartlem talks about the recent Hill v Zuda High Court decision
on binding death benefit nominations in self-managed superannuation


Welcome to this ‘It depends’ where I’m talking about
what the High Court decided about binding death benefit nominations
in self-managed superannuation funds in the recent case of Hill v

The Background

So, Zuda Pty Ltd was the trustee of The Holly Superannuation
Fund which was a self-managed superannuation fund. One of the
members died and his daughter challenged his binding death benefit
nomination on the basis it did not comply with the specific rules
for binding death benefit nominations in the superannuation

The Decision

The High Court decided that the provisions of the superannuation
laws that apply to binding death benefit nominations do not apply
in self-managed superannuation funds.

What does that mean?

Okay, so this means that when we’re doing binding death
benefit nominations in self-managed superannuation funds, it all
comes down to the trust deed. So, you’ll have to, say with me.
Read the deed, read the deed, read the deed. The specific
provisions in the superannuation laws about three-year
lapsing’s and two witnesses are not relevant to SMSFs unless of
course your trust deed says so. And it comes back to looking at
your deed and following it precisely.

So, binding death benefit nominations are all okay for self
managed super funds then?

Well, this is our “it depends”. So, the High Court
challenge on this particular issue has been sorted out, but there
are many, many, many other issues, and many other ways we see
binding benefit nominations being challenged. So, does it follow
the deed, have we worded it properly? Does it have the result that
we want? Does it work in with the overall estate plan? We still see
many disputes about binding death benefit nominations. It’s not
all okay yet.

Now, join Clinton Jackson and I on the 3rd of June at: pm.
We’ll do a webinar. We’ll talk about all this in far more
detail. Thanks for watching this It depends.

Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers

Cooper Grace Ward is a leading Australian law firm based in

This publication is for information only and is not legal
advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your
circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If
there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising
from this publication, please contact Cooper Grace Ward

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