Superannuation Death Benefit and Life Insurance FAQs

Can I make a superannuation death benefit or life insurance claim?
If you are a named beneficiary to a superannuation or life insurance policy, or you are a member of the deceased’s immediate family, you may be able to claim.
If you are a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, your interests could also be affected by payment of superannuation or life insurance benefits.
We can advise you in detail about your rights to claim and assist you to protect your rights.
How do I make a claim for superannuation or life insurance benefits?
Preliminary inquiries need to be made about the nature and type of policies held by the deceased and what provision, if any, the deceased has made for payment of benefits under those policies.
Applications for payment of benefits will need to be made by the executors of the estate or claimants personally.
Strict time limits can apply to these claims.  You need to get expert advice now about the time limits which apply to you.
Do I need a lawyer to make a claim for superannuation death benefits or life insurance?
No – if you know the identity of the insurers or the superannuation funds, you can make a claim yourself.  Insurers have extensive experience in handling and defending claims.  They cannot provide you with independent advice.  
Other beneficiaries may also be involved and may instruct lawyers to act on their behalf.  You may find yourself at a disadvantage if you do not have legal representation.
What will it cost to make a claim for superannuation death benefits or life insurance?
This will depend on the type of claim, the complexity of the deceased’s will and family relationships, whether other beneficiaries or family members are applying for insurance benefits, the attitude of the executor and many other considerations.
Before you decide to make a claim, we will discuss what will be involved and provide an estimate of the likely costs. We will also discuss how we will charge for our services.
Our costs will be reasonable – we will discuss them with you in detail before you instruct us to act on your behalf and will enter into a Costs Agreement with you.  We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice about the Costs Agreement before you sign it.
If we think your claim has reasonable prospects of success, we may consider acting on a deferred payment basis.  This means we will only charge you for our professional fees when your claim is finalised.
Will my legal costs be paid from the superannuation or life insurance benefits?
Your costs of applying for insurance or superannuation benefits will generally not be paid.  
If there is some dispute with the insurer or superannuation fund and it is necessary to issue court proceedings, some of your costs may be paid if you are successful.
Even if the insurer or fund is ordered to pay your costs, it will not cover your entire costs.  The difference will be paid from your settlement or judgment monies.  We will discuss this with you in detail when we give you our initial Costs Agreement and before you instruct us to act on your behalf.
How long does it take to claim superannuation death benefits or life insurance?
This is impossible to say without knowing a lot more about you, the insurance and superannuation arrangements of the deceased, the terms of the deceased’s will and their estate generally.
Once we have discussed these and other issues with you in detail, we will be in a better position to give you an idea how long the claim will take.
Will I need to go to court to claim superannuation death benefits or life insurance?
Many claims for payment of insurance or superannuation benefits can be resolved directly with the insurer or superannuation fund. It is sometimes necessary to institute proceedings in court to enforce payment.  Once we know more about your claim, we will discuss with you whether court proceedings are likely to be required.