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Nominating a beneficiary

Posted on October 21, 2015 by admin

Superannuation can often form a significant part of an individual’s wealth. Therefore, the transfer of such an asset upon their death can potentially cause dispute among the deceased’s family and potentially others.

Unlike assets owned in an individual’s personal name, superannuation does not form a part of their estate when they pass away. Instead, it can pass directly to a beneficiary rather than via a Will. However, this depends on who the beneficiary is and how the nomination was made.

Under superannuation laws, a nominated beneficiary must fall within at least one of the following categories of dependants:

Broadly speaking, beneficiary nominations can be binding or non-binding.

Binding nominations compel the trustee to act on the deceased member’s instructions (provided the nomination is valid). While the trustee must pay the beneficiaries nominated in such a manner, the form of the payment is still left to the discretion of the trustee.

If a deceased individual’s family is blended or has a history of conflict, a binding nomination may be the most appropriate option, as it ensures that the designated beneficiary is provided for according to the deceased member’s specific wishes.

A non-binding nomination is not compulsory for the trustee to follow, and the trustee would use this nomination as a guide in paying out the member’s balance upon their death. Non-binding nominations can provide more flexibility for planning to achieve the most tax effective outcome, especially when the beneficiaries receive different tax treatment.

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Avoiding mortgage default

Posted on August 26, 2020 by admin

As individuals struggle with cash flow through the coronavirus, the Australian Bankers Association records that repayments on almost 500,000 mortgages have been deferred for six months. While repayments can be delayed, they cannot be avoided altogether.

Lenders can send you a default notice the day your repayment is overdue. However, they could also wait until your repayment is overdue by 90 or more days. When you receive a default notice, you are given 30 days to repay the amounts you have missed in addition to the regular repayment on your loan. Individuals who are struggling with their home loan repayments can avoid mortgage default by considering the following.

Contact your lender
Lenders are generally willing to work with you through financial hardship. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender to discuss your situation and find out what options are available for you. Lenders are often willing to negotiate short-term variations to repayment schedules that both parties can agree to. However, make sure that you do not agree to unrealistic repayment conditions that cannot be met.

Many Australian banks are offering a six-month deferral on mortgage repayments (including interest) for customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. If this is you, contact your bank to see if this is an option.

Apply for a hardship variation
Mortgage holders may be able to change the terms of their loan or temporarily pause or reduce their repayments under a hardship variation. A hardship variation can still be requested after you receive a mortgage default. To apply for one, contact your lender’s “hardship officer” and tell them that you wish to change your loan repayments due to financial hardship. This will usually require you to explain why you are struggling to make payments and to estimate how long your financial problems will continue to determine how much you can afford to repay.

After submitting a hardship variation request, your lender must contact you within 21 days with the outcome of your request. They may ask you for more details regarding your request; in this case, they must contact you again within 21 days from when you provide the additional information.

Consider selling your home
Selling your home is a tough decision, but in some cases this may be the better option if your circumstances are unlikely to improve. If you get to the point where your lender takes possession of your home and sells it, it’s likely that you won’t make as much as if you sold it yourself. When you sell your house on your own terms, chances are you will get a better price and avoid having to pay the legal fees passed on by your lender. Inform your lender if you decide to sell your home; they may ask for proof, such as a copy of the contract with your real estate agent or property advertisements.

Renting out your home until you can afford to make repayments again may also be an option if you are able to live somewhere else during this period.

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