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Your super options if you have an inheritance
An inheritance can be a substantial sum of money and receiving one can bring a mix of emotions. There are pros and cons to putting an inheritance into your super, or leaving an inheritance to others using your own super.
If you decide you want to put money from an inheritance into your super, you usually can, by making a voluntary contribution or a spouse contribution. There are limits on how much you can contribute to your super per year, so make sure the amount you contribute to your super is within these limits.
Alex is 62 years old when their mother unfortunately passes away. As Alex has already paid off a mortgage and plans to retire in the next few years, a financial adviser recommends they contribute part of the inheritance to their super and give any monetary gifts they want to before they retire, so that any Age Pension payments they might receive wouldn't be affected by giving those gifts.
Alex's inheritance from their mother was $400,000, so they decide to contribute $200,000 to their super, give $100,000 as a gift to the kids to help them buy their first home/s, and save the remaining $100,000 for home renovations.
Alex puts the $200,000 into super as a non-concessional (after-tax) contribution, using the bring-forward rules to make 2 years' worth of contributions in one year (the usual limit is $100,000 per year).
There are a few ways you can be paid a super death benefit if you are eligible:
With a death benefit income stream, you can receive regular payments to your bank account.
You can receive the full amount at once as a payment to your bank account or cheque.
Another option is to take out a lump sum, then use the rest of the money to start an income stream.
Each of these options has different benefits and disadvantages, and the amount will be taxed differently depending on which you choose. A financial adviser can help you decide which option might be best for your circumstances.
If you want to put money, such as an inheritance, into your super, there is no tax payable when you contribute the money because it's a voluntary after-tax contribution (non-concessional contribution). If you claim a tax deduction on that contribution, it becomes a concessional contribution and is charged 15% tax.
When you receive a death benefit from someone's super, the tax you pay depends on factors including your relationship to the person who died, your age, and the age of the person who died.
If you're living outside of Australia when you inherit money, you'll need to check the laws about paying estate tax in your country. For more information, please read our Death Benefit Claim Guide (pdf) or contact us.
To make sure your super is distributed according to your wishes when you die, you can tell us who you want to receive your super (your beneficiaries). Use your pre-filled form in Member Online and have it signed and witnessed before sending it to us, to make a binding death benefit nomination.
If you have an Income account, you can also make a reversionary nomination in Member Online, so that your income payments will go to your beneficiary after you die. Find out more about what happens to your super when you die.
Dealing with an inheritance can be a big decision, so you may want to seek professional financial advice.
1. This case study is provided for illustrative and educational purposes only, and the members shown are not real. Additionally, figures may be rounded for ease of understanding. Members should seek advice from a qualified licensed professional regarding their own circumstances.