A recent SA decision has found that an executor owes the same duty as an administrator to get superannuation funds into the estate.  More importantly, it was held that any conflict was not authorised by the will, because:

  • there was “a sophisticated superannuation policy governed by a complex trust deed in which the trustee has discretionary functions.”
  • There was no reason to infer that the deceased knew the executor was an eligible beneficiary of his superannuation benefit. Even if he had such knowledge, there is no reason to infer that he intended her to claim the benefit in her personal capacity or to authorise her to pursue her personal interest in competition with the estate.
  • “The circumstances whereby he appointed her as executor do not give rise to a necessary implication that she was authorised to act in a position of conflict of interest in this respect.”

Interestingly though, the executor wasn’t required to account to the estate, because the other executors had found out in sufficient time to make a claim on behalf of the estate.

There is a good summary of the case on the Moore’s website, or you can read the full decision of Brine v Carter here.