Parliament has passed legislation, with effect from 4 November, to increase the income thresholds for accessing the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, from $61,284 to $90,000 for singles and from $98,054 to $144,000 combined for couples.  If you are a couple separated by illness, respite car or prison, the bar (!) is higher, rising from $122,568 to $180,000.


The Card provides many benefits, including prescription medicines at concessional rates, the Medicare Safety Net Threshold available to Commonwealth concession card holders and bulk-billed GP appointments where available.  It can also entitle holders to other concessions from state and local government authorities, including (check your local guides), rebates on energy bills, rates, free or reduced health care including ambulance, discounts on public transport and eligibility to drive particularly slowly for miles in the right-hand land with no shame.


You must be 67 or over (only 3,502 sleeps to go)


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Often overlooked, and perhaps not thought too much after you first joined or set up your superannuation fund when you were just a pup, it may have been a while since you thought about whom you would like to receive your superannuation on your death.

Your choices are limited to your spouse, children, a person with whom you are an in an ‘interdependent’ relationship, someone who is financially dependent on you, or you can simply leave it all to your estate to be dealt with by the Executor under the terms of your will (which may also need a revisit).  If you do not nominate it to go to your estate, it does not form part of your estate and is dealt with separately.

If you have a Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN) then your superannuation death benefit must go to where or whom you have nominated and there is no discretion to pay it anywhere else.  A non-binding death benefit nomination provides some discretion to the trustee to consider your wishes more broadly and a range of potential beneficiaries (including your estate).  There are advantages and disadvantages surrounding any decision to make binding or non-binding nominations for where your super goes when you go and there are often situations where what was a good idea at the time fades in its ‘goodness’ as circumstances change.

It is for this reason we recommend reviewing your existing death nomination to make sure it still reflects your wishes and provides the requisite flexibility or rigidity as your circumstances may require.

The decision on where your super goes and whether to make it binding or non-binding should be reviewed regularly as part of your overall estate planning, to consider changing family circumstances, and changes in tax and estate law to re-test ‘the vibe’ of what happens on your demise.

If you are not sure what you have in place it might also be time to check in with your fund.

If you would like to chat about it, your friendly Halletts Team is always here to help.

If someone says, “I’m from the ATO and I’m here to help you” – be wary!  While the ATO abounds with friendly and helpful staff, unfortunately over 28,000 tax-related scams have been reported since 1 July this year alone.  We are assured, the ATO does not employ Nigerian princes or people who address you ‘Dearest Mr Ian’ or wish you ‘love and spiritual fulfilment’ or say ‘the police are on their way’.  If someone calls you, simply refer them to your even friendlier and more helpful tax agent – and we will tell them where to transfer the royal inheritance.