Total and Permanent Disability claims

Total and Permanent Disability claims – What you need to know
Turner Freeman Lawyers

The average person pays tens of thousands of dollars for insurance throughout their employment and working life. However, when injury, sickness or tragedy strikes, many find themselves in financial stress because their TPD claim is rejected by their insurer, mainly due to the subtle differences in definitions and their interpretations.

Superannuation provides for many benefits for all of us through our working lives not least of which is the provision of death and disability insurance. It is important however to differentiate between a policy which provides a real benefit to members and a ‘junk’ policy which provides the benefit on paper only.

The most common insurance type is total and permanent disablement insurance (TPD). Every super fund will have their own policy of insurance and they are all subtly different. A small difference in definitions however can make a big difference when it comes time to claim for TPD.  TPD is most commonly concerned with capacity for work after an injury or illness. Most people would think if you are unable to return to employment you have done before you will be covered.  This can however turn on how the likelihood of a return to work is to be assessed by a particular policy.
In some policies the word ‘unlikely’ is used whereas in others the word ‘unable’ is used.  While to most super fund members the words ‘unlikely’ and ‘unable’ are interchangeable; to an insurer they bear very different meanings. The term ‘unable’ has been considered by the courts on many occasions and in all circumstances the courts have held the term to require a stringent test for the claimant to meet. The reality is that if your policy of insurance contains the term ‘unable’ you must prove that you have an ‘inability’ to ever work again. Such a high bar can exclude all but the most catastrophic of injuries from being successful.

The way in which a claim is prepared and submitted must change depending on the definition in question. These tricky terms mean that a member claiming for TPD benefits is well advised to seek legal representation to ensure the best possible chance of a successful claim.

Our experienced disability claims team can assist you with understanding the intricacies of your policy. Should you need advice regarding pursuing a TPD claim, either through your superannuation or a private policy, please contact us on 4044 8000 for an obligation free initial consultation.

2018 – A New Year and a time to get organized
Turner Freeman Lawyers

If organising your Will has been on your “to do” list, what better time to organise yourself than at the start of a new year.

The Cairns office is pleased to introduce our new service area of Wills and Estate Planning. Our highly experienced Wills and Estates officer, Amanda Moore joins us with more than 10 years experience in the preparation of Wills along with management and administration of estates.

So why do you need a will? Why is it necessary?

“I’m healthy, I’m fine, I have plenty of time”. Illness and injury don’t discriminate. A fit and healthy body may prevent some disorders, it won’t protect you from accidents or the inevitable.

Planning for the unexpected gives you a voice and ensures that your wishes are known so the people you trust can make decisions for you if you can’t. Similarly, a Will means that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes by someone that you appoint. Estate planning includes the development of a comprehensive plan which considers all of your circumstances including your family situation, your assets, liabilities and assets that do not form part of your estate such as superannuation.

Unfortunate events are stressful enough for you and those around you. In the event of an incapacity, an Enduring Power of Attorney gives immediate power to your attorney to legally make decisions for you. If you die intestate, that is, without a will, your estate is distributed in accordance to impersonal distribution rules that are set out by legislation. Intestate estates can be expensive, stressful and time consuming to administer.

A will is absolutely critical to ensure that your wishes are heard in the unfortunate, but all to common event that someone decides to challenge your will.
Whatever your circumstances, a Will and Enduring Power of Attorney offers what procrastination doesn’t – peace of mind and certainty.

If you are not one to be naturally organised, seek advice form an experienced firm for estate planning services. We invite you to take advantage of our free Estate information packs, which upon request can be mailed to you.

Our estate planning team is here to assist and guide you through this important process. We encourage you to call us on 4044 8000 for an obligation free initial case assessment.

Photos By Silvia Mogorovich