Under current laws, superannuation does not automatically form part of an estate - superannuation is held in trust similar to testamentary trusts. That's why it is important to nominate beneficiaries for your superannuation and insurance. Same for both retail and industry funds.
Today most superannuation funds either industry or retail allow their clients to set binding nominations. A fund's trustees should abide to the binding nomination but they dont have to being trustees. But they have less leeway if the deceased member has made a binding nomination that meets two conditions. Firstly, the intended beneficiaries have to be members of a prescribed set, and secondly the binding nomination has not expired (usually within three years).
In terms of the case you presented, then you possibly did not fit the prescribed set as a dependant. If there were no dependants to your son, then you may have qualified if you were a beneficiary through his estate.
Not sure how good the regulator is at handling complaints re trustees and binding nominations. I gather that beneficiaries of a binding nomination do not complain but the ones who do are the those who believe they missed out. Bit the same with Wills.
A de facto partner of more than two years has an entitlement that is rather easily defended and one that fund trustees, whether of a retail or industry fund, cannot overrule. That's the divorce law. You would need to get that changed and good luck with that.
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