A grieving widow who thought her late husband had left her and his family $208,000 following his death has revealed her shock after receiving a cheque for just $25.09, 13 days after he passed away.
Kim Garbutt told ABC’s 7.30 with Leigh Sales that she had expected to receive the huge sum of money in death benefits from her estranged husband Craig Mollison’s superannuation fund with AMP, but was unaware it had actually dwindled down to just a few dollars.
Craig had battled alcohol addiction before his death in 2008, at the age of 39, and the couple split just months after their wedding due to the strain it put on their marriage. However, having welcomed two children together, they remained legally married.
“When the cheque arrived, I was dumbfounded that it was $25.09, so some time after that I spoke to them and they were saying that the account had run dry,” Kim said on the show.
She immediately began investigating what had happened, and discovered Craig’s policy had been closed five months before his death, as the account was $212 in arrears.
Digging deeper into the mystery, she found out Craig had initially rolled over $1,621.93 into the super account from his former fund in 2003. However, within just five weeks, that balance had dropped to $1,433.77 after he was hit with more than $188.16 in fees and insurance premiums.
He had stopped contributing to the account after his initial payment, but apparently continued to pay monthly death benefit premiums for six years. But despite him not contributing, AMP allegedly continued to deduct fees and charges before closing the policy completely, when the arrears went over $200.
AMP claimed they wrote to Craig at the time to inform him of the fees, but it’s thought he didn’t see the letters as he battled his alcoholism, and had no fixed address at the time.
Since then, Kim has pleaded with AMP for more information on how it could have happened.
“We have never been able to get a full understanding of what he agreed to and they took no due diligence in looking at why the fees had been taken out,” she added on the show.
“I’m angry that I’m now living off my own super because Craig’s super fund didn’t have another look at the case and go maybe we could have done better.”
AMP rejected claims that they hadn’t informed the family, and said in a statement: “At no time were we informed that [Craig] was unwell, and we corresponded with him as early as seven months before his death that he was at risk of losing his valuable insurance.”