Portrait of Sally Syron at the grave site of her son Ronel Barrameda

Expense … Sally Syron with a portrait of her son, Ronel Barrameda. Photo: James Brickwood

Sally Syron has no one to look after her now her husband and son have gone.

The Philippine-born grandmother lost her husband four years ago and her only son, 39-year-old Ronel Barrameda, died of cancer in August 2010 after four painful months in hospital.

But the hotel cleaner's distress has been made worse now that she is fighting CareSuper for $15,000 from her son's superannuation to repay the money she spent burying him.

The CareSuper chief executive, Julie Lander, told Fairfax Media there was ''no flexibility'' on the issue as Mr Barrameda's four young children have been listed as beneficiaries for his $294,560. ''It serves as a timely reminder that people must have their finances in order,'' she said.

But the CareSuper trustees' refusal to release money has not deterred Ms Syron, who has hired a solicitor, David Leamey, to pursue her case. ''I have nothing; I don't know what I am going to do,'' she said. ''I don't want any of his money for me, it's to cover the funeral costs.''

Ms Syron said she had stopped working for four months to be by her son's side when he was treated for lymphoma at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

She took money from her own super fund to pay $9624.90 for the funeral costs and the $5000 headstone at Forest Lawn cemetery in Leppington.

Mr Barrameda left his super to his four children, two of whom live in the Philippines, but did not stipulate any details about funeral or other costs over his death.

His former partner and mother of two children, Nancy, agrees the fund should cover the funeral costs. ''I've tried so hard,'' she said. ''It's not fair. She deserves to receive the costs.''

Ms Lander said Ms Syron's complaints were part of this ''widespread issue'': ''It's terrible but this is the way trusts work.''

Super does not form part of a person's estate. A fund's trust must determine, for the death benefit, who the deceased supported.

''If the deceased was not supporting his mother then, unfortunately, the way trust law works is, you can't give her any money,'' Ms Lander said. ''It's nothing personal.''