Nominating beneficiaries

Make sure your super ends up in the hands of the person – or people – you want it to

Unlike directly owned property or shares, super doesn't automatically form a part of your estate if you pass away. Instead, your super benefits are paid out under the rules of the super fund.

You can nominate who you want to receive your super, but not all nominations are the same. The table below compares non-binding and binding nominations. It’s important to know the differences, because the type of nomination you have in place determines how your super benefit is paid out.

Binding vs non-binding nominations

Non-binding nominations

Details Benefits Limitations
  • Tells the trustee who you want your benefits to go to, and it   will be considered, but it is not binding.
  • Can be adjusted by the trustee if your situation has changed. For example, if you get divorced after your nomination, the trustee can take that into account.
  • Even though the trustee makes the final decision, it places great importance on member’s wishes in the nomination.
  • You can request that death benefits be paid as a pension instead of a lump sum.
  • You don’t have to renew a non-binding nomination.
  • It is not binding on the trustee of the super fund, so the trustee will make the ultimate decision where the benefits are paid. This means, benefits could go to an eligible dependant that you didn't intend to receive it.

Binding nominations

Details Benefits Limitations
  • The trustee must pay benefits to the nominated dependants and/or the Legal Personal Representative and in the proportions set out.
  • You can be assured that the trustee will pay benefits to the dependants that you want it to go to.
  • You can request that death benefits be paid as a pension instead of a lump sum.
  • The definition of an eligible dependant is restricted to a spouse, child, and financial dependant or interdependent.

Provide certainty with binding nominations

A binding death benefit nomination is a legally binding nomination that allows you to advise the trustee who is to receive your super benefit in the event of your death.

The benefits of binding death nominations include:

  • You can be reasonably certain that the person, or people, you nominate will receive your super and in the proportion that you specify
  • Your beneficiary, or beneficiaries, will gain access to your super money more quickly, as they won’t have to wait for the trustee to determine who it should be distributed to.

In order for a nomination to be binding, it must be 'valid'. One of the requirements of validity is that only dependants can be nominated. For the purposes of super law, a dependant includes:

  • a spouse (including de facto or same-sex)
  • children of any age, including step-children, adopted or children from previous relationships
  • someone who is financially dependent on the member
  • someone in an interdependency relationship with the member
  • a Legal Personal Representative (ie on behalf of their estate).

Review your nominations today

When was the last time you reviewed your nominated beneficiaries? Make sure your nominations are up-to-date.

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