Nominating your superannuation beneficiary

Some of your super may outlive you, so it’s important you let us know who you want your super to go to by nominating a beneficiary.

Although you may have a will where you’ve detailed where you’d like your assets to go, your super is treated a little differently as it doesn't form part of your estate.

As your super is held in trust by Mercer Super, we’re legally responsible for ensuring that your money (including any death insurance you may hold) is paid to the appropriate person in accordance with superannuation law.

Nominating a beneficiary for your super means you can have peace of mind your money will be paid to the people you care about most.

Step one - Deciding what type of nomination to make

The first step in nominating a beneficiary for your superannuation is deciding whether you’d like your nomination to be non-binding or binding. When opening a pension account you may be able to nominate a reversionary beneficiary instead.

Please note that if you hold multiple accounts, a beneficiary nomination will be required for each account individually.

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  • Non-Binding beneficiary nomination

    A non-binding beneficiary nomination can be used as a guide to who we pay your money to, but we are still legally required to make the final decision.

    You can provide this nomination to us online via the ‘beneficiaries’ page of your super or pension account at any time.

    A non-binding beneficiary nomination doesn’t have an expiry date so please ensure your preferences are kept up-to-date.

  • Binding beneficiary nomination

    A binding beneficiary nomination tells us who you want your superannuation paid to if you pass away. This is considered legally binding if valid and requires us to pay your superannuation to the person or people listed.

    A binding nomination can be provided to us by completing a beneficiary nomination form in the presence of two witnesses and is valid for three years.

    Depending on whether you hold a super or pension account you will need to complete either the super or pension beneficiary nomination form.

    Additional information about binding nominations, as well as how to change or revoke your nomination is included in the beneficiary nomination form.

  • Reversionary beneficiary nomination (Pension Division Only)

    A reversionary beneficiary nomination allows us, upon the event of your death, to transfer your allocated pension account into the name of a nominated beneficiary. The account will continue to function as a normal pension account, with your beneficiary having ownership of the account and drawing an income just as you did.

    A reversionary beneficiary nomination can only be made as part of the original application when applying for an Allocated Pension Division (APD) product. The required form to make this nomination is included as part of the APD application form.

Step two - Deciding who to nominate

Now that you’ve decided what type of nomination you'd like to make, the next step is deciding who you’d like to receive your money if you pass away.

You should be aware that the Government has legislation outlining who can be nominated as a beneficiary of your superannuation, so it’s important to determine if the person or people you’d like to nominate are eligible. You can nominate any of the following dependents:

  • Your spouse or partner

    This includes any of the following:

    • Your husband or wife
    • Another person (whether of the same sex or not) with whom you are in a registered relationship
    • Another person (whether of the same sex or not) who, although not legally married to you, lives with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple
  • Your child

    Your child

    This includes any of the following:

    • Your child for which you are the birth mother or father
    • Your adopted child, step child, or ex-nuptial children
    • Your spouse’s child
    • Someone who is a child of you within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975
  • Interdependents

    Someone with whom you live and have a close personal relationship with; in addition, one or each of you must provide the other with financial support, domestic support and personal care. 

  • Other financial dependents

    A person or people who are wholly or partially financially dependent on you at the time of your passing.

  • Your legal personal representative

    Your legal personal representative is the person you nominate to be the executor of your will or the administrator of your estate. 

Tax implications

The rules regulating superannuation, beneficiaries and tax are complex. For example, there may be tax implications if your superannuation is paid to a non-dependent, or if a dependent plans to receive the funds as an income stream (as opposed to a lump sum).

We recommend that in situations where you’re considering having your superannuation paid to a non-dependent or a dependent who plans to receive the funds as an income stream (including a reversionary pension), you seek advice from a licensed financial adviser.

For further information on the rules regulating superannuation, beneficiaries and tax please refer to the Australian Taxation Office.

Are your beneficiaries up to date?

Some of your super may outlive you, so it’s important you let us know who you want your super to go to by nominating a beneficiary.

Disclaimer: This document has been prepared and sent on behalf of Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited (‘Mercer Super’), ABN 79 004 717 533, Australian Financial Services Licence #235906, the trustee of the Mercer Super Trust ABN 19 905 422 981. Any advice contained in this document is of a general nature only, and does not take into account the personal needs and circumstances of any particular individual. Prior to acting on any information contained in this document, you need to take into account your own financial circumstances. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement, Product Guide, Insurance Guide, and Financial Services Guide before making a decision about the product, or seek professional advice from a licensed, or appropriately authorised financial adviser if you are unsure of what action to take. 'MERCER' is a registered trademark of Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 32 005 315 917. Copyright 2022 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved.