Nominating your superannuation beneficiary

By nominating a beneficiary you can let us know who you’d like your super to go if you pass away.

Your super, unlike other assets, isn’t considered part of your estate. This means it (as well as any linked insurance cover) doesn’t automatically get distributed according to your Will.

To ensure you have peace of mind that your wishes are met should you pass away, it’s important to make a valid beneficiary nomination to let us know how you’d like your super to be distributed.

If you don’t nominate a beneficiary, the trustee of your super fund must follow the law in working out who should receive your death benefit.

By nominating a beneficiary you can have peace of mind your money will be paid to the people you care about most.
 

Step 1 – Deciding who to nominate


The first step in nominating a beneficiary is deciding who you’d like to receive your super if you pass away.

The government has rules outlining who can be nominated as a beneficiary of your super, 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 children

    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 who lives with you and you have a close personal relationship with; in addition, one or each of you must provide the other with financial support, or 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.

 

Step 2 – Making the nomination


Once you’ve decided who you’d like to receive your super if you pass away, it’s time to make the nomination.

Your nomination can be non-binding or binding. When opening a pension account, you may be able to nominate a reversionary beneficiary instead.

If you hold multiple accounts, a beneficiary nomination will be required for each account individually.

  • Non-binding beneficiary nomination

    A non-binding beneficiary nomination tells the trustee of the super fund who you’d like to receive your super, however it is not legally binding. While your nomination will be considered, the trustee must follow the law in working out who should receive a death benefit. In some cases this may not be the person you nominated. This nomination doesn’t have an expiry date.  

    You can make this type of nomination online via the ‘beneficiaries’ page of your super or pension account. If you have previously nominated a binding beneficiary, due to the legally binding nature of the nomination, you will need to first revoke it by completing the super or pension beneficiary form. 

    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 is legally binding and requires us to pay your super to the person or people listed.

    A binding nomination can be provided to us by completing a valid beneficiary nomination form in the presence of two witnesses who are aged 18 years or older. These witnesses cannot be one of the beneficiaries being nominated. 

    At the time of completing this form you can choose to make your nomination either non-lapsing (meaning it won’t expire unless you revoke it) or lapsing (meaning after three years, unless the nomination is renewed, it will revert to a non-binding nomination).

    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 form. 

  • Reversionary beneficiary nomination

    A reversionary beneficiary nomination allows us 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.

    The following dependents can be nominated as a reversionary beneficiary:

    • A spouse
    • A child who is:
      • Less than 18*; or
      • Less than 25* and financially dependent
      • Severely disabled 
    •  A person (other than a child) who is in an interdependency relationship with or who is financially dependant on the member at the date of death


    A reversionary beneficiary nomination can only be made as part of the original application when applying for the Mercer SmartRetirement Income product. The required form to make this nomination is included as part of the application form

Tax implications


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

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 financial advice.

If you don’t have a financial adviser, as a Mercer Super member you can access limited financial advice about your super account at no additional cost. You can book an appointment with our Helpline Advice team by completing the callback form.

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

Check your beneficiary nomination is up to date


You can check your beneficiary nomination by logging into your account and navigating to the 'Beneficiaries' page.

If you nominate a beneficiary with a middle name or a two-part last name, due to system limitations only the "first" and "last" names will be visible to you in your online account.

For example, if your beneficiary was “Jane Sarah van de Walt”, this will appear as “Jane Walt” when viewed in your online account. Please know that your nomination has been processed as you provided it. The discrepancy that you see does not impact the validity of the nomination.

If your nomination is out of date, or you do not have one, you can nominate a beneficiary for your superannuation by following the instructions above.

Please note some employer plans offer non-standard beneficiary arrangements. If you are part of an employer plan, we recommend consulting your Product Disclosure Statement and beneficiary fact sheet, by searching for your employer on our 'Documents' page.


Read next:

Understanding superannuation contributions and taxes

By adding a little bit extra to your super, you could enjoy more retirement savings and several tax benefits.

Nominating your superannuation beneficiary

By nominating a beneficiary you can let us know who you’d like your super to go if you pass away.

The ins and outs of additional personal super contributions

Your super is a long-term investment – additional contributions you make today can have a significant impact on your balance and retirement outcomes.


*For non-severely disabled children eligible to receive to receive a reversionary pension, this must be paid out as a lump sum once they reach age 25.

Issued by Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited ABN 79 004 717 533, Australian Financial Services Licence #235906, the trustee of the Mercer Super Trust ABN 19 905 422 981 (‘Mercer Super’). Any advice 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, you need to take into account your own financial circumstances. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement, Product Guide, Insurance Guide, Financial Services Guide and Target Market Determination (TMD) 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.Any advice contained in this document is of a general nature only, and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or personal needs of any particular individual. Prior to acting on any information contained in this document, you need to consider the appropriateness of the advice taking into account your own objectives, financial situation and needs, consider the Product Disclosure Statement for any product you are considering, and seek professional advice from a licensed, or appropriately authorised financial adviser if you are unsure of what action to take The material contained in this document is based on information received in good faith from sources within the market and on our understanding of legislation and government press releases at the date of publication which we believe to be reliable and accurate. Neither Mercer nor any of its related parties accepts any responsibility for any inaccuracy. Copyright 2023 Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited. All rights reserved.

The material contained in this document is based on information received in good faith from sources within the market and on our understanding of legislation and government press releases at the date of publication which we believe to be reliable and accurate. Neither Mercer nor any of its related parties accepts any responsibility for any inaccuracy.

IMPORTANT: Please note that any information in this material regarding legal, accounting or tax outcomes does not constitute legal advice or an accounting or tax opinion and prior to relying and acting on this information it is important that you seek independent advice from a qualified lawyer or accountant regarding this information.