January 14 2022

What you need to know about nominating a super beneficiary

Over the course of your life, your super is likely to be one of your biggest financial assets, especially if you’ve been in the workforce for a long time. Unlike some other assets, like your house or car, any super and insurance you have may not be automatically considered as part of your estate or will.
A hand against a green background plucks a paper human from a human paper chain A hand against a green background plucks a paper human from a human paper chain

So, if something was to happen to you, a beneficiary nomination can help your super fund decide who to release your super to. But depending on the type of beneficiary nomination you make, your super fund could either see your nomination as a guide or legally binding.

To help demystify the process of choosing and making a super beneficiary nomination, we thought we’d explain the basics.  

Who you can nominate as a super beneficiary

This will depend on the type of beneficiary nomination you have, but generally* eligible beneficiaries can include: 

  • your dependant/s, for example:

  • or your legal personal representative - someone legally recognised by you to manage your affairs, usually the legal executor or administrator of your estate.

*For reversionary beneficiary nominations, you cannot nominate your legal personal representative, and special conditions apply to nominating children.


Who can't you nominate?

Unfortunately, you can’t leave your super to a pet -sorry Fido!

You also can’t leave your super to an organisation or charity. Superannuation law generally requires super benefits to be paid to one or more of your dependants or legal personal representatives.


What types of beneficiary nominations can you make?

In super, you can generally either make a binding or a non-binding beneficiary nomination.

Non-binding nominations

A non-binding beneficiary nomination acts as a guide for your super fund in deciding who should receive your super. Your super fund will consider your nomination, but ultimately use their discretion in deciding who should receive your super, considering your relationships at the time of your death.

Binding nominations

As its name implies, a valid ‘binding’ beneficiary nomination is legally binding, so it means you have the final say on who receives your super. Nominations can also be lapsing or non-lapsing (only available for Rest Pension members).

Non-lapsing nominations (available only to Rest Pension members)

A valid non-lapsing beneficiary nomination is a nomination that your super fund must follow. This type of nomination does not lapse after any period and is only available to Rest Pension members. If you make this type of nomination, it’s important to keep it up to date, so that your super ends up with the person you wanted to get it.

Reversionary beneficiary (available to Rest Pension members only)

A reversionary beneficiary can choose to receive ongoing Rest Pension payments or a lump sum payment if you were to die. There are often special conditions that apply, so it's important to speak to your super fund or seek professional advice.

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What makes a binding nomination valid?

Binding nominations automatically lapse every three years. A valid binding nomination must be updated within the three years to remain binding, otherwise it will be treated as a non-binding nomination.

Rest will still have discretion over your death payment if your binding nomination is invalid or if a beneficiary you’ve nominated was not a dependant at the time of your death.

The person/s nominated must be a dependant or your legal personal representative of your estate. It’s important to know that the definition of a dependant under super rules may be different to the definition used in other circumstances, such as tax rules. So you might like to think about getting professional advice about your nomination. You can only make or change a binding nomination by completing the nomination form and sending it to us.

How do you nominate or review your beneficiaries?

You can review your beneficiary anytime in the Rest App or in MemberAccess.

The easiest way to update your non-binding beneficiary is via the Rest App or MemberAccess.

To make or update a binding beneficiary, please complete the "Nominate a beneficiary" form and return it to Rest.

Want to learn more?