Who gets your super when you die?

It’s important for you to consider who would receive your super, including any insurance benefit, if you die. Nominating a beneficiary is one way to plan how your super will be distributed.

A beneficiary is the person or persons whom you wish to receive your super in the event of your death.

You may nominate one or more beneficiaries to receive your benefit. Your beneficiaries must either be a dependant or legal personal representative.

Who is a dependant?

A dependant for superannuation law purposes includes:

  • your spouse (including de facto and same-sex spouses);
  • your children (including natural, step or adopted and children of your spouse). In order to receive the benefit tax-free, children must be under the age of 18. A child over the age of 18 can only receive the benefit tax-free if they are financially dependent on you or have a disability (as defined by legislation);
  • a person financially dependent on you at the date of death; and
  • a person in an interdependency relationship with you.

An interdependency relationship exists if:

  • two people have a close personal relationship and they live together; and
  • one or each of them provides the other with financial support; and
  • one or each of them provides the other with domestic support and personal care.

An interdependent relationship also exists if two people have a close personal relationship and the other requirements are not satisfied because of either or both of them suffer from physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability or because they are temporarily living apart.

Dependants for tax purposes

The definition of 'dependant' is different for tax purposes, and includes:

  • spouse or former spouse (including same-sex couples)
  • child under 18
  • financial dependant
  • interdependant (as defined above)

The distinction between dependants for superannuation purposes and dependants for tax purposes is important, because dependants for tax purposes will receive your superannuation tax-free if it is paid as a lump sum after your death.

What I if don’t have any dependents?

If you do not have dependants, you can nominate anyone as your preferred beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Where there are no dependants, your benefit will be paid at the Trustee’s discretion. Usually, this means that your benefit will be paid to your estate and distributed according to your Will (if you have one) or State Law.

How can I nominate beneficiaries?

You can nominate or change your beneficiaries at any time by: