Nominate who gets your super

Retirement can last twenty years or more, but sometimes your super will outlive you. By nominating one or more beneficiaries, you can make sure your hard-earned savings keep supporting your loved ones after you've gone.

Nominate who gets your super
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Peace of mind for your loved ones

No one wants to think about dying but it’s important to let us know who should get your super if you pass away. By nominating a beneficiary, you can:

  • Make your wishes known — you worked hard for your super, so let us know where it should go.
  • Offer clarity — life’s complicated. If you’ve had previous marriages, kids or have other financial dependents, nominating a beneficiary gives clarity and peace of mind.
  • Reduce stress — help your loved ones access your super quicker to reduce stress and heartache during difficult times.
  • Super isn’t in your will — super isn’t automatically included in your will. If you don’t tell us where it should go, we’ll decide based on relevant laws (which may not be exactly what you want).

Nominating beneficiaries

A beneficiary is a person who can receive all or part of your super and any insurance payout (known as your death benefit) when you pass away. There are two types of nominations you can make: binding or non-binding.

Binding nomination

A valid binding nomination means we’re legally obliged to pay your death benefit to your nominated beneficiaries when you pass away. You can nominate your legal personal representative or dependents.

Binding nominations need to be updated every three years to stay valid. You can renew, change or cancel your binding nomination at any time.

To make a binding nomination, fill out our binding nomination form, sign it in front of two witnesses (witnesses must be over 18 not beneficiaries) and post it back to us.

If your binding nomination isn’t valid when you pass away, we’ll work out who to pay your benefits to.

Download the Make a binding death benefit nomination form.

Non-binding nomination

With a non-binding nomination, you let us know who you prefer to get your super and any insurance benefit (your death benefit) when you pass away. We’ll try to pay your benefit as directed, but ultimately it’s up to the Trustee of your super fund to decide who gets your benefit and in what proportions (based on relevant laws).

Your non-binding nomination never expires, and you can update or cancel it at any time.

To make or change your non-binding nomination, log in to Member Online.

Who can be a beneficiary?

Only certain people can receive super death benefits. You can nominate either:

  • your dependants
  • your legal personal representative.

For super purposes, your dependents include:

  • your spouse or partner if you have a relationship as a couple
  • your children of any age, including natural, step or adopted children
  • any person who is financially dependent on you
  • any person you have an interdependency relationship with.

For more details, read our Nominating your beneficiaries fact sheet.

 

Beneficiaries case study examples

It’s important to have valid nominations in place so we know who should get your super when you pass away. Here are some examples showing potential outcomes based on the way people nominate — or don’t nominate — their beneficiaries.

Case Study:

Sarah, 56 years old - Non-binding nomination to husband

Sarah wants her husband to use her super to pay off their mortgage if she passes away unexpectedly.

Scenario 

Sarah has been married to 60-year-old Tom for 35 years. Sarah and Tom have three adult children who no longer live at home. They also have three grandchildren aged between five and ten.

All three of Sarah’s children are low-income earners , so Sarah helps out by paying for all three of her grandkids’ school fees.  

Sarah and Tom have a mortgage of around $200,000. Sarah believes that leaving her super to Tom when she dies would allow him to pay off the mortgage and retire from full-time work. So, Sarah makes a non-binding nomination to Tom.

Sarah passes away suddenly with a super balance of $225,000. 

Outcome

Sarah had made a non-binding nomination to Tom. While her wishes will be considered, it is u    ltimately up to the Trustee   (the legal entity responsible for managing the Spirit Super fund) to consider all dependants when deciding who gets her death benefit.  

By law , spouses are considered financial dependants. During the Trustee’s assessment of the beneficiary claim, Tom is identified as a potential beneficiary. 

However, because Sarah provided ongoing financial support to her three adult children, they could also be considered financial dependants. This means they are potential beneficiaries to her death benefit as well.     

The Trustee determines that Sarah’s three adult children will receive part of Sarah’s death benefit, with the balance going to Tom. 

If Sarah had made a valid binding nomination to Tom, then the Trustee could have paid the entire death benefit to Tom, allowing him to pay off the mortgage and retire.

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Case Study:

Jacquie, 53 years old – Binding nomination becomes invalid

Jacquie, a widow, wants to leave her super to her two adult daughters.

Scenario

To make sure her daughters get her death benefit when she dies, Jacquie makes a binding nomination and names both Danielle and Trina as beneficiaries. 

One year later, Danielle tragically passes away in a car accident. 

A few months after that, Jacquie suffers a stroke and also passes away.

Trina expects that she will automatically receive her mother’s super benefit as she is the only daughter still alive.

Outcome

Although Trina was listed as a beneficiary on Jacquie’s binding nomination, this nomination became invalid when Danielle passed away.  

The Trustee will now assess the claim as if no nomination existed and will determine potential beneficiaries in line with applicable laws.

 

Case Study:

George, 63 years old – No nominated beneficiaries, but has a valid will

George thought that by including his super in his will, his instructions to leave his super to his sons would be carried out.

Scenario

George has been in a de facto relationship with Stewart for fifteen  years. He has two adult sons — Greg and Jason — from a previous relationship that ended over twenty years ago.

George has a will that states his super should go to his two sons, with the rest of his estate going to Stewart.

George passes away unexpectedly.

Outcome

Instructions about super in a will are not binding. The Trustee may use George’s will as a guide, but it is ultimately the Trustee’s decision where George’s super goes, based on applicable laws. 

As George was in a de facto relationship with Stewart at the time of his passing, Stewart qualifies as a dependant of George. Greg and Jason are not financial dependents as they did not rely on George for financial support. 

As the sole financial dependant, the full death benefit is paid to Stewart.

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Case Study:

Tony, 45 years old – No beneficiaries

Tony, a father to three children from two different partners, passes away with no nominated beneficiaries.

Scenario

Tony has been in a de facto relationship with Katrina for five years. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Kate.

Tony also has two children, Matthew (11) and Jack (9), with his ex-wife. They have been divorced for nearly seven years.

Tony passes away from a heart attack.

Outcome

As Tony did not nominate any beneficiaries, it’s up to the Trustee to determine who should get his super benefit. 

Because Katrina is in a de facto relationship with Tony, she is identified as a dependant and potential beneficiary.

All of Tony’s children are also identified as dependants, including his two children from his previous relationship. This is because there is an expectation that Tony, as their father, would provide ongoing financial support. 

It is determined that the death benefit should be distributed to Katrina and the three children, Kate, Matthew, and Jack. The exact percentages of how the benefit will be split could vary. 

 

Case Study:

Charlotte, 75 years old – Binding nomination to daughter

Charlotte, a mother to two adult children, passes away after making a binding nomination to one of her children.

Scenario

After losing her husband five years ago, Charlotte made a binding nomination to her daughter, Amy (50). Charlotte also has a son, Jeremy (48), but she doesn’t see a lot of him.

After suffering a stroke, Charlotte moves into a nursing home. She passes away ten months later.

Outcome

Jeremy learns that Charlotte had left her super to Amy, but he believes he has a claim. However, because there was a valid binding nomination to Amy in place, it is determined that the full death benefit should be paid to Amy.

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