Did you know that superannuation is not generally covered by wills, unless you make the necessary arrangements with your superfund beforehand? To make sure your super money ends up in the right hands after you die, it’s important to keep your super up to date by nominating your beneficiaries.

Who gets my super if something happens to me?

Deciding who gets your super when you die isn’t as simple as having a will. That’s because
wills only cover assets you own, such as houses, cars, investments, jewellery and other personal items. Super on the other hand is held in trust for you by the trustee of the superfund.

To make sure that your super, and any life insurance you hold inside super, goes to the people you’d like it to in the event of your death, you need to keep your super fund up to date by nominating your beneficiaries. If you don’t nominate a beneficiary, your super fund may have the discretion to decide who receives the payment, regardless of what you have in your will. Making a nomination will help to give you peace of mind and to avoid family conflicts.

Who can be my beneficiary?

A beneficiary is the person or persons who receive the payout from your superfund when you die. You can nominate one or more beneficiaries if your super fund allows it. Eligible beneficiaries include:

  • your spouse or partner
  • your children
  • anybody financially dependent on you when you die
  • your estate or legal representative – known as an executor.

If you nominate your estate or legal representative, you can then specify in your will how and to who you want to distribute your super money to, which can include eligible beneficiaries (mentioned above), as well as other people in your life. It’s important that the information stated in your will is up to date, so your legal representative pays out your super money as per your instructions.

Ways to nominate a beneficiary

The way you nominate your beneficiary matters, as certain types of nominations give you greater control over who ultimately receives your super money. Most super funds will give you options, as explained here:

Option  What happens to your death benefit? 
Binding nominations As the name suggests, this type of nomination is ‘binding’ on the trustee of your superfund, which means they must pay your super to the beneficiaries you have nominated and in the proportions you specify. Some binding nominations lapse after three years, whereas non-binding nominations do not expire. Remind yourself to regularly review this. The limited time frame validity of the nomination is to protect people who have a change in relationship and forget to update it before passing away.
Non-lapsing binding nominations Non-lapsing binding nominations do not expire, and will continue to apply until you revoke an existing nomination or make a new one. As with a binding nomination, the trustee must pay your super benefit to the beneficiaries nominated and in the proportions specified. It is important to review your non-lapsing nomination regularly to make sure it’s still appropriate.
Non-binding nominations In this scenario, the trustee of your superannuation fund will consider your nomination but will have the final say as to who receives your super benefits. They will attempt to find all potential beneficiaries and decide who is the most appropriate recipient.

What happens if I don’t nominate a beneficiary?

Depending on your superfund, the trustee will follow the relevant laws and decide who the money goes to, regardless of what’s in your will. The trustee will either pay your death benefit to your estate or it may use its discretion to determine the beneficiaries.

How do I nominate, review, change or add beneficiaries?

Contact your superfund to find out how to nominate or update your beneficiaries. If your super is with AMP, you can add or update your nominated beneficiaries at any time online through My AMP.

  • Log into My AMP
  • On the 'Superannuation' page, select 'Manage my beneficiaries' from the 'I want to' menu
  • Add or update your non-binding or binding death benefit nomination.

Nominations checklist:

  • check your super fund allows binding nominations
  • check those you’re nominating are eligible
  • if you plan to nominate your legal representative, make sure your will is up to date
  • complete and sign a binding nomination form—in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries—and send the form to your fund
  • if your nomination is lapsing, make sure you review and renew it before it expires.

Go to My AMP and review your nominated beneficiaries.

Important information

Products in the Super Directions Fund and the Wealth Personal Superannuation and Pension Fund are issued by N.M. Superannuation Proprietary Limited (N.M. Super) ABN 31 008 428 322 (trustee), which is part of the AMP group (AMP). Before deciding what’s right for you, it’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions available from AMP at amp.com.au or by calling 131 267. Read AMP’s Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relation to products and services provided to you.

Products in the AMP Eligible Rollover Fund, National Mutual Retirement Fund, and NM Pro Super Fund are issued by Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited ABN 50 055 641 757 (trustee). Risk products are issued by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life), which is part of the Resolution Life group. AMP Life has proudly served customers in Australia since 1849. AMP Limited ABN 49 079 354 519 has sold AMP Life to the Resolution Life group whilst retaining a minority economic interest. AMP Limited has no day-to-day involvement in the management of AMP Life whose products and services are not affiliated with or guaranteed by AMP Limited. AMP Limited is not liable for products issued by AMP Life or any statements or representations made in the PDS for those products. “AMP”, “AMP Life” and any other AMP trademarks are used by AMP Life under licence from AMP Limited. Before deciding what’s right for you, it’s important to consider your particular circumstances and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions available from AMP Life at amp.com.au or by calling 133 731. Read AMP Life’s Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP Life and/or other companies within the Resolution Life group may receive in relation to products and services provided to you.

Any advice and information provided is general in nature, hasn’t taken your circumstances into account, and is provided by AWM Services Pty Ltd ABN 15 139 353 496 (AWM Services), which is part of the AMP group (AMP). All information on this website is subject to change without notice.