A death benefit nomination is a legal document signed by a superannuation fund member and given to the trustee of the member’s superannuation fund that gives guidance to the trustee of the superannuation fund on the member’s wishes as to how the trustee of the superannuation fund is to pay the member’s superannuation benefits in the event of their death to the person or persons nominated in the death benefit nomination (i.e. the beneficiaries).

Binding Death Benefit Nomination

A valid binding death benefit nomination is binding on a superannuation fund trustee.  However, it is only valid for three years from the date that it is signed by the superannuation fund member. It can be updated at any time by completing a new binding death benefit nomination. If a binding death benefit nomination expires then in the event of the death of the superannuation fund member the superannuation fund trustee may not have regard to the terms of the expired binding death benefit nomination, given that it is no longer valid, in determining how to distribute any superannuation benefits.

Non-Binding Death Benefit Nomination

It can therefore be prepared in conjunction with a non-binding death benefit nomination (see “Non-Binding Death Benefit Nomination”). A non-binding death benefit nomination has no time limitation affecting its validity and should be taken into consideration by a superannuation fund trustee when determining the distribution of any superannuation death benefit, but will not be binding on the superannuation fund trustee.

Who Can You Nominate?

The person or persons who can be nominated as beneficiaries in a binding or non-binding death benefit nomination are limited to:

  • current spouse of the member;
  • children of the member;
  • the legal personal representative of the member (i.e. the executor of their will); and/or
  • any person in an interdependent relationship with the member, being a person who is in a close personal relationship with the member, lives with them and one or each of them provides the other with financial support, domestic support and personal care.


It’s a good idea to create both types of death benefit nominations. The LegalVision customised templates let you do this quickly and for great value. If you need help to find a lawyer, contact us on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of our legal specialists today.

Lachlan McKnight
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