Superannuation is not an asset of the estate and does not automatically pass to the estate of the deceased. The will governs what happens with your entire estate, save for your superannuation. It is therefore important to complete a fresh binding death nomination when you revise your will. It instructs the trustee of your superannuation fund how to pay your death benefit once you die. Provided it is valid, the trustee is obliged to follow the nomination.
To be valid, the nomination must be in writing and be properly signed in the presence of two witnesses. A binding nomination remains valid for three years from the date of signature. It is important to note that only dependants can be nominated – this includes:
- a spouse (including de facto and same sex)
- children of any age (including adopted)
- any person who is financially dependant
- any person in an interdependency relationship
- a legal personal representative (executor or administrator)
If your circumstances change (through marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or death of a nominated dependant), it’s important to amend the nomination. Nominations can also be cancelled at any time by giving written notice to the trustee. That notice must be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses.