What happens if I don't nominate a beneficiary for super?


Nominating a beneficiary allows the trustee of your superannuation fund to know where to pay your super death benefit when you die.

Ideally you would make a nomination to guide the trustee.

However, in the event that no beneficiary is nominated or if your nominations are non-binding, the trustee can choose to pay your death benefit to any of the eligible persons, including: your spouse (including a de facto); your child or children; your estate; and a person with whom you are in a relationship of interdependency or who is financially dependent on you.


If you make no nomination, the trustee will typically write to your executor and your spouse and children, asking if they wish to make a claim for the death benefit, and asking who else might be eligible to receive it.

Each super fund has its own rules and processes to determine the most appropriate beneficiary. Where there is a surviving spouse or young children, the death benefit is often paid to them in priority over adult non-dependent children. If you have no spouse, children or dependants, it will be paid to your estate.


Cameron Cowley is a senior associate with Paxton-Hall Lawyers. He is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and is an accredited specialist in business law.
June 8, 2016 10.11am

What about if a person is the beneficiary of a will & part of that benefit is superannuation money of the deceased, but the beneficiary themselves hasn't reached preservation age (so not entitled to access their own superannuation - they are still working) does the fact they have received a superannuation payout alter how they receive their own superannuation down the track when they have reached preservation age, or are there any implications of the above?
Many thanks for a reply,

Chris Rule
March 31, 2020 10.32am

HI Paul I wouldnt think so. Being the beneficiary of an estate wpuld be a completely different matter to your personal superannuation position. I'd like to hear more if I'm off the mark here.

October 12, 2020 6.45pm


A deceased father left without any declaration of names as beneficiaries or next of kin to the Superannuation Funds savings. His personal and employee's contributions to the scheme proves 0difficult and cannot be accessed by the family members consisted of the children and the wife of the deceased who is the step mother to the children.

The office has advised them to pursue this matter in the court law for an appropriate order. Advise them on what remedies can be possible for these clients.

Darren Karape
October 26, 2020 6.54am

Please need answer to this question

Betty Daniel
October 13, 2020 12.13pm

Situation where a deceased Father has Left without declaration of names as beneficiaries to the superannuation funds savings.His personal and employment contribution to the scheme proves difficult and can not be accessed by the family member's consisted of children and the wife.

What could be appropriate approach taken here

Tim T
October 14, 2020 5.01pm

What do you mean 'can not be accessed'? Are they trying to log in using his member portal? Because that's the wrong thing to do.

They just need to contact the fund and advise that they are dependents and should be rightful beneficiaries.

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