Nominating a beneficiary

Why should I nominate a beneficiary?

In the event of your death, under current law, the money in your super account does not form part of your estate and is not subject to the terms of your Will.

Without a valid beneficiary nomination in place, the Trustee (“WA Super”) must decide to pay your death benefit to your estate or use its discretion to decide who receives your money. As a consequence, the payment of your super may cause conflict among those you love or there may be lengthy delays before payment is made.

The best way to ensure that your super, and insurance benefit (if applicable), is paid to those you intend is to nominate a beneficiary.

Beneficiaries can receive your money either as a lump sum or, in certain circumstances, as an income stream.

Who can I nominate?

For a beneficiary nomination to be valid, your beneficiary/ies must be one or more of the following:


  • Your spouse (including legal, de facto and same sex couples);
  • Your children (including step, ex-nuptial, adopted and your spouse’s children);
  • Any person who was financially dependent on you at the time of your death;
  • Any person who was in an interdependency relationship with you at the time of your death;


  • Your legal personal representative, which means the executor of your estate.

An “interdependency relationship” exists where two people:

  • Have a close personal relationship and live together (or are living apart temporarily); and
  • One or both of them provides the other with financial support, domestic support and personal care.

An interdependency relationship also exists if two people have a close personal relationship and the other requirements are not met because one or both suffer from a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability.

What are the different options?

There are three types of death benefit nominations:

  1. Binding nomination
  2. Non-binding nomination
  3. Reversionary beneficiary nomination (for Retirement Income stream members only)


Binding nomination

This type of nomination provides you with the greatest certainty about who will receive your benefit in the event of your death.

Under current super law, it is legally binding, and WA Super must follow it (even if your circumstances change). Therefore, it’s important to note that, if you nominate your spouse and you subsequently separate, the nomination is still valid unless you change it, or it expires.

If a binding nomination expires, it will revert to a non-binding nomination, and the Trustee will exercise its discretion when determining to whom your benefits are paid.

For more information, or to renew, change or cancel your Binding nomination:

Non-binding nomination

This type of nomination indicates your preference as to whom should receive your benefit in the event of your death.

Under current super law, it is not legally binding on WA Super; we will consider your nomination but, under this scenario, we must also consider all relevant circumstances and applicable laws at the time of your death.

For more information, or to renew, change or cancel your Non-binding nomination:

Reversionary beneficiary nomination (Retirement income stream members only)

A reversionary beneficiary instructs WA Super to continue to pay your pension account balance as a regular income stream to your nominated beneficiary. The beneficiary can generally receive these regular payments from your account until the balance reaches $0.

This type of nomination is legally binding on WA Super and, under current WA Super rules, it does not lapse even if your circumstances change.

Please note: Making or changing a reversionary beneficiary nomination may affect your Centrelink entitlements and may have tax implications. We recommend you contact the Department of Social Services at or speak to a licensed financial adviser prior to choosing this option.

For more information

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