Super death benefits
Don't leave behind a financial mess
When someone dies, it can be a tough time for the family -
emotionally and financially. Disputes over money can drive families
Spend a few minutes filling in the form saying where your money
should go if you die. This will give comfort for you and your
family, and avoid confusion and delays at the worst possible
Who gets your super if you die
Update your nominations if you marry or have children.
If you die, your super fund trustee
normally pays your death benefit to one or more of your dependants
or to your estate.
For super death benefits, the term 'dependants' includes:
- Your spouse (this includes same-sex de facto partners)
- Your children
- People with whom you had an interdependency relationship
- People who depend on you financially
Most super funds let you nominate who you want your death
benefit paid to, either as a non-binding or binding nomination.
If you don't nominate someone, the super fund trustee will
decide who your money goes to. This can lead to delays and may
cause fights in your family.
A binding nomination leaves your super fund trustee with no
choice as to who gets your death benefit.
You choose whether the money goes to:
- One or more dependants; or
- Your legal personal representative, who must pay out the money
according to your will
A non-binding nomination guides the super fund trustee on who
will get your super benefits. However, the trustee still has the
final say, especially if you nominate someone who doesn't depend on
you. The trustee is not required to follow the instructions in your
How much is the death
The total amount of money or 'death benefit' includes the money
in the deceased's super account at the time of death plus any life
insurance cover through the super fund.
Death benefit = super account
balance + any life insurance payment
Defined benefit funds sometimes have
different payment rules. If you're in a defined benefit fund,
contact the fund to find out more.
Claiming super death
If you have to make a claim for death benefits, contact the
deceased's super fund and find out exactly what you need to do.
It's a good idea to take notes and ask the trustee to send you
copies of all the relevant forms and policies. This process may
take several months, depending on the circumstances.
Making choices about your super death benefits
is very important. Discuss your plans with your family and close
friends so there are no surprises if they ever need to make a
Last updated: 21 Aug 2015