Why you need to nominate a beneficiary
Nominating a beneficiary helps your super or pension benefits go to people important to you, such as family members or your partner. What benefits they receive depend on your super or pension account, but can include things like your remaining balance and relevant insurance benefits.

How to nominate a beneficiary for your superannuation

Super benefits are paid as a lump sum to one or more eligible people you nominate. A nomination could include:

  • your spouse
  • your children (including your partner's children)
  • someone who’ll be financially dependent on you when you pass away
  • someone you’re in an interdependent relationship with when you pass away
  • your legal personal representative.

When you choose someone to receive your super benefit, you can make your nomination either binding or non-binding.

If you haven’t nominated a beneficiary, we decide who receives your benefit. This could include your dependants and/or your legal personal representative. Your legal personal representative in this case is the executor or administrator of your estate. Our choice might not be your first preference, however, so keeping your beneficiary nomination up to date is essential.

Binding nominations

We’ll pay your benefit to the beneficiaries you nominate. A lapsing nomination expires after three years and must be updated when it lapses. A non-lapsing nomination stays valid until it’s changed, revoked, or becomes invalid.

You can make your nomination binding by completing the binding nomination form. Two people must also witness you complete the nomination and sign it on the same date. They can't be mentioned in the form and must be aged 18 or older.

Non-binding nominations

Non-binding means your preferred nomination is recognised but isn’t binding to the trustee, which in this case would be UniSuper. When deciding who receives your benefit, we’ll take into consideration your nomination, circumstances (e.g., your dependants), and any relevant laws.

Your nomination won’t expire unless you change or revoke it. You can change your non-binding nomination at any time using your online account.

How to nominate a beneficiary for your pension

The type of pension you have can determine how you choose a beneficiary, so nominating someone involves first learning how beneficiary rules apply to you.

Flexi Pension beneficiaries

Like super benefits, Flexi Pension benefits can be paid as a lump sum to a beneficiary by making a binding or non-binding nomination. But unlike super benefits, you also have the option of making a reversionary nomination to provide your beneficiary with regular income payments. These payments continue until the balance falls below $10,000. We then pay out the remaining balance as a lump sum.

Except for Beneficiary Income Stream members, all UniSuper Flexi Pension members have the option of choosing one person to be a reversionary beneficiary. In the event your nomination isn’t valid when you pass away – if you separate from a spouse, for example – we’ll decide who receives your benefit as a lump sum.

You can nominate:

  • your spouse
  • your child (if they’re under 25 and financially dependent on you, or have a disability according to the Disability Services Act 1986)
  • someone who’ll be financially dependent on you
  • someone you’re in an interdependent relationship with.

To nominate a reversionary beneficiary for your Flexi Pension, complete and return the reversionary beneficiary form.

Beneficiaries for other UniSuper pensions

  • Defined Benefit Indexed Pension
    • If you have a spouse, they’ll automatically receive 62.5% of your pension as a regular payment for life.
    • If you have dependent children and/or children with a disability, they will also generally receive a portion of your pension.
    • For more information, refer to the Defined Benefit Indexed Pension PDS (PDF 1.86 MB).
  • Joint Life Lifetime Income account
    • By nominating your spouse when you open your pension, they can receive your income payments as a reversionary pension when you die.
    • Your nomination is binding and can’t be changed.
    • Your nomination won’t receive payments if they’re no longer a valid beneficiary when you pass away.
    • If you and your spouse both pass away within the guarantee period, we’ll pay a residual lump sum amount to your or your spouse’s legal representative.
    • For more information, refer to the Lifetime Income PDS (PDF, 3.3 MB).
  • Single Life Lifetime Income account
    • If you pass away within the guarantee period, we’ll pay a residual lump sum amount to your legal personal representative.
    • The residual amount paid as a death benefit lump sum is generally received tax-free if paid to a beneficiary who is your dependant for tax purposes.
    • This includes where the benefit is paid to your legal personal representative and a dependant has benefited or may be expected to benefit from the payment.
    • For more information, refer to the Lifetime Income PDS (PDF, 3.3 MB).
  • Term Allocated Pension
    • Binding and non-binding nominations you make can be updated at any time.
    • If you made a reversionary nomination when you opened your account, your nomination is binding and can’t be changed.
    • Your reversionary nomination won’t receive payments if they aren’t a valid beneficiary when you pass away.
    • Income payments for reversionary beneficiaries will continue until the balance reaches zero.

What to consider when nominating a beneficiary

Multiple beneficiaries

  • If you choose multiple beneficiaries, you must allocate 100% of your benefits or your nominations will be considered invalid.
  • For example, if you nominate three people, one beneficiary may receive 34% of your benefit and the other two may receive 33% each.

Interdependent relationships

  • An interdependent relationship could include two people living together who can demonstrate mutual emotional support and some degree of financial and domestic support.
  • An interdependent relationship typically does not include friends, housemates, or when someone is paid to provide domestic support or personal care to another person.


  • Children can include adopted children and can be of any age. Their age determines how they receive your benefit.
  • Financially dependent children between 18 and 25 can choose to receive your benefit as regular payments rather than a lump sum. If there is still a benefit in your account when they turn 25, they’ll receive the rest as a lump sum.
  • If your child is permanently disabled, they can keep receiving regular payments until your benefit runs out.
  • For children under 18, your benefit is paid into a trust account managed by a trustee until your child turns 18.

Legal representatives

  • If you nominate your legal personal representative, your super or pension benefit forms part of your estate and is distributed according to the terms of your Will.
  • If you don’t have a Will, your benefit is distributed according to the intestacy laws of your state or territory.

Get expert advice on beneficiary nominations

Nominating a beneficiary can be a challenging process. If you’d like some support with the basics, get in touch with one of our super consultants. It’s a free service included with your membership, so you won’t have to pay any costs out of pocket. They can provide more information on things like:

  • how beneficiaries work
  • who you can nominate
  • when you might change your nomination
  • tax, Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs income implications.

Need help with a beneficiary nomination?

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1800 331 685
8.30am to 6.00pm (Melbourne time)
Monday to Friday


+61 3 8831 7901 from outside Australia



To ask any questions or give feedback, use our email form.


Get financial advice

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