Nominate a beneficiary

Want to nominate or change your binding beneficiary?

PSSap members can nominate a binding beneficiary or beneficiaries. Your nominated beneficiary is the person you want to receive your death benefit in the event of your death.

Nominating a beneficiary is not mandatory. But it can help to provide peace-of-mind.

Login to PSSap Member Online to view your current beneficiary nomination.

More information

Who you can nominate

You can nominate one or more dependants and/or your legal personal representative (the executor of your will or administrator of your estate) to be your binding beneficiary or beneficiaries. Dependants include spouse, children or anyone who has an interdependency relationship with you.

If your binding nomination is valid and has not expired, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), is generally required to pay your death benefit to the beneficiary or beneficiaries you nominate. However, if a person you nominate is a dependant at the time of your nomination but not at the time of your death, CSC will use its discretion, in accordance with the law, to determine who will receive your death benefit.

Valid nomination

To be valid, your binding nomination must be:

  • to a dependant under superannuation law
  • signed and witnessed in a certain way using a legal instrument called a binding beneficiary nomination form
  • renewed every three years (unless you choose to reconfirm, change or revoke your nomination before the period ends).

We'll aim to contact you before your three year period ends. But you should keep your own records.

Death benefit

A death benefit comprises a member's account balance plus any eligible insurance proceeds. It may also include a refund of the 15% contributions tax paid over time if the benefit is paid to an eligible dependant. This is called an anti-detriment payment.

A death benefit paid from PSSap can only be paid as a lump sum. Tax may be payable on benefits paid from a super fund including lump sum amounts.

See tax and super for more on the tax treatment of lump sum super benefits.

 

Personal financial advice

Nominating your beneficiary is an important decision only you can make. A licensed professional can provide personal advice on matters such as the potential tax implications of choosing different beneficiaries. For example, there may be different tax implications on the distribution of your benefit if you nominate your legal personal representative as your beneficiary.

See financial advice to learn about the personal financial advice service offered to PSSap members by CSC's authorised* financial planners.

* Our authorised financial planners are authorised to provide advice by Guideway Financial Services (ABN 46 156 498 538, AFSL 420367.). Guideway is a licensed financial services business providing CSC financial planners with support to provide members with specialist advice, education and strategies.

Nominate, change or revoke

Complete the Binding beneficiary nomination form [PDF 847 KB] and return it to us.

The form is a legal instrument. For your nomination to be valid, the form must be signed and witnessed in a particular way as explained in the form.

To remain valid, your nomination must be renewed every three years. We'll aim to contact you before your three year period ends. But you should keep your own records.

More information

Must I nominate a beneficiary for my PSSap account?

No, you do not need to nominate a beneficiary. However, it can help to provide peace-of-mind if you have a valid binding nomination in place. Otherwise, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, is required to decide, in accordance with the law, who receives your death benefit.

What if I don’t make a nomination or don’t have a valid nomination in place?

If you do not make a binding nomination, or your valid nomination expires because it is has not been renewed within three years, or your nomination is invalid in another way, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), will, in accordance with the law, determine who is entitled to your death benefit and how to divide the benefit if it is to be paid to more than one person.

At CSC's discretion, your death benefit may be paid to:

  • one or more dependants; and/or
  • your legal personal representative; or
  • any individual we decide if we cannot find a dependant or your legal personal representative.

In exercising its discretion, CSC usually considers any application made by your spouse, your child/children or a person in an interdependency relationship with you, or any other person who considers they may have a claim. CSC may also (but is not obligated to) take account of any beneficiaries nominated in an expired or invalid binding nomination or your will.

CSC may also use other avenues to identify potential recipients. For instance, CSC may:

  • ask your employer for help in identifying family members
  • contact your family and/or your solicitor to identify possible beneficiaries
  • advertise in newspapers for potential claimants where it cannot identify family members.

Who can I nominate as my beneficiary?

Superannuation law restricts the beneficiaries you can nominate to dependants, who are:

  • your spouse (including a de facto spouse of the same sex or opposite sex, who lives with you on a genuine domestic basis)
  • your children of any age (including adopted, step-children, ex-nuptial children, or a child within the meaning of the Family Law Act 1975)
  • any person with whom you have an ‘interdependency relationship’.

You can also nominate your legal personal representative (the executor of your will or the administrator of your estate), or a combination of dependants and your legal personal representative, to receive your PSSap death benefit.

If a person you nominate is a dependant at the time of your nomination, but is no longer a dependant at the time of your death, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, is required to decide, in accordance with the law, who receives your death benefit.

What is an interdependency relationship?

Super law defines an interdependency relationship as between two people who:

  • have a close personal relationship; and
  • live together; and
  • one or each of them gives the other financial support; and
  • one or each of them gives the other domestic support and personal care.

An interdependency relationship may also exist if there is a close personal relationship between the two persons, but one or more of the other requirements for interdependency are not satisfied because of a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability.

Who is a child by law?

The meaning of 'child' is established in the Family Law Act 1975. It states a child can be a biological, adopted or step child, as well as a child:

  • born to a woman as the result of an artificial conception procedure while that woman was married to, or was a de factor partner of, another person (whether of the same or opposite sex)

OR

  • of a person because of an order of a state or territory court made under a state or territory law prescribed for the purposes of section 60HB of the Family Law Act 1975, giving effect to a surrogacy agreement.

How do I split my benefit between more than one beneficiary?

To split your death benefit between more than one beneficiary, simply nominate the percentage of your benefit in whole numbers you wish each beneficiary to receive.

Split your benefit between multiple beneficiaries using the Binding beneficiary nomination form [PDF 847 KB

How do I ensure my nomination is valid?

If your binding nomination does not meet all the requirements set out below, it will be invalid. You should take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the validity of your nomination, including renewing or confirming it every three years. We'll aim to contact you before your three year period ends. However, you should keep your own records.

For your nomination to be valid, it must be made (or amended) strictly in accordance with conditions prescribed under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SIS Act) and the Regulations made under the SIS Act. Those conditions are:

  • The people you nominate to receive the benefit must be either your dependant (as defined above) or your legal personal representative.
  • The proportion of the benefits payable to each person you nominate must be clear or easily ascertainable from the nomination form.
  • The nomination must be in writing.
  • You must date and sign the nomination in the presence of two witnesses both of whom must be over the age of 18 and not listed as beneficiaries in the nomination.
  • The nomination must contain declarations from each of the two witnesses confirming that you signed and dated the nomination before them.
  • The nomination must not have been revoked.
  • The nomination must have been made, confirmed or amended within three years of your death (that is, you must keep the nomination up to date and review it every three years).You must give us the nomination (someone else cannot give it to us after your death).

If you send us your binding nomination and we believe it is invalid for any reason, we'll aim to write to you seeking further instructions. Validity of your nomination is, however, your responsibility.

How do I know if my nomination has been received?

We'll confirm in writing that your nomination has been received.

When will my nomination expire?

If you have a valid binding nomination in place, it will expire three years from when you made, confirmed or amended your nomination. If you wish for your nomination to remain effective, you must renew it in writing before it expires. That is, you must renew it within three years of the date you originally signed it or within three years of the date it was last confirmed.

Renew your nomination using the Binding beneficiary nomination form [PDF 847 KB]

 

You cannot make a binding nomination if you don't have dependants or a legal personal representative. And without a binding nomination in place, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), will determine who is entitled to your death benefit and how to divide the benefit if it is to be paid to more than one person.

At CSC's discretion, your death benefit may be paid to:

  • one or more dependants; and/or
  • your legal personal representative; or
  • any individual we decide if we cannot find a dependant or your legal personal representative.

In exercising its discretion, CSC usually considers any application made by your spouse, your child/children or a person in an interdependency relationship with you, or any other person who considers they may have a claim. CSC may also (but is not obligated to) take account of any beneficiaries nominated in an expired or invalid binding nomination or your will.

CSC may also use other avenues to identify potential recipients. For instance, CSC may:

  • ask your employer for help in identifying family members
  • contact your family and/or your solicitor to identify possible beneficiaries
  • advertise in newspapers for potential claimants where it cannot identify family members.

Can I change my current beneficiaries?

Yes, you can change the beneficiary or beneficiaries set out in a valid nomination.

For instance, you may want your current valid nomination to reflect a change in your personal circumstances such as marriage, divorce, the start or end of a registered relationship, the birth of a child, a change in a current interdependency relationship, the start of a new interdependency relationship or the death of a nominated beneficiary.

Change beneficiaries using the Binding beneficiary nomination form [PDF 847 KB]

How do I renew or cancel my current nomination?

You can renew or cancel your nomination at any time. If you choose not to renew your nomination and you die, the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, will make a decision about who receives your benefit as if you had not made a valid nomination.

Renew or cancel your nomination using the Binding beneficiary nomination form [PDF 847 KB]

Must the trustee pay to nominated beneficiaries in all cases?

There are limited exceptions where the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), may not be required to pay your benefit in accordance with a valid binding nomination. For example, if CSC is:

  • subject to a court order (such as a Family Court of Australia order) preventing payment of the benefit, or
  • aware you are subject to a court order that prohibits or restricts you from giving a binding nomination or requires you to amend or revoke such a nomination.

Are there any fees to pay?

No, there are no fees or charges to nominate, change or revoke a binding nomination.

Should I still have a will?

It is important to stress that your binding nomination does not replace a will. Your nomination will have no bearing on how your assets outside superannuation such as property, shares and cash will be dealt with in the event of your death. You must not view a nomination for your super as a substitute for having a legally enforceable will in place.