Family with bikes

Taking care of business


You work hard, you save hard, so why not have a say in who gets and benefits from your money when you pass away? In other words, a ‘beneficiary’ is a person you nominate to receive your superannuation benefits (death benefit) when you pass away.

Naming a beneficiary takes just a few minutes to do and usually costs nothing (other superannuation funds may charge a small fee) and you don’t need to ask a solicitor or accountant for help. It should be a given, right?

But it is interesting that many people choose not to nominate a beneficiary, says Andrew George, Mercer Financial Adviser.

"Letting the trustee of your super plan know who you’d like to receive your super if you were to pass away is the minimum you could do for your family," Andrew says. "We find most customers have non-binding beneficiaries organised before we create their specific protection strategy, but that’s often because they’re unaware of their limitations."

Two simple reasons why you should name a beneficiary:

  1. It will make life easier for spouse or children, and take away potential uncertainty during a time of grief; as your super fund can be guided by your instructions.
  2. It is confidential and can be updated without fuss if your circumstances change.

There are two types of beneficiary nominations: non-binding and binding. A binding nomination is valid for a maximum of three years. If a binding nomination has been made and is valid, the trustee must pay the person nominated. Unless a binding nomination is in force, the trustee has discretion in determining to whom a death benefit should be paid – generally it must be paid to your legal representative for inclusion in your estate or to a person considered financially dependent on you, which may not necessarily be the person or people nominated.

"Setting up your beneficiaries is a great start when you’re protecting your family. You can also help protect them outside of super with some good advice," Andrew says.

Not all funds offer binding nominations, so you should check with your fund. This information can usually be found on the fund’s website and in their product disclosure statement.

For Mercer customers, log in to your account and download the beneficiary nomination form.

For more on protecting your family call 1800 682 525 to speak to with a Mercer Financial Adviser.

Contact Mercer Super AU for all of your superannuation and financial planning queries.

Mercer Super Trust: 1800 682 525, +61 3 8306 0900
Pension: 1800 671 369, +61 3 8306 0906

8am - 7pm (AEST/AEDT), Monday - Friday

Mercer Super Australia has offices in Melbourne, Glen Waverley, Sydney, Paramatta, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Select your closest office location:

Wheelers Hill