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Why it’s important to have a beneficiary nomination if tragedy strikes

Published December 2019

Encouraging your employees to nominate a beneficiary will ensure their retirement savings are distributed in accordance with their wishes, should the worst occur.

Helping your employees take charge of their retirement planning by getting their superannuation in order is part of being a responsible and supportive employer.

Many people don’t realise that their super, and any insurance benefits their super account contains, don’t automatically form part of their estate, when they die.

Unlike other assets, such as property, motor vehicles, furniture and personal effects, your retirement savings and any associated insurance pay-outs aren’t distributed according to the terms of your will if you have one.

Unless you nominate a super beneficiary, your super fund trustee has the discretion to determine who your super and life insurance pay-outs will go to if you die – and it won’t necessarily be the people you’ve named as beneficiaries in your will. Determining who should receive the funds can be a time consuming matter and, in many cases, it can take months or even years before they are released.

In some instances, the process can cause considerable distress for those left behind. It did in the case of Michael Rafferty, who collapsed and died unexpectedly while surfing. Conflict over his super resulted in a court ruling that the majority of his $375,000 super and insurance benefits should go to a woman who, according to his family, he’d only recently started a relationship with. Meanwhile, Michael’s two young children were left with less than a quarter of his total assets.

Lodging a non-lapsing beneficiary nomination with ANZ Smart Choice Super can prevent a situation like this occurring. By nominating one or more dependents as beneficiaries, your employees can ensure their super and any insurance benefits are paid out according to their wishes, to the people who need their support most. Non-lapsing beneficiary nominations are binding nominations and remain valid, unless a fund member experiences a major life change, such as marriage or permanent separation or the birth of a child.

The beneficiaries you nominate must be your dependent or your Legal Personal Representative. If an ANZ Smart Choice member wants their superannuation benefit distributed via their will, they can arrange for this to happen by nominating their Legal Personal Representative (estate) as their beneficiary.

Making a nomination matters

No matter how much your employees have saved in super, their funds can be a big help to the people they care about, after they pass away. If they haven’t lodged a beneficiary nomination yet, letting them know how important it is to do so can encourage them to take action.

It’s simple and quick to do so.

ANZ Smart Choice Super members can nominate a beneficiary online via ANZ internet banking, over the phone on 13 12 87.

If your employees have other super accounts, you may want to remind them to check that they’ve lodged super beneficiary nominations with those funds too.

Want to know more?

Knowledge is power. Educating yourself about the superannuation system and your rights and responsibilities as an employer will help you to meet your compliance obligations and provide your employees with a better superannuation experience. For more information, contact the ANZ Smart Choice Super Employer Services team on 13 47 43

Make superannuation simple and straightforward

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Learn about how Sam Aldenton is paying attention to her super and saving for a house so she can have financial freedom.
Learn about how Sam Aldenton is paying attention to her super and saving for a house so she can have financial freedom.
Learn about how Sam Aldenton is paying attention to her super and saving for a house so she can have financial freedom.

OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (OnePath Custodians) ABN 12 008 508 496, AFSL 238346, RSE L0000673 is the trustee of the Retirement Portfolio Service (ABN 61 808 189 263, RSE R1000986) (Fund) and issuer of the interests in “ANZ Smart Choice Super”, a suite of products consisting of ANZ Smart Choice Super, ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees.

ANZ Smart Choice Super is issued by OnePath Custodians and distributed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 11 005 357 522. ANZ is an authorised deposit taking institution (Bank) under the Banking Act 1959 (Cth). OnePath Custodians is the issuer of this product but is not a Bank. Except as described in the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, the obligations of OnePath Custodians are not deposits or liabilities of ANZ or its related group companies. None of them stands behind or guarantees the issuer or the capital or performance of any investment. Such investment is subject to investment risk, including possible repayment delays and loss of income and principal invested. Returns can go up and down. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

This information is subject to change. You should read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), PDS, product and other updates (for open and closed products) available at and consider whether the product is right for you before making a decision to acquire, or to continue to hold the product. Updated information will be available free of charge by calling Employer Services on 13 47 43 .

Taxation law is complex and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent tax advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice.

The information on insurance cover is a summary only of the terms and conditions applying to the insurance cover. To the extent there is any inconsistency with the terms of the insurance cover provided by the insurer, the terms of the insurance policy will prevail.

The information provided is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives. Before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to your needs, financial circumstances or objectives. The case studies used in this article are hypothetical and are not meant to illustrate the circumstances of any particular individual. Opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors only.

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