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Estate Planning – Reversionary Pension and Binding Death Nomination


Deb asks:

I am about to use my super to start an account based pension and one of the options asked of me was whether I wanted to nominate my husband as my ‘reversionary beneficiary’. How does this work?


We answered:

Hi Deb,


A reversionary beneficiary nomination enables you to elect for your pension payments to automatically continue to be paid to your husband (or certain other people) in the event of your death.

If this is your preference, then completing a reversionary beneficiary nomination can provide you with some certainty that your wishes will be followed.


If you don’t complete a reversionary beneficiary nomination (or another type of beneficiary nomination) the trustees of your super fund will have the discretion to decide who the money will be paid to.


Another way to remove trustee discretion is to complete what’s known as a ‘binding death benefit nomination’. These nominations have some important differences. Unlike a reversionary beneficiary nomination:

  • you can elect for your pension to be paid to more than one eligible beneficiary
  • the nominated person(s) will usually be able to decide whether they want the money to be paid to them as a lump sum (less any applicable taxes) or be used to start a new pension for them, and
  • you can change your nominated beneficiaries without having to cancel and restart your pension.


The best option for you will depend on a range of factors, especially your need for flexibility.  It’s also important to consider the social security implications, which can be quite complicated.

We recommend you give us a call if you are in any doubt about which option suits you best.




Tamara Carman

Certified Financial Planner®

Employee Representative

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