Nominating beneficiaries for singles

Maybe you’ve heard that you should nominate your dependants to receive your super when you pass away, but what if you don’t have any dependants? Who gets your super if you’re single? 

In this article, we’ll explore

  1. Nominating your beneficiaries or personal legal representative
  2. Conditions of an interdependency relationship. 

Considering who gets your super if you pass away can help ensure your wishes are honoured, but if you’re single with no kids or other dependants your super is dealt with a bit differently when you pass away. Parents and couples can nominate dependents within their super account, but independent singles have an alternate process.

Unlike your home, car, or bank account, if you pass away your super doesn’t automatically form part of your estate. People with dependents can complete a beneficiary nomination and elect for their spouse or child to receive their super.

Not everybody has dependants

If you don’t have a dependant and you want to leave your super to someone like a parent, friend, or sibling, you’ll need to complete a beneficiary nomination and appoint your legal personal representative. Doing this means you can then use your Will to spell out how you’d like your super to be distributed, as your legal personal representative is the executor of your Will or the administrator of your estate.

It can be complicated!

You might be wondering what if you’re single with no kids but you have someone who relies on you? If your single life is more complicated and you have an interdependency relationship or someone that depends on you financially then, just like a parent or a couple, you can use a beneficiary nomination to elect a dependent to receive your super.

There are four conditions that must generally be met to qualify for an interdependency relationship:

  • You have a close personal relationship, and
  • You live together, and
  • One or each of you provides the other with financial support, and
  • One or each of you provides the other with domestic support and personal care.

But there are exceptions. For example, if one or both of you suffer from a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disability and you have a close personal relationship but don’t live together, you may be classed as having an interdependency relationship.

Circumstances change but so can your nomination

Life’s a roller coaster so if your relationship status changes, you have a child, or someone becomes dependent on you then it’s best to update your beneficiary nomination so your super can be distributed according to your wishes.

What happens if you’re single with no kids and don’t choose a beneficiary?

If you don’t nominate a super beneficiary your super fund will decide who receives your benefit in accordance with superannuation and trust law. This decision is based on who they determine has the greatest need. They can defer to the instructions in your Will or provide for your next of kin, but this is not always the case. If you want your super distributed according to your wishes the best way to ensure this happens is by completing a beneficiary nomination and keeping this up to date.

Need help with nominating a beneficiary?

You’re not alone—we’re here to support and guide you. We can help you understand how it works and who you can nominate, so you can make the best choice for your circumstances. To speak to one of our financial planners, please book a call-back. This sort of advice is covered by your membership and won’t cost any extra.*

Find out more about beneficiary nominations


This article forms part of our Super for singles series. You can also read our Insurance for singles and A comfortable retirement for singles article.

Information correct as at 22 February 2024.