Binding Death Benefit Nominations and Self-Managed Super Funds

Dec 10, 2023

Understanding Binding Death Benefit Nominations

When it comes to estate planning, one of the most overlooked aspects is the Binding Death Benefit Nomination (BDBN). A BDBN is a legal document that specifies who will receive your superannuation benefits in the event of your death. It provides certainty and peace of mind, knowing that your superannuation benefits will be distributed according to your wishes.

binding death benefit nomination

The importance of having a BDBN cannot be overstated. Without one, the trustee of your super fund has the discretion to decide who receives your benefits, which may not align with your intentions. A BDBN, on the other hand, binds the trustee to follow your instructions.

Role of BDBN in SMSF

For those with a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF), a BDBN plays a crucial role It provides greater control over the distribution of your super benefits, which is one of the main attractions of an SMSF. However, it's important to note that for a BDBN to be valid in an SMSF, it must meet certain legal requirements.

self-managed super fund

Legal Requirements for a BDBN in SMSF

Firstly, the SMSF's trust deed must allow for BDBNs. Secondly, the BDBN must be in writing, signed, and dated by the member in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries. Thirdly, it should clearly specify the beneficiaries and the proportion of benefits each one will receive. Lastly, it must be renewed at least every three years.

Why You Should Regularly Review Your BDBN

Life circumstances change, and so should your BDBN. Regular reviews ensure that your BDBN reflects your current wishes and that it remains valid. Events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the death of a nominated beneficiary can all affect your BDBN. Therefore, it's crucial to review and update your BDBN as necessary.

The Consequences of an Invalid BDBN

An invalid BDBN can lead to unintended consequences. It gives the trustee discretion over the distribution of your super benefits, which may not be in line with your wishes. Therefore, it's essential to seek professional advice to ensure your BDBN is valid and accurately reflects your intentions.


In conclusion, a BDBN is a vital part of estate planning, especially for those with an SMSF. It provides certainty and control over the distribution of your super benefits. Regular reviews and professional advice can help ensure your BDBN remains valid and effective. Remember, your super is likely to be one of your most significant assets, so it's worth investing the time and effort to ensure it's managed according to your wishes.

estate planning