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What can go wrong with your SMSF death benefit nomination?

Many things can go wrong when preparing a binding death benefit nomination for your self-manages superannuation fund.


  • The SMSF trust deed does not allow for a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN)

  • The BDBN is not in the approved form by the self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) trust deed

  • The nominated beneficiary is not a SIS dependant

  • The BDBN does not comply with the terms of the SMSF trust deed (Munro v Munro [2015] QSC 61)

  • The BDBN is poorly worded and does not satisfy the requirements under the SMSF trust deed as in Munro v Munro [2015] QSC 61

  • The nomination is a mere wish and non-binding (Donovan v Donovan [2009] QSC 26)

  • Deed variations were not properly completed rendering subsequent deeds and BDBNs made on the latest deed invalid

  • The SMSF trustee has not acknowledged receipt of the BDBN

  • The BDBN has lapsed

  • The BDBN witnesses are nominated beneficiaries

  • Percentage allocation does not add up to 100%

  • The BDBN hasn’t been signed and witnessed correctly

  • The pension documents are inconsistent with the BDBN - the pension may be set to be reversionary to the spouse but their BDBN may require payment to their Legal Personal Representative The pension documents and the BDBN are inconsistent with the SMSF trust deed

  • The member didn’t receive information about the BDBN when they should have

  • At the time of the member's death the beneficiary is bankrupt (Cunningham (Trustee) v Gapes (Bankrupt) [2017] FCA 787)

Don’t risk it. Call us on 04211 45637 for help when signing your BDBN for your SMSF.