What Happens To My Workplace Pension When I Die?


When a loved one passes away, managing what happens to their money might not be at the top of your priority list but it’s an important process that you will eventually need to go through. Although you will be dealing with emotional turmoil and upset, you may find yourself in the position where you will need access to your partner’s pension. In this article, what happens to my workplace pension when I die, we take a look at the process and steps involved.

Free Initial Telephone Discussion

For a free initial discussion on how we can help you with the legal aspects of gaining access to your partner’s pension after he or she dies, get in touch with us today. We will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help guide you through the whole process and also help you avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.

What steps to take when someone dies

In addition to dealing with the funeral arrangements, there are a number of steps that need to be taken before you can deal with the deceased’s financial affairs:

  1. You should register the death within 5 days. By doing this you will obtain a death certificate. This is an important document that you must keep safe as you will need the original in order to gain access to the deceased’s bank accounts.
  2. If the deceased left a Will, an executor will have been named. This is the person responsible for handling the estate of the deceased. Once the executor has the original copies of the Will and the death certificate, they can apply for probate. If someone dies without a Will, the application process is the same, but you’ll get ‘letters of administration’ rather than a ‘grant of probate’.
  3. You will need to estimate any inheritance tax liability and notify HMRC of the same. We can advise on this.
  4. Once you have the Will, death certificate, and grant of probate, you are then in a position to notify the banks, utility and insurance companies.

What happens to a workplace pension when someone dies?

When you die, your pension scheme or plan could provide benefits for your dependants.

If you don’t have any dependants, benefits may be paid to your estate.

The benefits that will be paid out depending on the type(s) of pension scheme that you belong to, whether you’re an active member and whether you have commenced drawing retirement benefits. You should speak to your scheme administrator or pension provider to find out exactly what your dependants will receive if you died.

If you die while you’re contributing to a workplace pension, you will usually get some form of life cover. Normally it’s paid as a cash lump sum that is paid tax-free. The amount will depend on the type of scheme you belong to, but it is often based on a multiple of your salary or pensionable earnings.  In addition, the scheme may refund the contributions you have made to the scheme.

Defined Benefit Scheme

Your scheme may also provide a dependant’s pension. Dependants’ pensions are normally paid to a spouse, or registered civil partner and may be payable to dependent children. Your scheme may pay it to another adult dependant who is financially dependent on you.

Pensions must be paid in line with the scheme rules. It’s therefore important that you don’t assume the benefit that your dependants may receive, but check it with the scheme administrator or plan provider. For example; some schemes can’t provide dependants’ pensions unless you have nominated the dependant during your life.

Defined contribution schemes

The scheme will normally pay out the value of your pension pot at your date of death. This amount can be paid as a tax-free cash lump sum provided you are under age 75 when you die. The value of the pension pot may instead be used to buy an income which is payable tax-free if you are under age 75 when you die.

How we can help

We have a proven track-record of helping clients deal with probate matters. We will guide you through all the necessary legal due diligence in a comprehensive and timely manner. We firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.

How to Contact our Wills and Probate Solicitors

It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and obstacles you are facing. However, expert legal support is crucial in terms of guiding you through the often emotional process of probate in a sensitive and supportive manner and help ensure you achieve a positive outcome.

To speak to our Wills and Probate solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or allow a member of the team to get back to you by filling in our online enquiry form. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.

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