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How Do Pensions Work After Death?

Published On Aug 03, 2021

What tends to happen to somebody's pension when they die is determined by a number of circumstances, including the person's age at the time of death and the type of pension they held. In this post, we'll go over how to handle a pension when the pension holder dies, as well as if surviving relatives are eligible for payments. If the deceased was still contributing to a pension when they died, the pension scheme provider will almost certainly want an original death certificate before making any payments.

How Do Pensions Work After Death?

When a person dies, it is a wise idea to obtain numerous legal copies of the death certificate to send to various companies to minimise any delays. Here are some of the things that could happen to your pension after you die, depending on the type of pension and other conditions.

1. In Case of State Pension Scheme

If the deceased was receiving a State Pension at the time of their death, you should notify the Department of Work and Pensions as soon as possible so that payments can be stopped. The surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased may be entitled to additional payments from the deceased's State Pension. This is determined by the amount of National Insurance contributions they made and when they reached State Pension age.
After you have provided them with all of the necessary information, the Pension Service will confirm your position. When you call them to inform them of the death, you can do this.

2. In Case of Personal Pension

When dealing with a deceased person's affairs, you should go through their papers to see if they had any personal or employment pension plans. If they did, you must contact the pension provider to see how much money the deceased had in their pension system. The pension provider can also advise you on what to do next.

3. In Case of Defined Benefit Pension

The way defined benefit pensions work is determined by whether the deceased was retired when he or she died. Most schemes will pay out a lump amount on death if the deceased was not retired. This is often two to four times their annual income. In addition, a'survivor's pension' is usually paid to the deceased's spouse, civil partner, or dependent child. If the deceased was retired then a reduced pension will frequently continue to be provided to a spouse, civil partner or other dependent until they die. The specific benefits differ depending on the scheme. You can check what benefits are owed by contacting the deceased's pension provider.

4. In Case of Lump Sum Pension Schemes

If a lump payment is payable from a defined benefit pension scheme, the scheme provider may pay this to a specified individual (or people) (or people). This will be the case if the deceased nominated one or more Beneficiaries or completed an expression of wish' form during their lifetime, specifying who they intended to benefit from the payment. If no Beneficiaries have been identified and no 'statement of wish' was given, the pension system provider will select who would get any lump payment and survivor pension. This is normally decided after the deceased's next of kin has completed a claim form detailing the deceased's family and any dependents.


You are the original owner of your pension plan and it is quite obvious that you continue to receive all its benefits until your life. However, it is understood that a person subscribes to a retirement or pension scheme for his whole family and not just for himself therefore in order to ensure that your family gets the pension benefits after your death you have to choose a nominee. The nominee can only be your spouse and after your death, all the benefits will be transferred to them. 

Also Read: Does My Wife Get My Pension if I Die?

Do You Lose Your Pension if You Get Laid off?

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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