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Colleague passed away - his children not entitled to pension?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by morrisseyritual, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    Hi all,
    This is a situation in Scotland where law may be different but thought I’d ask generally.

    My close friend worked extensively in the North of England then came to Scotland, to the same school I attend, where he was for four years until he passed away suddenly, in March (non Covid related) this year.

    His ex wife and teenage children live in the North of England and reached out to me saying that because he apparently nominated no dependants on his England and Scotland teachers’ pension, his funds could not be paid to his surviving family. The assumption was that his children would receive payments or a lump sum immediately on his passing.

    His family are deeply hurt and frustrated. All expenses have had to be shared since March between my friend’s sister and ex wife.

    does this situation seem above board?
  2. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Lead commenter

    He wan't married? Did he have life insurance? Did he have parental responsibility? What pension was he paying? What is the situation with probate? I Impossible to tell if his children are entitled to anything from his pension from what you have said. His family need legal advice, try the union. They might not be able to help, as the union member is dead, but they might be able to recommend someone else.

    What expenses have had to be paid? Why would a lump sum to his children mean his ex wife and sister were not paying the same expenses?

    Can the head teacher help? They might have been involved in situations like this before. Why are his family asking you?
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Union, assuming he was a member, would be the first port of call.
    bonxie and emerald52 like this.
  4. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    I would say that Teachers' Pensions is the first port of call. They deal with bereavement all the time.

    I think the money goes into his estate, if there are no nominated beneficiaries.

    Also, if the children weren't living with him, they may not be classed as dependents.

    I'm pretty sure a phone call to TP would clarify everything.
    emerald52, Sally006, strawbs and 5 others like this.
  5. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    What Dunty said. If there's no nomination surely it goes to the estate and then the executors decide?
    emerald52, Dunteachin and smoothnewt like this.
  6. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Or then again...perhaps not.... just done a bit of reading. Perhaps the scheme administrators/trustees themselves investigate and allocate using their discretion?
  7. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    morrisseyritual likes this.
  8. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    There is no money as such. If there are no beneficiaries there is no pension. There is no pot of money. Presumably there was some sort of settlement with his ex-wife when they divorced. But children might be entitled if he was making a financial contribution to their upbringing. Will depend upon their age.
    emerald52 and morrisseyritual like this.
  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I must admit I didn't think there was any money for children, only a % for spouses. I might be out of date.
    Dunteachin and morrisseyritual like this.
  10. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Again, the definitive answer will come from the TP, not us lot.
  11. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    From TPS
    It goes without saying that your pension isn’t just about you. It’s also about the people you love and care for.

    If I’m retired what will my beneficiary or nominee receive after I die?

    If you’re a pensioner and your pension has been in payment for less than 5 years, a discretionary death grant is payable that is equal to five times your annual pension less any pension received prior to your death. If you became entitled to your pension – by having reached your normal pension age and leaving all pensionable service – but had not claimed it a discretionary death grant of 5 times your annual pension is payable.

    This is the same for all pensioners regardless of which arrangement – Final Salary or Career Average – that your pension benefits are based on.

    If there is no adult beneficiary or death grant nomination at the time of your death, any death grant that is due will be paid to your estate.

    Pensions for a Spouse or Civil or Qualifying Partner

    If you’re married or in a civil partnership your spouse or partner will automatically receive a pension after you die.

    Survivors of same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are treated in the same way as widows of opposite sex marriages, with survivor benefits in relation to service from 1 April 1972 or 6 April 1978 if the marriage was after the last day pensionable service. The widower of a member will receive benefits based on service from 6 April 1988.

    If you’re neither married nor in a civil partnership but have a partner, as long as they meet the qualifying criteria (see below) they will automatically receive a pension after you die.

    A partner will qualify for a pension only if you have 2 years’ or more pensionable service from 1 January 2007, and for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to your death:

    1. you were able to marry or form a civil partnership with your partner;
    2. you and your partner were living with each other as if you were a married couple or civil partners;
    3. neither you or your partner were living with a third person as if they were a married couple or civil partners; and
    4. you and your partner were financially interdependent or your partner was financially dependent on you.

    What about my children?
    Any children, born during your lifetime or within 12 months of your death, may be eligible to a child’s pension.
    How is the pension calculated?
    If you die after retiring and have a surviving spouse or partner and/or children we'll continue to pay your pension in full for three months. These payments are called the short term pension. After the short term pension ends a long term pension is put into place for payment.

    How long will my family continue to receive a pension?
    If you were in service on or after 1 January 2007 any adult pension will be paid for your beneficiary’s lifetime.
    How much of my service counts towards family benefits?
    If you’ve nominated a partner for family benefits your service from 1 January 2007 will automatically be used in the calculation of family benefits.
    So looks like ex-wife wont count - children may be, but will depend upon their age.
  12. Katzenjammer

    Katzenjammer Senior commenter

    When I had to deal with this situation from, so to speak, the opposite angle, I made sure that the TPA knew that my ex-wife was no longer the beneficiary of a widow's provision once we divorced. In fact the only reason my second wife and I married was to enable her to access widow's benefits when I die. And provision for children surely stops at 18?
    morrisseyritual likes this.
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Scotland has its own teachers pension scheme so TPS rules don't apply, but if the teacher had still been in service, still working when he died, then in England the TPS Death in Service lump sum would also have been relevant and would have been paid out.


    I'd expect the Scottish scheme to have an equivalent benefit but don't know their rules.

    A friend of mine died while still teaching some years ago and I was her Executor. She had a 16 year old child and her child received a pension until 18, or if they stayed continuously in higher education, until the end of their education or age 23, whichever came first. The rules may have changed since I dealt with it, it was about 10 years ago.
  14. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    this seems to be precisely the way, without nominated beneficiaries.

    I’ve further consulted the EIS union over the weekend and this seems to be the upshot.

    His family may pursue legal avenue. However, lesson to me and if I may, to everyone, is for goodness’ sake nominate a beneficiary on your pension scheme in the event of your passing.
    Thanks for all your advice and have a pleasant Sunday evening.
    Dunteachin, jonnymarr and emerald52 like this.
  15. jonnymarr

    jonnymarr Occasional commenter

    Completely agree, especially if your situation isn't 100% clear. If in doubt, click through to the nomination section. It takes seconds.
    emerald52 likes this.
  16. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    The dependents pensions are not a gift for people to give to whoever they like.

    If you aren't married at the time of death and no-one is financially dependent on you, then there is no dependents pension due surely? Children's pensions may be a different case depending on whether they are in receipt of maintenance from the now deceased father, though they will be small amounts, probably a quarter of the accrued pension at the time of death.

    Is the ex-wife re-married?

    If no-one is nominated, the lump sum will go to his estate.
  17. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    Dependents' pensions aren't automatic, they are purchased with the funds or paid for during service. If a benefit hasn't been chosen in advance and funded for (as part of the arrangement or as an extra), or chosen when benefits are purchased with the accrued fund at retirement, then it's at the discretion of the Trustees. Without knowing the exact details, it's hard to say.
    (this is all based on what i knew when i worked in pensions, some of it may have changed - but not much)
    Dunteachin likes this.
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    As he was in pensionable service when he died, there will be adeath grant paid into his estate if he had not nominated anyone to receive it.
    It's then a matter of who he named as beneficiaries of his estate. If he had made no will, there are rules about who can inherit his estate and it will include a spouse (not an ex-spouse), children, parents and siblings.

    If the children are school age and he was paying maintenance, they should have acase for a dependent's pension each for a limited number of years.
  19. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    It is until 17 I believe at the moment, unless they continue in full-time education up to a maximum age of 23
  20. artboyusa

    artboyusa Star commenter

    If he wanted them to get the money, he would or should have nominated them, no?

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