Do I Get any of my Spouse’s Pension When They Die?

03 November 2017

When your husband or wife dies, you may be entitled to receive part or all of their pension. This largely depends on the type of pension your spouse had, the age at which he/she died, and your age.

State Pension

If your spouse was receiving a State Pension, and you are also over the State Pension age, you may be able to claim extra pension payments. The amount you get depends on how old you were on 6th April 2016.

If you were already in receipt of a State Pension by 6th April 2016, you’ll be able to claim extra pension payments based on the amount of National Insurance contributions your spouse made during their lifetime.

But things are slightly different if you reached State Pension age after 6th April 2016, as you’ll be under the new State Pension rules. This means you can actually inherit all or part of your spouse’s State Pension, Additional State Pension and protected payment.

However, you have to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible to receive your spouse’s new State Pension. For example, your marriage or civil partnership will normally have had to begin before 6th April 2016.

Also it won’t be possible to inherit any of your spouse’s State Pension if you get remarried or enter into another civil partnership before you yourself reach State Pension age.

But if you are entitled to receive your spouse’s State Pension after their death, it will be paid along with your own State Pension. If you’re not yet at State Pension age, you may be able to claim Bereavement benefits.

Private Pension

Your spouse may also have had their own private pension. This is typically either a workplace pension, or a personal pension scheme that your spouse put in place of their own volition. If so, the terms of the pension will need to be checked.

This is because different pensions will have different rules. Some pension schemes will pay out a lump sum when the pension holder dies. Others will continue to issue payments to a surviving spouse, although sometimes this will be a reduced rate.

Therefore when it comes to workplace and private pensions, the question of whether or not you get any of your spouse’s pension when they die depends entirely on the type of pension that’s in place.

The Executor of the Will (or the Administrator, if there is no Will) should inform the pension provider of the death and ask what happens next. If the pension pot is to be transferred or paid out to beneficiaries, the Executor or Administrator will be responsible for ensuring this happens.

Pensions after Death

If your loved one has recently died and you’re not sure what will happen to assets such as their pension, we can help you. We specialise in Probate and Estate administration, and can advise you on what steps you need to take next.

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