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Having a pension fund gives you peace of mind knowing that you will be able to take care of yourself and your dependants, even after retirement. But what happens should you die before you retire, and your family needs to access these funds? What should they know? Scorpion Legal Protection shares their legal advice.
As a member of a pension fund, you are required to nominate beneficiaries. This nomination will serve as a starting point and will guide the trustees when they decide who should receive your pension benefits. If you haven’t nominated beneficiaries for your pension fund, you should do so as soon as possible.
The trustees of the fund have 12 months in which to pay out your pension benefits. This may seem long, but it’s the law according to Section 37C of the Pension Funds Act. This is so that the trustees of the fund are satisfied that apart from the people mentioned in the nomination forms, there are no other unknown financial dependents that they need to take into account, for example, children that may not have been known. If there are other financial dependents, the trustees will take them into account when deciding on who should receive pension benefits.
Your family can approach your employer, who may then ask for specific documents to be submitted to the fund. The trustees of the fund may also reach out themselves and request that your family/financial dependents submit all information required to process the death benefit claim.
The trustees have up to 12 months to trace your dependents, and if no dependents or relatives are found, your pension benefits will be paid into your estate.
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 14 October 2022
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