I’ve separated from my wife, is it true that she’ll still get my pension if I die?

2 min Read Published: 15 Apr 2014

ex-wife pensionReader Question:

I have a works pension which I put into a private pension. I have been separated from my wife but not divorced. With my new pension company I signed a form stating after my death any money in it should be divided between my son and my partner but I have been told my wife may still be able to claim the money. Could you please let me know how I stand?

Mark's Response: 

Good question!

Okay- with a personal pension the pension doesn’t form part of your estate to be given out according to your will, but instead the pension company trustees (people who work for your pension company and take decisions like this) decide where the money should go.

Because of this the person who said your wife might still have a claim does have a point, in theory maybe she does as the trustees could, in theory, give the money to whoever the choose. However in practise the pension trustees will take into account the fact you have been separated for so long when deciding, and much more importantly they will take into account the ‘Death Benefit Nomination Form’ it sounds like you’ve completed. Although they’re not 100% bound by this form there would have to be very strong reasons for them not to follow it (i.e. it was totally out of date and wasn’t aligned to your will at all). In this case it sounds like you’ve done the right thing with the form and so should be covered.

I hope that helps

Mark Sekree

This article was written by Mark Sekree, Partner of 3-S Financial Management, Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and creator of EZ ISA.

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