The rules governing what surviving spouses or partners might inherit following the death of a member will differ for different private pension schemes, and will depend on individual scheme rules. Some schemes will require a couple to be married or in a civil partnership, others will require the scheme member to nominate their partner, in others again the unmarried partner may have to prove financial dependency.
Many Defined Benefit pension schemes pay death benefits, such as death in service lump sums, or, for those already retired, the remainder of the first five year’s pension on the member’s death. These benefits are normally payable even if no survivor benefit is due. In many cases, the trustees have discretion as to who payment should be made to, although the member is encouraged to complete a nomination form to make their wishes known.