Expression of Wish
As a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) you have the peace of mind that should anything happen to you, comprehensive benefits are paid out of the Scheme to your beneficiaries.
From the first day of scheme membership, if you were to die in service, a lump sum death grant equal to three times your annual pensionable pay is payable to your nominees or personal representatives. Under scheme regulations you are able to state who you would like to receive this benefit in the event of your death.
The Administering Authority to the Pension Fund does have absolute discretion as to whom a death grant should be paid but every effort will be made to ensure that your wishes are upheld.
Why should I complete an Expression of Wish form?
Whilst there is no requirement for you to complete an expression of wish form, there are two main reasons why doing so would be advantageous.
If you do not complete an expression of wish form, any death grant that may become payable will be paid to your legal beneficiary. Whilst this may be the same person or persons that you wish to receive your death grant, payments made in this way may be subject to Inheritance Tax where the total value of your estate exceeds the appropriate level. Simply by completing an expression of wish form and declaring your chosen beneficiaries, the death grant can be paid immediately to your beneficiaries and will potentially fall outside of Inheritance Tax.
In the event of your death without an expression of wish form having been completed, we will require from your next of kin, or other representative, sight of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration before releasing payment of the death grant to your estate. This can be a lengthy process and involves the services of a solicitor. By completing an expression of wish form the payment of the death grant can be made without the need to see these legal documents.
Who can I choose to receive my death grant?
You can choose one person, a number of people or even an organisation such as a charity. You can choose your husband, wife or partner, your children, any other family member or a friend, the list is endless. However, remember that the administering authority has absolute discretion when making payment of the death grant and will want to honour your wishes so always consider those who will and those who will not benefit.
Can I choose who can receive my pension benefits?
As a member of the LGPS, your dependants automatically qualify for part of your pension in the event of your death. If you are married, your husband or wife qualifies for a spouse's pension. If you have registered a civil partnership, your civil partner will qualify for a civil partner's pension. If you leave dependant children, they will also qualify for a pension for so long as they are eligible. Details of all of these benefits are provided in our factsheet - "Protection For Your Family".
From 1 April 2008 the LGPS regulations introduced partner's pensions for the first time and it is now possible for your cohabiting partner to receive part of your pension in the event of your death. To find out more about a cohabiting partner's pension please read our factsheet - "Cohabiting partner's pension".
Can I change my Expression of Wish at any time?
Yes you can. You can even cancel your expression of wish. You need to consider amending your form if:
- Your circumstances change;
- You become divorced or dissolve a civil partnership;
- The person you have chosen dies;
- It becomes impractical to make payment to your chosen beneficiary (such as a charity that no longer exists).
If you are unsure whether or not you have already completed an expression of wish form you can contact the Pension Team who will be able to advise you accordingly. If, however, you re-submit a second expression of wish form with exactly the same details as the first form it does not matter, we will just maintain your records in line with your duplicated wishes.
What do I do next?
If you haven't already completed a form please download our factsheet "Expression of Wish for Payment of Death Grant". If you would prefer to have a paper copy of this factsheet forwarded to your home address please contact us on 01628 796 668.
Once we have received your completed form we will acknowledge receipt within 10 working days.
Please make sure that you have completed your details accurately and the details of your chosen beneficiaries. It is also important that where you have named more than one beneficiary the shares add up to 100% in total, otherwise the form will be returned to you.
Please make sure you have signed and dated the form.
Update your Expression of Wish online
If you have already signed up to 'my pension ONLINE' you can log in to your online account.
Cohabiting Partner's nomination
As long as you have contributed to the LGPS at some point since 1 April 2008 a cohabiting partner's pension is payable to a cohabiting partner, of either the opposite or same sex, with whom you have not entered into marriage or formed a civil partnership.
A cohabiting partner's pension does not apply if:
- You are married as your husband or wife automatically qualifies for a survivor's pension in the event of your death; or
- You have formerly registered your partnership under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 as your civil (same sex) partner automatically qualifies for a survivor's pension in the event of your death.
Cohabiting partner's pension - qualifying criteria:
For a cohabiting partnership to be valid the following statements must apply:
- Your cohabitation had been continuous for at least 2 years at the point you pass away.
- Both you and your cohabiting partner are, and have been, free to marry each other or enter into a civil partnership with each other;
- You and your cohabiting partner have been living together as if you were husband and wife or civil partners; and
- Neither you or your cohabiting partner have been living with someone else as if husband or wife or civil partners; and
- Either your cohabiting partner is financially dependent upon you or you are financially inter-dependent upon each other.
Can you clarify the term "free to marry or enter into a civil partnership?"
Anyone who is already married or who has already entered intro a civil partnership, is not free to marry or enter into a civil partnership with their cohabiting partner. There are also restrictions placed upon a person marrying or entering into a civil partnership with certain close relatives e.g. parent, brother or sister, grandparent, uncle or auntie, niece or nephew.
If either you or your partner are currently married to, or have entered into a civil partnership with, another person and that marriage or civil partnership has not been dissolved, even though you are living in an "unmarried" partnership, cohabiting pension is not valid. This will be the case until such time as the marriage or civil partnership is dissolved and until that time, your legal husband, wife or civil partner will be entitled to survivor's benefits upon your death.
If your marriage or civil partnership has been dissolved it will still be 2 years from the date of dissolution before a cohabiting partnership is valid as you have to have been living together for 2 years i.e. you both need to have been free to marry or enter into a civil partnership with each other for a period of 2 years.
What do you mean by financially dependent of interdependent?
Under HM Revenue & Customs rules an occupational pension scheme can only pay a pension to a person who is financially dependent upon you or where you are both financially interdependent on each other. We will regard your partner as dependent if you have the highest income. We will regard you as being interdependent where you rely upon your joint finances to support your standard of living.
What will happen in the event of my death?
If you die before you reach retirement age your partner will become entitled to a long-term cohabiting partner's pension.
A long-term cohabiting partner's pension is equal to 1/160th of your final pay multiplied by your membership built up since 6 April 1988 enhanced to your Normal Pension Age as if you had retired due to permanent ill-health and not died in service.
If you die after retirement a long-term cohabiting partner's pension will become payable equal to 1/160th of your final pay (the pay used to calculate your pension) multiplied by your membership built up since 6 April 1988 plus inflationary increases applied between your date of retirement and your date of death.
Your cohabiting partner's long-term pension is fully inflation proofed and payable for life.
At the time of your death it will be necessary to establish that the rules regarding the payment of a cohabiting partner's pension are met. It is never easy to ask for information when a person dies but we have to do this to determine that an entitlement to survivor's benefits still exists. You and your partner should be aware that this will happen.
We may ask for confirmation that you have lived in a shared household with shared household spending. Your partner may be required to demonstrate that you had a bank account or mortgage in joint names. It may be that you and your partner have made wills, or have taken out life assurance, naming each other as beneficiary. This is the sort of evidence that we may seek. Your partner would have a right of appeal it we decided not to pay a pension and your partner believes that an entitlement exists.
Do I need to make a nomination?
Under the LGPS regulations you are no longer required to complete a cohabiting partner's nomination form.