Death and benefits - jodoreteqy.ml
Death Benefit Nomination
You can find more information in the scheme guides about the benefits that may be payable. There always exists a reciprocal duty of support between spouses as a direct consequence of marriage. The duty of support can continue after the marriage has been ended by divorce. Where a divorce order is available, the order should be perused carefully in order to determine the extent of maintenance. A duty of support also arises between brothers and sisters. The claimant will, however, have to prove that he was indigent and was indeed dependent on the deceased during his lifetime.
To recap, dependants that fall into this category are determined with reference to the relationship that they had with the deceased. The mere fact that a person is related is not sufficient to be taken into consideration for a death distribution. The person must prove that the deceased had a legal duty to support him.
This sub-section deals with persons who were not legally dependent on the deceased member for maintenance, and thereafter outlines three categories of non-legal dependants. Where there is no duty of support, a person might still be a dependant if the deceased in some way contributed to the maintenance of that person.
The person alleging to be a factual dependant will have to prove that he was dependent on the deceased despite the deceased not having a legal duty to maintain at the time of the member's death. In order to constitute maintenance, the deceased needs to have made regular payments to the beneficiary who is claiming to be a factual dependant. This sub-section is applicable to those spouses in respect of whom there exists no statutory law in terms of which the marriage or union is recognised.
Cohabitation can be defined as a stable, monogamous relationship where a couple who do not wish or are not allowed to get married live together as spouses see Hutchings and Delport This definition includes people of the same sex living together in a stable, exclusive relationship see Schwellnus Some authors regard cohabitation as a common law marriage, and sometimes a de facto marriage or permanent life partnership see Sinclair It follows therefore that a common law spouse is a person of the opposite or same sex who is a partner in a common law marriage.
In essence, there is no difference between a cohabitee and a common law spouse. Any child of the deceased member whom he was not legally required to support and maintain will qualify as a dependant, for example financially independent major children of the deceased.
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This section covers persons whom the deceased was not legally liable to maintain at the time of his death. Nevertheless, such a person may qualify as a dependant, if he can show that the deceased would have become liable to maintain had he notionally been alive. Possible dependants in terms of this section might include parents 15 who are not legally dependent on the deceased for maintenance at the time of his death, engaged couples, parties intending to marry and so on. Contrary to popular belief, nominees are not by virtue of having being nominated entitled to a death benefit.
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The underlying objective of section 37C is to ensure that those who were dependent on the deceased are not left destitute by death of the member, notwithstanding the wishes of the deceased. For a beneficiary to claim to be a nominee, there must exist a valid nomination form.
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An estate or an artificial person cannot be a nominee. Apart from the specified exceptions, a death benefit cannot be paid into an estate. The board has 12 months within which to trace and identify the possible beneficiaries that might share in the benefit. If satisfied that it has taken all reasonable steps to trace and identify dependants, the board does not have to wait for the 12 months to lapse before making payment. The month period is only relevant insofar as payment to a nominee is concerned. A designated nominee will only be considered after the month period has lapsed and the fund has not managed to trace a dependant.
Any claim by a nominee before the 12 months has lapsed will be a premature claim. The question as to whether the board acted properly under section 37C 1 a will therefore not necessarily be determined with reference to the time frame. The relevant question will always be whether the board took all necessary reasonable steps to identify and trace all possible dependants, so as to allow them to distribute the benefit in the most equitable manner.
An enforceable debt of a dependant entitled to share in a benefit does not arise when the month period has lapsed, but rather when the board has taken a decision to distribute the benefit to the selected beneficiaries. If the board of trustees has failed to comply with the Act and the beneficiaries therefore lodge a complaint with the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator, the Adjudicator may order the board of trustees to complete its investigation and distribute the benefit under section 37C, together with interest on it of Section 37C establishes a statutory hierarchy of beneficiaries entitled to share in the allocation of death benefits.
Dependency will always be the overarching requirement in the allocation of the death benefits, keeping in mind that the objective of the section is to ensure that dependants of the deceased are not left destitute by his death. It is only once the search and identification of the possible beneficiaries is completed that the board will determine to whom to allocate a share of the benefit. If the fund within twelve months of the death of the member becomes aware of or traces a dependant or dependants of the member, the benefit shall be paid to such dependant or, as may be deemed equitable by the board, to one of such dependants or in proportions to some of or all such dependants.
Where the deceased is survived only by dependants and no nominees, the board must allocate and effect an equitable distribution among them. When exercising their discretion, the board needs to consider the following factors: The wishes of the deceased are often expressed in the nomination form or the will. Insofar as the latter is concerned, pension fund benefits are expressly excluded from the deceased's estate.
As for nominated beneficiaries, they are often under the erroneous belief that by virtue of them being nominated by the deceased member, they are entitled to the benefit. This, however, is not the case, as section 37C was enacted to protect dependency over the clear wishes of the deceased. The content of the nomination form is merely one of the factors taken into consideration by the trustees in the exercise of their discretion. In Moir v Reef Group Pension Plan, 24 the complainant and the deceased member were divorced in , but continued to live together as husband and wife until the member's death in March The deceased completed a nomination form wherein he nominated his brother as the sole beneficiary.
Who Is Eligible to Receive the Social Security Death Benefit?
The fund awarded the entire benefit to the brother on this basis. The complainant, a de facto spouse, lodged a complaint objecting to the distribution. The Adjudicator accepted the complainant, as a de facto dependant held that the board fettered its discretion by blindly following the nomination form without considering any of the other factors. Accordingly, the Adjudicator concluded that the distribution was not equitable, because the board fettered its discretion by solely basing its distribution on the nomination form. The financial status of each dependant will allow the board to determine the reasonable maintenance needs of the various dependants.
In van Vuuren v Central Retirement Annuity Fund and another , 26 the deceased member was survived by his widow from whom he was separated but not divorced. He was also survived by a de facto spouse with whom he lived in a husband and wife relationship. The fund awarded the death benefit in equal shares to the widow and the de facto spouse. The de facto spouse was also the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy taken out by the deceased.
Québec Pension Plan
The Adjudicator held that the distribution of the death benefit was not equitable, because the board failed to take into consideration the fact that the de facto spouse was the sole beneficiary under the life insurance policy. This factor plays an important role in determining the length of time a beneficiary will need to be maintained. In Motsoeneng v AECI Pension Fund and another, 27 the deceased was survived by five minor children two of them from a relationship with another woman and his widow.
The respective ages of the children were 17, 13, 10, 6 and 3. The board resolved to award each of the children 20 per cent of the benefit. The widow, mother of three minors, lodged a complaint. The Adjudicator found that the fund had fettered its discretion by not taking into account the respective ages of the minor children and the different needs of a 3-year-old minor as opposed to a year-old minor. In Karam v Amrel Provident Fund , 28 the deceased was survived by her major son and a close friend, whom she nominated as a beneficiary.
To report a death, please contact us. Active Member Death Benefits It is important to keep your beneficiary information updated. Deferred Member Death Benefits If at the time of your death you are a Deferred Member of SCERS, and you are not an Active Member in a Reciprocal System, your designated beneficiary will receive a lump sum distribution equal to your Member Contributions as of the date of your death, regardless of your marital status or the existence of minor children.
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