My pension when I die

Death might not be something you like to think about, but it's important you understand what will happen to your pension when you die, and what you can do to make sure your money goes to the right place.

Your pension payments

Your pension will stop at the end of the 4-week period in which you die. Any money that goes into your bank or building society after this period will be recovered and transferred into your spouse’s pension.

As a defined benefit member of the Scheme, your death benefits could include the following:

A lump sum death benefit

The Trustee has ultimate responsibility for deciding who receives a lump sum death benefit. To help make this decision, the Trustee will consider your personal circumstances and all your potential beneficiaries. 

In line with the Scheme rules, your potential beneficiaries may include:

A white lily and a cheque from the RPS
  • Any person, charity or organisation you nominated to receive your lump sum death benefit before you died.  You can find out how to make a nomination below. 
  • Anyone named in the your Will. This does not automatically mean they will get money from your pension but the Trustee may take it into account.
  • Family members or anyone who was financially dependent on you at the time of your death.

The amount paid out will depend on how much you have taken from your pension, including any lump sum you took at the start.

If you have been getting your pension for 5 years or more when you die, it’s unlikely that any lump sum would be paid.

Regular pension payments for dependants

The Scheme rules set out who a dependants’ pension will be paid to.  The rules say that a regular pension may be paid to the following:

  • Spouse/Civil Partner – payable to a spouse, civil partner or same-sex spouse you were living with or married to at the date of your death. For most members this would be worth around half your basic pension. The eligible spouse gets a pension for life. If your eligible spouse is over 10 years younger and the marriage or civil partnership happened less than 5 years before your death, the pension will be reduced.
  • Dependants – paid to a person who depended on you financially for 2 years prior to your death. The value may vary depending on circumstances and will reduce if the eligible dependent is younger than you by 10 years or more.
  • Children – the 2 youngest eligible children normally receive pensions until they are 18. The youngest child will typically receive 50% of the eligible spouse’s pension and the second child will receive 25%. If an eligible child continues in full-time education after they reach 18, the pension may still be paid, subject to Trustee or Committee agreement, to the age of 23. If a child is disabled, the pension may be payable for life, if the Trustee agrees.

Please refer to your Member Guide for more details. Your guide can be found under ‘My Library’ when you log in to your myRPS account.

A pile of £50 notes wrapped in a red ribbon and tied with a bow.
Nominate to say where your lump sum death benefit should go

If you started taking your pension within the last five years, your death benefits may include a lump sum, which is paid out when you die.

You can let the Trustee know who you'd like the lump sum to be paid to by making a nomination. This could help speed up the process of paying the lump sum, and avoid your loved ones having to pay tax. You can make or update your nominations any time by logging in to your myRPS account.  

All nominations are confidential and your beneficiaries will not be told that you have added or removed them.

Please remember that a will doesn’t cover your pension savings. The only way to leave direct instructions for what you want to happen to your pension money is to nominate.

For more information about nominations and who they can include, visit the nominations for death benefits page

Those you care about can let us know if you die

When you die, it may be up to your family or friends to report your death to the Scheme administrator, Railpen, or to your employer if you're still working. They need to do this as soon as possible, so we can stop your pension payments quickly. Otherwise, your beneficiaries may be asked to pay it back later.

Please make sure those close to you know where to find the information. 

Reporting a death

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