State pensions will be dealt with via the TellUsOnce service. Other pension providers should be contacted and the death of the deceased notified to them. You will need to send details of the deceased including their name, address, date of birth, scheme/policy number. If you are unsure whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension, check the bank statements as most pensions are paid by direct credit into the recipient’s bank. If the deceased left a spouse or civil partner most pensions provide for a pension payable to them following the death of the main pension holder.
As pensions are usually paid monthly there will very probably be money owed to, or by, the estate to balance the account. Note that the Department for Work and Pensions can take several months to reply to your letter informing them of the death. If you owe them money you should take this into account before distributing the assets.
Watch out for private pensions where an annuity has not yet been taken and the deceased was on income drawdown only, or had not yet drawn any pension, as there will still be a fund available to the estate.
If the deceased was not of a pensionable age check whether there is any occupational pension scheme which provides a death in service benefit. Check also for deferred pensions from previous employers which are likely to include a pension payable to the surviving spouse or civil partner if there is one.
In situations where you are unsure about pensions that the deceased may be entitled to or you are unable to locate a pension that you know the deceased was entitled to you can contact either PensionsLink which will search for pensions using the NI number of the deceased or the Government’s pension tracing service if you know the name of the employer who provided the pension. They will assist in tracing either occupational pensions provided by a past employer or personal pension plans in the deceased’s own name. You can also trace your pension by writing to them:
The Pension Service 9,
Mail Handling Site A,
Tel 0345 3000 169
You will need to supply as much information as you can including the name, address and date of birth of the deceased, and as many details about the type of scheme you are searching for.