My father passed and did not have a beneficiary listed on his pension plan. He also had no will. When we called the pension office they said since no beneficiary was listed the pension is closed. Dont they have to pass the benefits along to his next of kin or can they just close it?
I beleive the answer to your question is entirely a function of what the pension plan says. Many plans do not have survivor benefits and many do. Consult with a benefits lawyer who can guide you through this. If there are survivor benefits but no one designated, then it will become an asset of the decedent's estate.
Whether the benefits pass to someone else depends on the plan document provisions. Pension benefits monthly payments are typically paid to the participant and sometimes to his or her spouse. They are not typically paid to any other heirs. Some pension plans do have a death benefit component and, if so, heirs may be entitled to that, usually through a probate process to capture the asset. You should ask a copy of the plan itself and also inquire if there is a death benefit component. Then meet with an attorney if it seems you might have some rights in the plan to determine you options.
Keep in mind that a pension is quite different than a retirement savings program-those typically will pass on to the decedent's heirs.
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