What happens to your pension savings when you die?

Nominate a beneficiary while you’re saving

What happens to your pension savings when you die depends on whether you’ve started taking money from them yet – and if so, how you’ve chosen to access them.

These factors are often called the ‘death benefits’ of your options at retirement.

Even before you start claiming your pension pot – or if you’re keeping your pension pot where it is – you should nominate a beneficiary.

This means choosing a person (or people, or organisation) who you would like your pension pot to go to if you were no longer around to claim it – and letting us know who that person is, so that our Trustee can consider your wishes after you’re gone.

If you choose more than one beneficiary, you should tell us how you’d like your pension savings shared out. For instance, if you want two people to get half of it each, or if you’d like one person to get a quarter and another person to get the other three quarters.

It’s important to make sure we’ve got the right details for your beneficiaries. Check them now in your Online Account…


Log in to your Online Account »


Or, if you’d rather not do it online, you can ring us on 0300 2000 555 to check your beneficiary details and we’ll help you update them if you want.

If you want to update your beneficiary details by post, you can download and print our paper beneficiary nomination form.

Do beneficiaries pay tax on the money they receive?

Whether or not your beneficiary pays tax on the pension savings you leave to them depends on a number of factors, including your age at death:

  • The payments are normally tax-free if you die before you’re 75.
  • Your beneficiary would pay tax at their highest rate if you die after you’re 75.

If you leave money to your loved ones outside of a pension pot or pension product, they may have to pay inheritance tax on it.

Find out more about inheritance tax on the government’s website »


Consider combining your pension savings

If you’ve got more than one pension – you might want to think about putting them all in one place so that they’re easier to manage.

The amount you have in your pension pot affects which options you can take your money through. So by combining your pension savings into one, you could change the options available to you.

It’s also important to compare the charges, features and services between the pension you want to transfer out of and the pension you want to transfer into – to make sure it’s the best option for you.

Find out what else you should consider before transferring »

How might combining your pension savings affect what happens to them if you die?

If you still have money left in your pension(s) when you die – it will be much easier for your loved ones to track your pension savings down if they’re all in one place.

By combining your pensions with The People’s Pension, you would only need to let us know once who you’d want your money to go to if you died – rather than having to let all your different pension providers know separately. And you can tell us what percentage split you’d want each recipient to have if you want to leave your money to more than one person.

Combining your pensions with
The People's Pension

You could transfer your other pensions into The People’s Pension. It’ll be easier to keep track of them in one place and you could save money on charges too…

If you’re unsure what’s right for you, it’s a good idea to consider getting advice. Otherwise, if you’re comfortable making financial decisions, all you need to do is give us the details (either online or by post) and we’ll do the rest.

How does it work?

Can I leave money to someone when I die if I...

...keep it where it is


If you’re keeping your pension pot where it is for now, make sure you’ve nominated a beneficiary so we know who you’d want your money to go to if anything happened to you.

More about keeping it where it is »

...take it all in one go

...take it a bit at a time?

...buy a guaranteed income ('annuity')?