The death benefit by the Fund is to ensure that in the event of the member dying, their dependents will not be left destitute. This benefit payable will be increased from 30 months to 39 months of equal fund salary.
Section 37C of the Pension Funds Act tasks the Board of Trustees with allocating death benefits to ensure that the benefits are directed to dependents. When a member dies, the death benefit and equitable share due to the member is not paid directly into their estate. Instead, Section 37C of the Pensions Funds Act gives the Trustees a degree of discretion in allocating the retirement benefits of a deceased member, which do not form part of the deceased member’s estate, and so are not subject to the provisions of their will.
The Act places a burden on the Trustees to locate dependents of the deceased and allocate the money to them in proportions which the Board of Trustees considers equitable. Dependents include anyone who was dependent on the deceased, including illegitimate children and common law spouses.
If, after 12 months, the trustees cannot locate any dependents, the benefits are then paid to any nominee specified by the member, less any debts held by the estate of the deceased. If there is no nominee, then the whole amount is paid into the estate to be distributed as per the will of the deceased. If there are no beneficiaries to the will, then
the amount accrues to the state Guardian’s Fund.