GEMINI Collective Foundation

Designation of beneficiaries for death benefits

  

What happens to your savings capital or lump-sum death benefit if you die before retirement and before having reached the retirement age

  
  

Death benefits

 
 

Savings capital

In the case of death before retirement and before having reached the retirement age, your savings capital will be used to finance survivors’ pensions (spouse’s pension / orphan's pension and, under certain conditions, partner’s pension). The spouse's pension can also be withdrawn as a lump sum. A corresponding application must be submitted to the Foundation before the first pension payment.

In the absence of a spouse, a life partner (same or opposite sex) or any orphans, the savings capital is converted into a lump-sum death benefit (surplus from savings capital).

 
 

Lump-sum death benefit

There are three types of lump-sum death benefit:

 

Surplus from savings capital

If the capital required to finance the survivors’ pension is smaller than the available savings capital, the difference is paid out in addition to the survivors’ benefit as a lump-sum death benefit.

 

Lump-sum death benefit from personal buy-ins

Documented personal buy-ins will be paid out to surviving beneficiaries as a lump-sum death benefit. The same applies to any pension benefit that is due at the time of death. This benefit is not shown in the insurance certificate.

Additional lump-sum death benefit

Amount and eligibility criteria are defined in the pension plan. 

 
 

What are the conditions for being entitled to a partner’s pension?

If you live in a life partnership, under certain circumstances, your partner (same or opposite sex) may be entitled to a partner’s pension equalling the spouse’s pension if:

  • you and your partner are not married (either to each other or to a third person) and there are no impediments to marriage
  • you and your partner are not in a registered partnership (either one with the other or with a third person)
  • your partner does not draw a widow’s or widower’s pension or partner’s pension from a 2nd pillar employee benefits institution
  • you and your partner
     -   verifiably maintained a life partnership in the same household for at least five years immediately prior to your death or
     - at the time of death, maintained a domestic partnership and were responsible for the maintenance of one or more joint children who are entitled to an orphan’s pension according to the Regulations

Procedure

  • The life partnership must have been established before retirement and before the retirement age has been reached.
  • You can designate your life partner using the “Entitlement to a partner's pension” form. However, the above-mentioned conditions must be met at the time of death.
  • Your life partner must submit the claim to a partner’s pension to the Foundation in writing within three months of the death.
 
 

Who is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit?

The survivors of a deceased member are entitled to the lump-sum death benefit in the following order:

a) spouse/registered partner, in their absence 

b) natural persons who were supported by the member to a considerable degree or the person who has continuously maintained a life partnership with the deceased member in the same household for the last five years prior to the member’s death or who maintained a life partnership in the same household at the time of death and is responsible for the maintenance of one or more joint children who are entitled to an orphan's pension pursuant to the Regulations, in their absence

c) children, foster children and stepchildren of the deceased person, in their absence parents, in their absence brothers and sisters, in their absence

d) the other legal heirs, to the exclusion of the community.


Category b)

Persons referred to under letter b) are entitled to the death benefit only if the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form has been submitted to the Foundation during the member’s lifetime, otherwise the beneficiaries from category c), or in their absence the beneficiaries of category d) will receive the lump-sum death benefit. 

If there are several beneficiaries, before reaching retirement age, the member can specify in a written declaration addressed to the Foundation what portion of the lump-sum death benefit each of the beneficiaries is entitled to. In the absence of such a declaration, the lump-sum death benefit will be allocated equally among the group of beneficiaries.


Category c)

You may change the order of beneficiaries or combine them entirely or partially in groups. In addition, before reaching retirement age, you may specify in a written declaration addressed to the Foundation which persons within a group of beneficiaries are to be given priority and what portions of the lump-sum death benefit they are entitled to. In the absence of such a declaration, the lump-sum death benefit will be allocated equally among the group of beneficiaries. To change the order of beneficiaries, you need to submit the “Lump-sum death benefit – change of order of beneficiaries” form during your lifetime.

  

  

What changes if you designate your life partner as beneficiary during your lifetime?

  

Examples for members living in a life partnership

 
 

Sandra, 59 years old, unmarried, single, one parent, one brother

As Sandra is unmarried and single, the savings capital is converted into a lump-sum death benefit. 

Without designation of beneficiaries:

  • The lump-sum death benefit will be paid out to her father.
  • Her brother is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit.


Sandra submits the “Lump-sum death benefit – change of order of beneficiaries” form during her lifetime to designate her brother and her father as beneficiaries. Her brother shall receive 80% of the lump-sum death benefit and her father 20%.

 
 

Kathrin, 64 years old, unmarried, no children

Kathrin and Kurt have maintained a life partnership for four years and have been living in a joint household for two years. Both are single and have no children.

 

Without designation of beneficiaries:

  • Kurt does not qualify for a partner's pension because he has lived with Kathrin in the same household for less than five years.

Kathrin submits the “Entitlement to a partner’s pension” form during her lifetime to designate Kurt as beneficiary:

  • Kurt does not qualify for a partner's pension because he has lived with Kathrin in the same household for less than five years.

 

Kathrin submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during her lifetime to designate Kurt as beneficiary:

  • Kurt is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because he has lived with Kathrinin the same household for less than five years.

 

In all these cases, Kurt is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit.

 
 

Michael, 48 years old, one child from a previous relationship in full-time education

Michael and Julia have maintained a life partnership for four years. Both are single and live together in the same household. Each of them has one child from a previous relationship that lives in the same household, too. The children are still in full-time education.  

 

Without designation of beneficiaries:

  • Julia does not qualify for a partner’s pension because she has lived with Michael in the same household for less than five years and because they don’t have any children together. 
  • Michael’s child will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Michael’s child is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.

 

Michael submits the “Lump-sum death benefit – change of order of beneficiaries” form to designate his brother as beneficiary, too, entitling the child to 70% and his brother to 30% of the lump-sum death benefit:

  • Julia does not qualify for a partner’s pension because she has lived with Michael in the same household for less than five years and because they don’t have any children together. 
  • Michael’s child will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Michael’s child will receive 70% and his brother 30% of the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.

 

Michael submits the “Lump-sum death benefit – change of order of beneficiaries” form to designate his parents as beneficiaries, too, entitling the child to 20% and each of his parents to 40% of the lump-sum death benefit:

  • Julia does not qualify for a partner’s pension because she has lived with Michael in the same household for less than five years and because they don’t have any children together. 
  • Michael’s child will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Michael’s child will receive 20% and each of his parents 40% of the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.
 
 

Freddy, 62 years old, two adult children, divorced

Freddy has been living with his life partner Ruth in the same household for more than five years. He has two adult children from his first marriage. Freddy had been married to his divorced wife for more than ten years. In the divorce decree she was awarded a pension. 

Without designation of beneficiaries:

  • His divorced wife is entitled to the BVG minimum benefits.
  • Ruth meets the conditions for a partner’s pension. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after Freddy’s death.
  • Freddy’s children are entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.

Freddy submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate Ruth as beneficiary:

  • His divorced wife is entitled to the BVG minimum benefits.
  • Ruth meets the conditions for a partner’s pension. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after Freddy’s death.
  • As a result of the submission of the form, Ruth is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.
  • In this case, Freddy’s children are not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because they belong to category c).
 
 

Paul, 55 years old, two children in full-time education

Without designation of beneficiaries: 

  • Mary Ann qualifies for a partner’s pension because she is responsible for the maintenance of their two joint children. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after Paul’s death.
  • The children will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • The children are entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.


Paul submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate Mary Ann as beneficiary:

  • Mary Ann qualifies for a partner’s pension because she is responsible for the maintenance of their two joint children. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after Paul’s death.
  • As a result of the submission of the form, Mary Ann is also entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.
  • In this case, the children are not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because they belong to category c).

 

 

 

 
 

George, 54 years old, one child in full-time education, one adult child

George has maintained a life partnership with Rita for more than ten years. Both are single and live together in the same household with their two joint children. One child is in full-time education, the other child has completed full-time education.

Without designation of beneficiaries: 

  • Rita meets the conditions for a partner’s pension because she and George have two children together. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after George’s death.
  • The child in full-time education will receive an orphan’'s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Both children are entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any. 

 

George submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate Rita as beneficiary:

  • Rita meets the conditions for a partner’s pension because she and George have two children together. However, she must submit her claim to the Foundation within three months after George’s death. 
  • The child in full-time education will receive an orphan’'s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • As a result of the submission of the form, Rita is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.
  • In this case, the two children are not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because they belong to category c).

 

 

 
 

Peter, 60 years old, one adult child, his life partner draws a widow’s pension

Peter has maintained a life partnership with Selma for more than six years. Peter is neither married nor in a registered partnership or divorced. Selma draws a widow’s pension. Peter has an adult child.

Without designation of beneficiaries: 

  • Selma does not qualify for a partner’s pension because she draws a widow’s pension.  
  • The adult child is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. Since there is no entitlement to a survivors’ pension, the savings capital is converted into a lump-sum death benefit.

 

Peter submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate Selma as beneficiary:

  • Selma does not qualify for a partner’s pension because she draws a widow’s pension. 
  • As a result of the submission of the form, Selma is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. Since there is no entitlement to a survivors’ pension, the savings capital is converted into a lump-sum death benefit.
  • In this case, Peter’s child is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because it belongs to category c).
 
 

Rolf, 44 years old, separated from his wife, two children from his first marriage

Rolf is separated from his wife. He has maintained a life partnership with Suzy for more than five years and lives with her and his two children from his first marriage in the same household. The children are still in full-time education. Suzy is single.

 

Without designation of beneficiaries: 

  • Rolf’s wife is entitled to a spouse’s pension.
  • The children will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Suzy is not entitled to a partner’s pension because Rolf is not divorced.
  • Rolf’s wife is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any. 

 

Rolf submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate Suzy as beneficiary:

  • Rolf’s wife is entitled to a spouse’s pension.
  • The children will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Suzy is not entitled to a partner’s pension because Rolf is not divorced.
  • Suzy is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. A wife always has priority in the order of beneficiaries and is therefore entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any. 

 

Rolf submits the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during his lifetime to designate his children as beneficiaries:

  • Rolf’s wife is entitled to a spouse’s pension.
  • The children will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Suzy is not entitled to a partner’s pension because Rolf is not divorced.
  • The children are not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because they belong to category c). A wife always has priority in the order of beneficiaries and is therefore entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any. 

Rolf submits the “Entitlement to a partner’s pension” form during his lifetime to designate Suzy as beneficiary:

  • Rolf’s wife is entitled to a spouse’s pension.
  • The children will receive an orphan’s pension (at the longest until the age of 25 years).
  • Suzy is not entitled to a partner’s pension because Rolf is not divorced.
  • Suzy is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. A wife always has priority in the order of beneficiaries and is therefore entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.
 
 

Martha, 60 years old, single, no children, one parent, two siblings

Martha and Max have maintained a life partnership for five years and have been living in the same household for four years. Both are single and have no children. Max has a sister and a brother. His father is still alive and is cared for by his sister. 

 

Without designation of beneficiaries:

  • Max does not qualify for a partner’s pension because he has lived with Martha in the same household for less than five years.
  • Her fahter is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. Since there is no entitlement to a survivors’ pension, the savings capital is converted into a lump-sum death benefit.

 

Martha submits the “Lump-sum death benefit – change of order of beneficiaries” form during her lifetime to designate her sister and her brother as beneficiaries, too. As her sister cares for their father, she shall receive 80%, her brother 15% and her father 5% of the lump-sum death benefit:

  • Max does not qualify for a partner’s pension because he has lived with Martha in the same household for less than five years.
  • Martha can change the order of beneficiaries and the percentage each beneficiary from category c) is entitled to.

 

Martha submits the “Entitlement to a partner’s pension” form during her lifetime to designate Max as beneficiary. At the time of death, they have been living in the same household for more than six years:

  • Max meets the conditions for a partner’s pension because he has lived with Martha in the same household for more than five years. However, he must submit his claim to the Foundation within three months after Martha’s death.
  • Her fahter is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any.

 

Martha submits the “Entitlement to a partner’s pension” form and the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form during her lifetime to designate Max as beneficiary. At the time of death, they have been living in the same household for more than six years:

  • Max meets the conditions for a partner’s pension because he has lived with Martha in the same household for more than five years. However, he must submit his claim to the Foundation within three months after Martha’s death.
  • Max is entitled to the lump-sum death benefit, if there is any, as Martha has completed the “Beneficiaries of lump-sum death benefit” form.
  • Her fahter is not entitled to the lump-sum death benefit because he belongs to category c).
  

  

Three tips for you

  

Tip 1

Decide early who you want to designate as your beneficiary/ies. If you live in a life partnership, certain conditions must be met.

  

Tip 2

Notify the Foundation during your lifetime who is/are your designated beneficiary/ies. The respective forms are available here >

  

Tip 3

Make sure your life partner is aware that his/her claim to a partner’s pension must be asserted within three months of your death.