Are you a worker contributing under the current pension scheme? Have you updated your documentations with your Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), meaning that your house address, next of kin and contact telephone numbers where you will be reached are current? If your answer to these is yes, then, be rest assured that your pension fund is safe. And should you not be around for any reason, you dependants would not lose your entitlements.
This is the mistake many people made and have put their families and dependants into difficulty of tracing their pension benefits after death.
The PFAs do not have any need for these monies accumulated from deceased pension entitlements, and therefore want deceased families of working class contributors to trace the PFAs of their deceased relative. According to them, many pension contributors under the current Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) who have died in the course of their working career have got huge pension entitlements with the PFAs.
“Major part of these funds are lying with the PFAs because the Next of Kins of the deceased have failed to show up and the PFAs have been unable to reach them, either because they have changed their residential addresses; contact phone numbers; have relocated or the deceased person did not identify any next of Kin”.
The Pension Reform Act 2004 provides that where an employee dies, his entitlements under the life insurance policy maintained under subsection (3) of section 9 of this Act shall be paid to his retirement savings account. The PFA shall apply the amount paid under sub section (1) of this section in accordance with section 4 of this Act in favour of the beneficiary under a will or the spouse and children of the deceased or in the absence of a wife and child, to the recorded next-of-kin or any person designated by him during his life time or in the absence of such designation, to any person appointed by the Probate Registry as the administrator of the estate of the deceased.
Besides that, where an employee is missing and is not found within a period of one year from the date he was declared missing, and a board of inquiry set up by the Commission concludes that it is reasonable to presume that he has died, the provisions of this section shall apply.
Dave Oduanu, outgoing chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) had said “we have in our custodies pension entitlements belonging to deceased pension contributors who are dead to which no body or their Next of Kin has come to claim”
He said the PFAs have nothing to do with the contributors’ money and advised that people affected by this should contact their relatives PFA’s for these monies.
Uduanu further advised that pension contributors should as a matter of importance procure a ‘will’ for management of their estate should the unexpected happen.
A will is the most practical first step in estate planning; it makes clear how you want your property to be distributed after you die.
Writing a will can be as simple as typing out how you want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or charitable organizations after your death. If you don’t have a will when you die, your estate will be handled in probate, and your Property could be distributed differently than what you would like.
It may help to get legal advice when writing a will, particularly when it comes to understanding all the rules of the estate disposition process in your state. Some states, for instance, have community-property laws that entitle your surviving spouse to keep half of your wealth after you die no matter what percentage you leave him or her. Fees for the execution of a will vary according to its complexity.
A will must be written in sound judgment and mental capacity to be valid. The document must clearly state that it is your will. An executor of your will, who ensures your estate is distributed according to your wishes, must be named. It is not necessary to notarize or record your will but these can safeguard against any claims that your will is invalid and to be valid, you must sign a will in the presence of at least two witnesses.
…By Modestus Anaesoronye…