In a Will, your nominated beneficiaries will share your estate accordingly. In a life Insurance policy, your nominated beneficiary receives the payout.
However, for a retirement fund (Provident, Pension, Retirement Annuity) your nominated beneficiaries act merely as a guideline and may not necessarily receive a portion of your death benefit payout. The death benefit usually consists of a formula and usually two times or more the annual salary. This benefit is governed by section 37(c) of the Pension Funds Act. The fund trustees are afforded a maximum of twelve months to investigate the dependents and distribute the payout accordingly. Only legal dependents (Spouse, Children and adopted Children) and factual dependents (People you were actually supporting at time of death) will have a share in your death benefit. To this end, people far removed in blood relation to the deceased may well share in the payout if support is factually proven. The tenet and purport behind this legislation is to ensure that people who were dependent on the deceased during their lifetime are not left destitute. The legislation serves a social function. An example will suffice. A father of four nominates only two in his retirement fund nomination form to the exclusion of the rest. I a will the wishes will be given effect to. However, s 37© envisages that no legal dependent shall miss out on receiving a due portion. It is worth mentioning that each case will strictly be assessed on own merits.