HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PARTNER

At Swissential, we are sometimes faced with tough situations from our clients.

As usual, let’s start with a few facts:

  • 41’000 weddings are celebrated in Switzerland every year (av. cost of CHF 30’000)
  • There are 5 weddings per year per 1000 capita in Switzerland, out of which half end up in a divorce.
  • An average marriage last 15.1 years in Switzerland
  • Age of first marriage: men 32 yo, female 29 y.o.

With these facts in mind, more often than not people who had unsuccessful marriages end up in a partnership with somebody else, sometimes for many years. Whilst this has clear benefits in some respects, it can also become in issue in other cases.

We recently had the case of a person (Melinda C.), who had declared her partner as sole beneficiary of her estate in her will, but unfortunately after her death, the partner did not get anything form the pension fund. The actual death benefits of 250’000 CHF went to the deceased parents, the actual legal beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, Melinda C. had forgotten to announce and register their partnership. Should she had have announced her partnership to her pension fund, the pension fund would have been transferred to the partner. Indeed, pension funds do not fall under standard estate laws but under pension laws.

Unfortunately, it can be quite complex since each pension fund rules, vested benefit institutions and third pillar A foundations have different rules.

In order to make sure your partner is protected; it is paramount to follow these few basic principles:

  1. Read the pension foundation / 3a foundation / Vested Benefit foundation pension rules, in order to clarify exactly what the requirements are and the process to register your partner. Should you need any assistance, request help from an expert (we can of course assist you)
  2. Notify in writing your pension foundation that you wish to register your partner as sole beneficiary. Often you will need to justify 5 years of uninterrupted and exclusive living together (it is important therefore the have both your names appearing on documents – rental agreement, utility bills, etc…)

Leave a Comment