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Important information about pre-retirement death benefits

posting date Posted: May 22, 2013

A recent court decision, Carrigan v. Carrigan Estate, has a major impact on the eligibility of a common-law spouse for pre-retirement spousal death benefits available from pension plans in Ontario.

If you are separated from your spouse and not yet divorced, this court decision means that any future or subsequent common-law spouse you have is not eligible for pre-retirement spousal death benefits. Instead, if you die before retirement, these benefits could be payable to your estate or the beneficiary you have named to us.

If you are a current or former member with credit in the OPSEU Pension Plan and this situation applies to you, here is what you need to do if you want your common-law spouse to receive any survivor benefits from the Plan:

  • Designate your common-law spouse as both your ‘spouse’ and ‘beneficiary’ in sections 1 and 2 of OPTrust’s Pension Beneficiaries form and submit it to OPTrust as soon as possible.  You can also update your beneficiaries online, using our secure Online Services site.
  • Consider seeking the advice of a lawyer and/or financial planner to advise you on your situation.

If you have questions or need help updating your beneficiaries, please contact us at:

  • Toronto calling area: (416) 681-6100
  • Toll-free within Canada: 1-800-637-0024