Designating Your Beneficiaries

Life is unpredictable and no one likes thinking about the unexpected. If something should happen to you - either before or after you retire, there are a few important factors to know when designating your beneficiaries. Once you understand how beneficiaries work, you may need to take steps to add and/or update who you have on file.

What happens to my pension if I die before I retire?

If you are married or in a common-law relationship, your spouse is automatically entitled to the benefit payable on your death prior to retirement, regardless of your beneficiary designation.

Your designated beneficiaries are entitled to the death benefit if you do not have a spouse on the date of your death. Or, if prior to your death:

  • Your spouse chooses to waive entitlement to the death benefit by completing and submitting the Spouse's Waiver of Pre-Retirement Survivor Benefit form and does not revoke the waiver prior to your death; or
  • A Family Property Act (Saskatchewan) division of your pension occurs prior to your death in which your spouse waives entitlement to any further benefit under the Plan.

Why do I need to designate a beneficiary?

If you have a spouse
Although the death benefit is payable to your spouse, and not your designated beneficiaries, it is still beneficial to designate beneficiaries. If something happens to your spouse, either they pass away prior to or at the same time as your death (e.g. in a car accident), then your designated beneficiaries would be entitled to the pre-retirement death benefit.

If you don't have a spouse
If you are not survived by a spouse or your spouse has waived their entitlement (as explained above), then your designated beneficiaries may be entitled to the pre-retirement death benefit. For example, if you are single, legally divorced or a widow, you may choose to have your children or others listed as your designated beneficiaries.

What happens if I die without a spouse or any beneficiaries?

If you are not survived by a spouse, and don't have a named beneficiary, your death benefit will be paid to your estate. Settling an estate can take weeks to years and can be very costly. In the meantime, your estate's money will be subject to creditors and may be inaccessible to your loved ones. Having designated beneficiaries on file is like taking a shortcut. It is a quick way of getting the benefit to someone you care about.

How do I designate my beneficiaries?

You will be asked to designate your beneficiaries when you join SHEPP. After that, you can change your beneficiaries whenever you wish.

To add or change your beneficiaries:

  1. Sign in to SHEPPWeb, select Designate My Beneficiaries from the Web Services menu and complete the online form; or
  2. Complete a new Designation of Beneficiary form. Print, date and sign the form with a witness and then mail to SHEPP.

Note: The new beneficiary designation will take effect as soon as you submit the form and will replace any previous beneficiary designations.

Who can be a beneficiary and how many can I have?

Anyone can be named as a beneficiary and you can choose to have more than one person listed. As well, you can include a legal entity such as a registered charity or your estate.

You may also designate primary and contingent beneficiaries. Primary beneficiaries are the people (or legal entities) you have named to be first in line for your SHEPP death benefit, should you not be survived by a spouse. Keep in mind:

  • you can name more than one primary beneficiary;
  • the death benefit will be paid in equal shares to all named primary beneficiaries;
  • if any of your primary beneficiaries predecease you, any benefit payable will be shared equally among the surviving named primary beneficiaries.

Contingent beneficiaries are the people (or legal entities) you have named to be second in line for your benefit if all your primary beneficiaries predecease you.

REMINDER: Section 5 on the annual Pension Statement will reflect your spouse and/or designated beneficiaries on file.

How often should I update my beneficiaries?

Review your beneficiary designations and make changes, if required, when:

  • you receive your Annual Pension Statement; or
  • you experience a major life event, such as the birth of a child, a marital status change, the passing of a beneficiary, etc.

To review your beneficiary designations online, log into SHEPPweb and select Designated Beneficiaries.

Are my designated beneficiaries entitled to anything after I retire?

If you die after retirement, the payment of death benefits depends on the form of pension you elected at retirement. Refer to the Designating Beneficiaries - Post-Retirement Information Sheet for more information.

Need more information?

Designating Beneficiaries - Pre-Retirement Information Sheet

Designation of Beneficiary form

Watch the How to Change Your Personal Information video on the Video Tutorials page

To access information specific to these life events visit the following pages:

If you still have questions, contact SHEPP.