The Deputy Pensions Ombudsman has directed trustees to re-make their decision about the distribution of lump sum death benefits, disregarding the fact that they had already paid the lump sum to the member's partner. Upholding a complaint by the member's son, the DPO criticised the trustees for:

  • not investigating an apparent contradiction between the partner's claim that she and the member had "been together" for 12 years whereas the employer's records showed that the member had changed his address to his partner's just over a year before he died;
  • not questioning why it was the member's son, not the partner, who was the informant on the member's death certificate;
  • handing one of the member's sons an "information on relatives" form at the member's funeral, without an explanation as to why it was needed; failing to chase the son to return the form; and not contacting the other son at all;
  • giving the son's statements that his father had had two previous relationships in the period when the partner claimed she and the member had been "together" much less weight than the recollections of his father's colleagues and failing to interview the partner or the other women involved;
  • taking 11 months to provide a first stage decision under the scheme's internal dispute resolution procedure. (Crossan)