A happy partnership may not need a marriage certificate but it does need the right reciprocal provisions. And this is also a good idea for married couples. Registered partnerships for same-sex couples are treated on a par with married couples. The following tips provide an overview of what you need to consider in terms of making provision for old-age and death, and show the difference as regards marital status.
Under the so-called ceiling arrangement, married couples are entitled to a lower pension than unmarried couples, i.e. max. 1.5 full pensions. On the other hand, only married couples are entitled to a widower’s or widow’s pension. Unmarried couples are not entitled to this.
Tip: It may make sense to make up for a shortfall in benefits via the third pillar, for instance with additional pension or whole life insurance.
Married persons generally receive a spouse's pension from the pension fund if their husband or wife dies and if they are older than 45 and were married for at least five years.
Cohabitation or marriage: the pension fund regulations are very important. Many pension funds offer the option of a partner's pension under certain circumstances for unmarried persons. However, the prerequisite is that the partner was registered with the pension fund. The key factor in terms of a benefit entitlement is usually that the couple has to have lived together for at least five years in the same household. It is therefore a good idea to register your partner as your life partner with the pension fund as soon as possible and to define the beneficiary clause.
Entitlements depend on the pension fund regulations and the so-called order of beneficiaries. These contain provisions on who can receive benefits and how high they are. By registering your life partner and changing the order of beneficiaries you can exert an influence.
Tip: Always check your personal insurance certificate and the regulations of the relevant pension fund to identify any gaps in cover and entitlements to reciprocal pensions early on. As a rule, voluntary purchases to improve benefits are also possible, but only prior to retirement. It may also make sense to make up for a shortfall in benefits via the third pillar, for instance with additional disability insurance as a reserve and to offset lower pensions or whole life insurance to protect against financial obligations.
Your partner makes provisions via the 3rd pillar with life insurance. The latter entails a so-called privileged inheritance. This means that the benefits are not included in the estate in the event of death and are, for instance in the case of pure risk insurance, paid out directly to the beneficiary. The points to consider are described in a separate blog article (in German). See the link below.