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Old 26.08.2015, 19:50
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Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

My Father died last year and my mother is having difficult receiving her widow's pension because they will only pay it into a Swiss bank account and the bank will not open an account for an overseas person without them visiting Switzerland to do so. She is elderly and this is not possible quite apart from the cost. Unfortunately the original account the pension was paid into was only in my Father's name so she officially does not have a Swiss bank account. This problem must arise for all who work in Switzerland and then return to home country so I cannot believe there is not a solution. She lives in the UK and apparently there is no way she can be verified for banking purposes here. Any ideas?
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Old 26.08.2015, 20:11
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

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My Father died last year and my mother is having difficult receiving her widow's pension because they will only pay it into a Swiss bank account and the bank will not open an account for an overseas person without them visiting Switzerland to do so. She is elderly and this is not possible quite apart from the cost. Unfortunately the original account the pension was paid into was only in my Father's name so she officially does not have a Swiss bank account. This problem must arise for all who work in Switzerland and then return to home country so I cannot believe there is not a solution. She lives in the UK and apparently there is no way she can be verified for banking purposes here. Any ideas?
UBS and CS have branches in London.. maybe she could organise to sort it out there? Or maybe the Swiss Embassy could help with the ID verification? The Swiss Embassy might be the people to talk to?
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Old 26.08.2015, 20:11
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

If the pension is a Pillar II, have you considered having the capital paid out to her in the UK?

http://aso.ch/en/consultation/living...of-the-capital

The key sentence is: "On the other hand, persons who, on reaching retirement age, permanently leave Switzerland for one of the countries listed above may, even after 1 June 2007, withdraw their 2nd pillar capital."


If the pension is a Pillar I, the Auslandschweizer-Organisation says this:

"It is possible to have the pension paid to the residence abroad if this is allowed by the law of the country of residence. Payment is made in the currency of the country of residence, either directly by the Swiss Compensation Office. The person entitled to the pension may also have it paid into a personal postal giro account or bank account."

http://aso.ch/en/consultation/living...ts-of-pensions
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Old 26.08.2015, 20:50
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

If the Embassy can't advise you, you might also ask Swiss people who live in the UK how they organise such matters, for example at one of these clubs of Swiss living abroad.
http://www.swisscommunity.org/en/liv...-swiss-society
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Old 26.08.2015, 21:52
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

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If the pension is a Pillar II, have you considered having the capital paid out to her in the UK?
It's a widow(er)s pension, not a P2.

Such is paid BEFORE one reaches retirement age, and stops when one does (and the others kick in), or, if you are male, when you youngest hits 18.

And yes, they will only pay to Swiss accounts.

Tom
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Old 26.08.2015, 22:15
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

My company's Pillar II has a widow's pension provision.

The AHV Pillar I document "Application for a survivorsí pension for persons residing outside Switzerland" at this link indicates at section 6. "Payment Address" that payment can be made to bank accounts outside of Switzerland:

https://www.ahv-iv.ch/en/Leaflets-fo.../International

It would be useful if the OP could indicate whether the widow's pension is from a company pension (P2) or a government pension (P1).
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Old 26.08.2015, 22:19
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

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It would be useful if the OP could indicate whether the widow's pension is from a company pension (P2) or a government pension (P1).
Indeed, you have a good point.

My personal experience is only with the P1.

Tom
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Old 27.08.2015, 17:16
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

Thank you for your replies so far. It is from a company pension. I am just so surprised there is not a solution as they employ almost all overseas people for a few years so this will end up as a problem for most widows /widowers who will inevitably be old and frail at this stage and so travel to Switzerland is not an option.
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Old 27.08.2015, 17:30
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

With the introduction of no-charge cross-border SEPA transactions several years ago, it seems rather odd that this company pension plan will not transfer money to a UK account. I would think that you might wish to follow up with the company pension plan or insurance company handling the pension to determine whether they could do this and, if not, why not.
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Old 27.08.2015, 22:07
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

Isn't it that when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse inherits most if not all that is left, if there is no will? So, even if he was the only one on the account, isn't it now your mom's? Inheritance in this case seems daunting because it involves two different countries...but it might not be as bad as it looks...just read and keep asking the questions until you find the answers.

This is how it works in Canada and the US. I realize there might be differences between my countries and the UK and CH, but the gist might be more similar than different.

Your mom, being unable to do it herself, should give you power of attorney. The person who becomes her representative, if not you, should keep copies (and the names) of all correspondence between your dad's employer - HR, Finance Dept, whoever; insurance company, pension company. It is best to get stuff in writing when dealing with insurances, or anything involving money. So, keep all your records and everything VERY organized.

Step one I would think is to find the person in charge of your dad's account (from work, not from the bank) - he or she is your dad's case manager. If there is no one, start a new claim (get a reference number) and the person handling your case. Ask this person the EXACT things they need from you in order for the pension to be transferred into your mom's account. I am pretty sure one can go to the Swiss Consulate for the "she is who she claims she is" stamp of approval. I don't know if you need an appostile (superspecial stamp) if they still do that, you must do EXACTLY what the Swiss ask or else things will take a lot longer - sorry to be repetitive. In addition to her marriage certificate, I am thinking a death certificate should be another of the things needed.

A cheeky aside: There are several movies where if the money in the Swiss banks weren't claimed by the heirs by a certain time limit, they would lose the claim to the money.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 29.08.2015, 14:22
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

There has been no problem getting access to the money in Dads account. Well, a bit of hassle and paperwork but no more than expected. The bank have accepted identity proof and probate for that, but they will not open an account in her name for the ongoing pension to be paid into. Be aware, those that leave Switzerland before retirement that keeping your Swiss bank account open and having it in joint names is a good plan...
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Old 29.08.2015, 14:49
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

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With the introduction of no-charge cross-border SEPA transactions several years ago, it seems rather odd that this company pension plan will not transfer money to a UK account. I would think that you might wish to follow up with the company pension plan or insurance company handling the pension to determine whether they could do this and, if not, why not.
UK does not use the Euro & is not part of SEPA, transfers to the UK cost money.
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Old 29.08.2015, 16:29
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Re: Drawing a widow's pension from overseas

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Isn't it that when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse inherits most if not all that is left, if there is no will?
No, spouse gets half, kids the other half.

Tom
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