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The place where it can be sticky is pensioner begins taking pension and chooses own lifetime only for distributions.

??? If the pensioner is unmarried when the pension begins, the single life option is the only one he has.

Pensioner later marries. It's usually too bad if pensioner predeceases spouse because that will be the end of the pension.

I cannot imagine that ANY employer would offer you an option to include a spouse acquired after the pension begins. Joint annuities are based on actuarial tables, not an imaginary spouse whose age is unknown. How could you possibly figure the payment without knowing the future spouse's age?

There might be an exception if you could get a "guaranteed income" option on the pension. (I don't know that you can, I'm just trying to contrive something here.) Such an option would guarantee a certain total payment amount regardless of how long the pensioner lived. However, it doesn't make sense that a single person would choose that option absent heirs. If they did have heirs, it doesn't make sense that a new spouse would assume such payments would not go to the previous heirs. In any event, even if that existed, it wouldn't last the spouse's lifetime, either.

I just cannot imagine a situation where it is a reasonble expectation that the pension payments would continue to the spouse after the pensioner's death. We might be able to contrive one, but let's be real. Anyone who marries a pensioner should not have any expectation of the pension continuing after the pensioner dies. People who have expectations based on highly contrived improbable scenarios surely have greater problems than this one.

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