We all live busy lives, so who exactly who will inherit your pension when you shuffle off this mortal coil is probably the last thing on your mind. However, would you really want your nest egg to go to the wrong person?
Figures from insurer Royal London revealed by The Times show that more than 750,000 people are at risk of exactly that happening, simply because they haven’t updated their paperwork.
Those especially at risk are the ones who have split up with former partners and spouses. After the trauma of a separation, the inheritance of your assets in the distant future is probably not, understandably, your main consideration.
Everyone, whether separated or not, should keep a watch on their personal paperwork, and know that it’s all up to date, all of the time. After all, you never know when the unexpected might happen.
‘Expression of Wishes’ determines who will inherit your pension
A pension scheme will typically include an ‘Expression of Wishes’. It’s where you nominate the person who should be the recipient of your benefits after your death. That may or may not be the same person at the time of your death as at the time of writing.
For example, if you’ve got an old pension from a time when you were with your first spouse and you haven’t changed your ‘Expression of Wishes’, there’s a chance that they could get the proceeds rather than your current family.
Most people will have more than one pension by the time they reach the age of retirement, some people can accrue as many as 11 or more according to Department for Work and Pensions.
To complicate matters further, the rules around who should receive your pot of pension cash vary depending upon the type of scheme.
Make sure that you know what you’ve got in terms of pension assets. Then make sure each one is individually reviewed, updated and dealt with.
Then take proper advice about your own individual circumstances. That way you can be sure that your wishes are carried out, and disputes will be avoided after your death.
Lost Pensions and Bad Decisions
If you think that you’ve got pensions from former employment but have lost the details, you can contact the Pensions Tracing Service. Tel: 0800 731 0193
If you have concerns with or are unhappy about decisions made on a loved one’s pension you can contact the Pensions Ombudsman (which is free of charge). Tel: 0800 917 4487
Get the latest updates
Make sure that you’re following our website and sign up for the Jones Harris enewsletter