PENSION SAVERS WARNED OVER INHERITANCE DISPUTES
When was the last time you updated your pension documents? Have your circumstances changed since? Millions of people are being advised to regularly update the documents that contain their wishes regarding their pension.
The warning comes as it’s found that there has been a recent rise in families challenging decisions made by pension scheme trustees following a member’s death. Trustees of the scheme make the decisions, but if the savers’ intentions are not clear, it is easy to begin a dispute over who should receive assets.
This primarily involves those belonging to company pension schemes where benefits are linked to salaries. Workers in these schemes are advised to fill in an ‘expression of wish’ form to indicate who would receive the benefits if they die. This form is often filled in when people join the scheme and is often not updated if their circumstances change.
The Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) said that families are increasingly starting disputes over payments. Although trustees must take members’ wishes into account, they have no obligation to carry them out.
Barry Parr, the co-chairman of the AMNT, said: “Trustees do take into account a member’s wishes, but they have a duty to consider other potential beneficiaries, especially if the paperwork seems out-dated. Common complexities arise when pension savers remarry and fail to update their wishes – especially where children are involved in one or both of the relationships.
“It is important that members keep their wishes updated and have a current will to reduce the likelihood that decisions will be open to challenge.”
If you specifically don’t want a spouse to receive death benefits, it is advised to reinforce this clearly in a legal Will and stipulate your reasons why.
Chorus Law suggests that you consider having a Will in place in addition to your expression of wish form. For more information on Chorus Law’s services, visit www.choruslaw.co.uk.