Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Pensions - Have you updated your Expression of Wish?

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When you take out a pension scheme you will have completed an expression of wish, this form denotes your wishes to the pension scheme administrator regarding your beneficiaries and nominees.

With the changes to the pension rules it is now more important than ever to ensure that your expression of wish is up-to-date, otherwise there could be confusion over who the beneficiaries should be. This is because families are increasingly challenging decisions made by pension scheme trustees following the death of a member.

It falls to trustees of the scheme to make such decisions, and although they are not bound by your wishes, the expression of wish allows you to name the people that you would like them to consider when exercising discretion over who benefits should be paid to. Therefore, it is important to name everyone that you would wish to benefit on your expression of wish, in order to ensure that they receive consideration. In fact, the naming of the beneficiary far outweighs the percentage of benefit that you put down for each beneficiary or nominee, the amount of benefit can be changed, but if an individual is not on the expression of wish it is possible that they may not receive anything at all. Similarly, if you want to exclude someone from receiving death benefits, you will need to give very explicit reasons why and reinforce your wishes with a will.

In many cases, people fill in their expression of wish form when they first join a pension scheme and never update it to reflect changes to their circumstances. It is therefore advisable to revisit your expression of wish annually and ensure that it is up-to-date, you can usually do this by completing a new form from your pension provider which will replace your current expression of wish.

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