If you’ve spent a lifetime saving for retirement, you’d probably like any remaining money to go to a loved one after your death. But whether pension benefits are payable to a beneficiary, and how they’ll receive them, is dependent on the type of pension you’ve chosen and how you’ve accessed it in your retirement.
Thanks to changes in the way that pensions are taxed, more of your fund can survive your death and provide an income or nest egg for your loved ones to enjoy, long after you are gone. Since April 2015 it has been easier to safeguard your pension for your heirs, but it’s important to make sure you’re keeping up with the changes.
The way that you decide to take your pension will affect what you can do with it when you pass away. And while it’s not always easy to talk about, the way you eventually pass on your pension has the biggest impact on other people, so it could help if you talk to your spouse, partner, children or other people close to you when you’re deciding how you take your pension savings.
If you have not yet accessed your pension, or you have made withdrawals from your pension but left some money invested, it can usually be passed to a beneficiary after your death. The specifics, for example, in what form they will receive these death benefits and whether they will pay tax, will depend on your individual circumstances (such as your age) and the scheme rules.
You should always obtain professional financial advice to assess your specific situation. But if your pension scheme allows you to choose a beneficiary, ensure you have named the person you intend to leave your money to.
If you have used your pension savings already to purchase an annuity, this can only be passed on to a beneficiary in certain cases, which must be established when the annuity is purchased. A typical lifetime annuity only provides a guaranteed income for the lifetime of the annuity holder, regardless of how long this is.
For your annuity income to go to a loved one after your death you must choose either an annuity with a guarantee period (which provides an income for a set period, whether you are still living or not) or a joint life annuity (which provides an income for life for whichever partner lives longest).
In certain circumstances, your partner can continue to receive your State Pension after your death. For example, if you’re a man born before 1951 or a woman born before 1953, and you’re receiving the Additional State Pension, this can be inherited by your partner (husband, wife or registered civil partner) after your death if they have reached the State Pension age.
Whatever your thoughts, to ensure you take account of the full range of available options, we would always recommend you consider obtaining professional financial advice.
INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM, TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
THE TAX BENEFITS RELATING TO ISA INVESTMENTS MAY NOT BE MAINTAINED. TAX RULES ARE COMPLICATED, SO YOU SHOULD ALWAYS OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.
A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT.
THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN GO DOWN, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.
PENSIONS ARE NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55. YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS. THE TAX IMPLICATIONS OF PENSION WITHDRAWALS WILL BE BASED ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, TAX LEGISLATION AND REGULATION, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.
This content is for your general information and use only, and is not intended to address your particular requirements. The content should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice. Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of the content. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts. Levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor. The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested. All figures relate to the 2018/19 tax year, unless otherwise stated.