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Home Opinion Six in ten risk pension benefits going to the wrong person

Six in ten risk pension benefits going to the wrong person

by uma
  • Only 38% of people said they had kept expression of wish forms for all their pensions up to date.
  • Over a quarter (26%) said they hadn’t, 13% were unsure.
  • A quarter (24%) said they didn’t know what an expression of wish form was.
  • Expression of wish forms allow you to name who receives your pension death benefits when you die.
  • If you don’t update them when your personal circumstances change you risk your death benefits going to someone you no longer wish to have them – such as an ex-partner.

Research of 2,000 people carried out by Opinium on behalf of HL in September 2022.

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“Updating expression of wish forms is easy to put off but doing so risks causing real problems for your loved ones in the event of your death. Not updating these forms when your personal circumstances change means your pensions risk being paid out to someone you don’t intend. One example could be pension benefits going to an ex-partner when you may well have settled down and even had a family with someone else. Alternatively, they could go to a family member who you have since fallen out with.

We move jobs several times during our career and auto-enrolment means we likely will have a pension in every job, so care needs to be taken that these forms are updated to save your loved ones from a nasty shock and potential financial difficulties.

Pension scheme administrators and trustees can make enquiries about whether the person named on these forms continues to be the right person, but if they can’t track down your loved ones then this can prove difficult.

They will also have different responsibilities depending on how the pension is set up. If it is set up under discretion, then administrators and trustees can amend the beneficiaries if they find the ones on the form are outdated. However, if the pension is set up under direction then they have no such discretion, and the benefits must be paid out to the person named on the form. Refreshing these forms whenever your circumstances change is key to making sure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are protected in the event of your death.”