As financial planners, we specialise in supporting our clients with their retirement planning, and of course focussing on their pensions.
Many clients will already have pensions (perhaps several) and one thing we always check is whether they have completed an ‘expression of wishes’ form.
An expression of wishes form is completed by the scheme member, nominating the person(s) they would like to benefit when they die. It’s not binding on the trustee or scheme administrator, but they would take your wishes into consideration.
It is important to have an expression of wishes form, because without one there will be no guidance as to whom you would like to benefit.
Here are our top five tips to follow when considering an expression of wishes form:
- Review the form regularly. People’s circumstances change over time, sometimes significantly. For example, someone may divorce and remarry and might wish to nominate their children or their new spouse.
- Keep it simple. It is not uncommon for expression of wishes forms to cater for many scenarios. Far better to keep one simple scenario and then update the form if necessary.
- Ensure your expression of wishes form allows for a pension to be taken as well as a lump sum. If it only caters for a lump sum, this may have inheritance tax implications.
- Include alternative nominees. For example, if your nominee predeceases you, or prefers not to take up all or part of the benefit, then there is an alternative.
- Use the pension provider’s own expression of wishes form, as this will most closely match the scheme rules.
Finally, many people have several pensions, particularly if they have worked in a number of places, and it is important to have an expression of wishes form for each. It isn’t necessary to nominate the same person for each.