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With busy work and family lives, many of us put off reviewing important policies and documents, which can help avoid complications in the future.

Your Pension Nomination

If you are contributing to a pension scheme but have not yet taken any benefits, this can be a valuable part of your estate. Many people have built up more than one pension pot, through different employments.

Most types of pension are included in the overall value of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes, if you die before starting to receive it.

However, if there is proper documentation lodged with the pension scheme, a pension pot can be “nominated” to one or more chosen people. This means that the pension Trustees have the option of exercising their discretion over the pension pot but they will often follow the policyholder’s written wishes.

Under the current rules, pension money nominated in this way could pass outside your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

If you have a pension pot which is not yet nominated, or for which the nomination is out of date for any reason, you should take action.

The first step would be to contact your pension provider for advice and current forms. It would be sensible to keep a copy of any nomination form you send back to the company and to place it with your Will.

As pension rules have recently changed, it is essential to keep your pension under review.

Your Death in Service Benefit Nomination

If you are employed, then you may be eligible for a lump sum benefit, if you were to die “in service.” Often, this is expressed as a multiple of your annual salary.

In a similar way to a pension pot, you can formally express the wish for this amount to be paid to your chosen beneficiary/ies. In this way, under the current rules, it should pass outside your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

We recommend initially that you contact your employer’s HR representative to ask for the necessary form, which must be correctly completed and returned. Again, keep a copy in a safe place, ideally with your Will.

Your Will

With busy lives, people struggle to make a Will and to keep it up-to-date and we often see the distressing results of lack of planning. If you already have a Will, you need to review it regularly. Your life is always changing and so should your Will. Whether it’s buying a new home, getting married, having children or getting divorced, it’s important to check your Will regularly to make sure it reflects these changes.

Your Lasting Powers of Attorney

If you or a loved one became incapable, day to day life could become very difficult. Lasting Powers of Attorney are just as important to consider as a Will. The first type gives a person the opportunity to decide who they would like to look after their financial affairs and the second covers matters of health and personal welfare.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.