Are you naively handing your inheritance to the wrong person?
For the majority, the answer is yes.
Most of us are unaware that our pension pots will be passed down to the person named on the policy, even if we’ve changed our Will to say otherwise.
A recent study found that 65% of adults had failed to review the people attached to their personal pension policy. This means that far too many people, who may have a very different life in the time between the policy’s creation and the present, will find their hard earned contributions could benefit people that are no longer in their lives.
The study also found that 62% of us have not updated our insurance policies and 60% have overlooked our critical illness cover. Income protection (61%) and redundancy cover (65%) were also forgotten, even if they had been mentioned in a valid UK Will.
Although personal pensions remain some of the most reviewed documents, 25% of policy holders failed to ensure the correct person has been named on the policy. When you consider that 47% of the population hold these policies, the impact on the families concerned could be severe.
As more families blend in the modern world, it could mean that your previous spouse could benefit from a policy made years before your divorce, even if your current spouse is named in your Will.
An alarming 17% of the UK has benefitted from policies that were unknown to themselves.
The reason is usually poor communication within families in relation to policies that have been made. 73% of us are oblivious to a policy that our sibling may have, 56% naïve to our father’s various policies and over half (51%) of us are in the dark about the policies involving our mother.
Most of us people probably don’t know that our pensions don’t form part of our estate on death which means, unlike savings, property and investments, pensions aren’t covered by Wills. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you check all your financial policies regularly to assure your money will go to the people you want, if a claim is made.
Most of us will likely take out a number of different policies over our lifetimes – whether it’s a pension, life insurance, critical illness – and, as well as ensuring that the beneficiaries are updated as circumstances change, we should inform our recipients about the policy otherwise they won’t know to make a claim.
In short, if you want your money to go to the people you want it to, you need to ensure that your financial policies are updated regularly and aligned with your Will so that the right person in all your legal documents is named as your beneficiary. Being financially engaged is vital to safe guarding your money and talking to those people who are likely to benefit from your financial policies is a starting point.