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Keep Pensions In Mind When Planning For Future, Will Dispute Expert Urges

Calls For Retirement Savings To Be Considered In Wills Back By Lawyers


By Rob Dixon

Legal experts who specialise in contesting wills have welcomed calls for people to ensure that such documents include details on how they would like their retirement savings to be handled upon their death, following reports of an increase in disputes regarding the issue.

The Association of Member Nominated Trustees has told the Daily Telegraph that people need to urgently consider the issue as, while the trustees of a pension scheme are responsible for decisions about the savings, it can be difficult to determine the intentions of the deceased.

Some particular concerns have been raised by a growing number of issues emerging in the area, more specifically in the 21st century, where family arrangements are often much more complex than in the past.

According to the body, the key issue is that those with pension savings ensure they fill in an ‘Expression of Wish’ form to outline how pensions benefits should be handled and distributed upon their death. This should also be updated to reflect any change in circumstance.

Adam Draper, a Partner and legal expert in Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team, said the calls were very welcome and highlighted the overall need for people to ensure they always prepare a will and keep such documents updated.

He outlined: “As with many issues surrounding wills, this issue highlights basically that people need to leave clear and comprehensive instructions about all aspects of their estate if they want to ensure their assets are split among family and friends in the manner they intend.

“Preparing a concise will and explaining the decisions behind its contents to loved ones can spare a lot of heartache and prevent legal battles which can prove emotionally draining, time consuming and costly.

“It is vital that some consideration of pensions savings is brought into this mix as the complexities of modern life mean that it is not always straightforward to determine on behalf of a person where their savings should go to.”

Adam added: “It can be difficult to forget about an Expression of Wish form and the need to update it, but it is a vital tool in the armoury of legal professionals and trustees alike in determining how such funds should be treated.

“While the right steps can mitigate the risks regarding this issue, it is of course a simple fact that these problems do emerge from time to time. We would urge anyone with concerns over the handing of a loved one’s retirement savings or their estate in general to seek advice on the potential for launching a challenge.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Will, Trust and Estate Disputes