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Pension savers urged to review death benefits after court judgement


If you are covering today’s  Supreme Court judgement on the application by Denise Brewster for Judicial Review, please see the below commentary from Old Mutual Wealth pension expert, Jon Greer.

A summary of the judgement can be found on the Supreme Court website here.

Old Mutual Wealth pension expert, Jon Greer:

Jon Greer

“For individuals that hold a defined benefit pension, the message is clearly that they should not make any assumption about who will inherit the pension if they pass away. Always check the scheme provisions, as there will be qualifying conditions that apply to survivors pensions particularly for co-habiting partners.  While it is fairly standard for a spouse to benefit automatically on the member’s death, other family members may not and could be left short-changed if they work on the assumption that they will receive benefits. There are lots of example where this could be damaging, not only in a financial sense, but also to the relationships between surviving family members.  

“And the same rule of thumb applies to DC members too. Never assume your pension will naturally pass to the most obvious person from your point of view. Often the recipient of the death benefit will be at the discretion of the Scheme. It is imperative that you make your wishes known by completing an expression of wish. Failing to nominate your preferred beneficiary can lead to discord after your death and mean extra hassle and possibly unnecessary tax for family members.

“Following this judgement Trustees may be prompted to review their eligibility requirements for survivor’s pensions. However, ordinarily where a scheme offers a survivor’s pension to someone who is not a spouse or civil partner the death grant is given at the absolute discretion of the Trustees whether or not a nomination had been made by the member. Prompted by this case Local Government Pension Schemes in England, Wales and Scotland have removed the equivalent nomination requirement from April 2014.”

For more information contact

Michael GlenisterOld Mutual Wealth020 7778 963807469

Notes to editors:

About Quilter plc:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £118.1 billion in customer investments (as at 30 September 2018).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Wealth Platforms and Advice and Wealth Management.

Wealth Platforms includes the Old Mutual Wealth UK Platform; Old Mutual International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore; and the Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial planning network, Intrinsic; Quilter Private Client Advisers; discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

The Quilter plc businesses are being re-branded to Quilter over a period of approximately two years:

• The Multi-asset business is now Quilter Investors

• Intrinsic to Quilter Financial Planning

• The private client advisers business is now Quilter Private Client Advisers

• The UK Platform to Quilter Wealth Solutions

• The International business to Quilter International

• The Heritage life assurance business to Quilter Life Assurance

• Quilter Cheviot will retain its name

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This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.