Ask the Expert: How do I make sure my pension goes to my children if I remarry?

Ask the Expert: How do I make sure my pension goes to my children? Carl Lamb responds. Picture: Gett

Ask the Expert: How do I make sure my pension goes to my children? Carl Lamb responds. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This week our reader wants to know how they can ensure their pension goes to their children, even if they are remarrying someone who has their own children. Carl Lamb of Smith and Pinching responds.

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green

Carl Lamb, managing director of Almary Green - Credit: Archant

Reader question:

I am a divorcee with two teenage children and I've just moved in with my boyfriend, who is also divorced and has one son aged 10.

We're planning to get married next year. We both have good jobs and pension schemes but we would like to make sure that if either of us should die early, any payout from our pensions will go to our own children - so anything from my pension goes to my children, for example.

Can we do that if we are married or will the benefits automatically go to the husband or wife?

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Carl Lamb response:

If you are members of what are known as Defined Contribution Pension Schemes - where your fund is built up through contributions from you and/or your employer plus any tax relief and investment growth - then you can normally specify who the recipients of any death benefits should be, using an Expression of Wishes form.

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Although the pension scheme trustees are not bound to abide by your wishes, they will normally do so. Contact your pension scheme provider or your financial adviser to arrange for the completion of the form.

An independent financial adviser will also help you understand the benefits being provided and ensure that your scheme is meeting your needs.

You and your partner may have already completed an Expression of Wishes form in the past so it is important to ensure that you change this to suit your new circumstances, although previous forms may be invalid now if you set them up before your respective divorces.

If either you or your partner have what is known as a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme, then the situation may not be quite so clear cut.

Such schemes are normally found in the public sector or larger companies: the value of your eventual pension in these schemes is determined by salary levels and length of service.

They may have more rigid rules about what death benefits can be awarded, particularly if death occurs before the member reaches retirement age.

If either of you is a member of a Defined Benefit Scheme, you should speak with your Scheme Administrator to find out what death benefits are included, or consult a financial adviser.

Any opinions expressed in this article do not constitute advice.

They assume the 2019/20 tax year and may be subject to change. The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested.

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