If you have worked hard throughout your life to save for retirement, you want to be sure that should anything happen to you; your hard-earned savings can benefit your loved ones. Pensions should be a crucial part of estate planning as they are often some of the most valuable assets we own. In this article, we look at ways to pass on your pension, how to make pension contributions for loved ones, and why contributing to your own pension could be an effective form of estate planning.
In short, yes. You can pass on personal pension savings to your loved ones after you pass away. If you pass away before the age of 75, your beneficiaries will pay no tax on your pension savings.
In order to pass on a pension, you can nominate someone to inherit your pension fund as a drawdown account. If you choose to do this, the person you nominate can withdraw from the pension pot and inherit as and when they wish to do so. However, some pension schemes do not allow you to do this, so it is essential that you check what is possible with a trusted adviser.
Yes, and it may make financial sense to do so. When you nominate multiple people to inherit from your pension, say, several grandchildren, each of them can exhaust their income threshold before paying tax.
A good way to reduce the Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability of your estate is to make pension contributions for someone else. Pension contributions can not only reduce the taxable value of your estate, but your loved ones may also benefit from tax relief on those contributions. Contributions from a family member are treated as if they were made by the individual into their own pension and so will attract the tax benefits of paying into a pension scheme. This area of the law can be complicated and there are many rules and exemptions. We would always recommend speaking to an estate planning professional about your specific circumstances.
IHT generally does not apply to pensions and so contributing to a pension is an effective way to minimise your IHT liability whilst saving for the future. Contributions to a pension scheme are usually not deemed to be transfers of value for the purposes of calculating IHT. As a result, they will be excluded from the estate. However, some exceptions include payments made while you are in very ill health (payments made two years before death are generally not transfers of value).
Murray Beith Murray Partner, Peter Shand, is head of the Asset Protection group and is a specialist in succession and estate planning. If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article, or if you require assistance with any other matter, please complete our contact form or call us on 0131 225 1200.
Murray Beith Murray was established in 1849, as advisors for generations of clients, committed to our values of integrity, expertise and trust. This aim and these values continue to this day, as does our commitment to be here when you need us