By Helen Tansley, of Armstrong Watson

WHAT'S the value of your pension?

It’s fair to say that value is very much subjective as individuals will find value in different things.

The Collins Dictionary defines Value as: “The value of something such as a quality, attitude, or method is its importance or usefulness. If you place a particular value on something, that is the importance or usefulness you think it has”.

Most people look to access their pension when they retire. At this point they will assess the value in monetary terms, and how it will fund their lifestyle once income from employment/self employment ceases. It is however a harsh reality of life that some will unfortunately not get the chance to draw on their pension provision, dying sooner than expected.

What then, is the value of their pension? It would be reasonable to assume that the value in a statement would be the amount paid to your beneficiaries should you die. This isn’t, however, always the case.

Many older policies, effected pre 1990s, actually pay out a lower amount upon the death of a policyholder. An extreme case I have dealt with this year involved a client whose pension would fall in value by almost 88% should he die prior to taking the benefits.

In April 2015, changes to pension legislation have resulted in many people using pensions as a way to pass on wealth to subsequent generations due to the favourable Inheritance Tax treatment.

Thankfully, where this is the case action can be taken in order to preserve the value of the pension upon the policyholder’s passing. Moving the provision to a new, more modern contract, can allow for the value of the holding to be the same both during your life, and after your time. Advice should always be sought when taking such advice, as valuable safeguarded benefits such as guaranteed annuity rates or protected tax free cash may be at risk should you transfer out of an old pension scheme.

So, next time you receive your pension statement don’t take this at face value. You should seek advice so as to understand what the actual value is to you and your loved ones.

An initial review of your financial affairs can be provided with our compliments, please get in touch with Helen Tansley on 0113 2211332 or email