Looking after your loved ones

01 June 2022

If you die before taking your Atlas benefits, the money in your pension account can be paid to the person, people or charity you choose. The way you express your preference is by completing an Expression of Wish form.

The payment is made at the Trustee’s discretion so that it isn’t liable for inheritance tax. That means it’s really important that we know who you want to get the money in your pension account in this situation. These two examples show you why:

Ashley lived with her long-term partner of over 20 years, but they’d never married and she had no siblings or children. Her parents had divorced, her mother had died, and her father had re-married and was struggling financially. Ashley hadn’t thought much about what would happen if she died – but she had completed an Expression of Wish form.

Sadly, Ashley died in an accident and the Trustee had to decide who should receive her Atlas savings of almost £100,000. Ashley’s partner reported that Ashley had lost touch with her father – but both Ashley’s partner and father believed they had a claim to the money.

As Ashley had completed an Expression of Wish form, the Trustee was able to take her choices into account, and give the money in Ashley’s Atlas account to her partner as requested without additional delay or distress.

Shaun had separated from his wife, with whom he had three grown-up children. He’d never officially divorced and had met someone new. His first wife then passed away and Shaun re-married.

Sadly, Shaun then died, leaving over £300,000 in his Atlas account. The hostility between his second wife and his children from his first marriage made the tragic situation even more difficult.

There was no Expression of Wish form on his file, and so the Trustee had no information about how he would have liked his Atlas savings to be distributed. If Shaun had completed a form and kept it up to date, the Trustee would have had known his wishes and been able to consider them in reaching a decision.

The distribution of benefits was eventually decided following various enquires by the Trustee to understand Shaun’s circumstances and to establish who the potential beneficiaries were, but the whole process took considerable time to complete.

If you want to check or update your Expression of Wish form, the easiest way is to use the member portal. Just click the "Log in" button at the top of the screen to get started.