The importance of nominating beneficiaries


On The importance of nominating beneficiaries

The most important financial plan any individual can arrange is to write a “will” (last will and testament). Unfortunately, only 30% of UK adults have a will in place and many of these may well be invalid due to re-marriage since they were written.

A will is:

A legal expression of who you wish to receive the benefit from your estate on death.A way to nominate a guardian for your children in the event of both parents dying.A way to avoid unnecessary taxes on death

Generally, your company “life insurance & pension benefits” are not explicitly listed in a will and the most common way to lay out your wishes in the event of premature death is to have completed an “expression of wish/benefit discretionary nomination” form.

As both of these benefits are generally under a pension master trust, the payment of the benefits is at the “Discretion” of the trustees. In order to provide guidance to the Trustees, the member should complete the discretionary nomination form to list who they wish to receive the payments and in what proportion. Ultimately, the trustees have discretion as to whether they follow these instructions and they will normally ask for a copy of any current will. In most cases the expression of wish will be honoured after a check to see if it reflects changes in your personal circumstances since it was completed.

Action you can take: As you may have completed a nomination form when you joined your company this may now be out of date due to life events and it is sensible to complete a new form on a regular basis to reflect your changed circumstances. This is generally available via your benefit hub or from your HR contact.

It is also advisable to write a will at the earliest opportunity. If you require assistance, our Will Writing Team can help you. You can contact the Helm Godfrey Will Writing Team by email at or by phone on 020 7614 1071.


The value of tax reliefs depends on your individual circumstances. Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice. The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Occupational pension schemes are regulated by The Pensions Regulator.


Go back to the full list of articles