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1. Is your 'Expression of Wish' form up to date?

When was the last time you updated your 'Expression of Wish' form?

A recent report suggests that as many as 750,000 people in the UK may risk leaving pension benefits to an ex-partner simply because they haven’t kept their scheme’s trustee up to date with their circumstances.

An ‘Expression of Wish’ form allows you to tell the Trustee your wishes with regard to whom or where you’d like any lump sum benefits to be paid following your death. The Trustee can consider a range of beneficiaries, for example:

  • Your widow(er) or Civil Partner, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents and their descendants;
  • Anyone you were helping to support financially prior to your death;
  • The executors or administrators of your estate or any beneficiaries from your Will or, if you leave no Will, any beneficiaries under the rules relating to intestate estates; or
  • Any individual(s) — or charities registered with the Charity Commission, or any society or club — nominated by you.

Under BTPS Rules, if you die within five years of your pension starting, the Trustee will usually pay a lump sum. The Trustee has absolute discretion when deciding who receives any lump sum from the Scheme following the death of a member and an 'Expression of Wish' form is not binding. As the lump sum is paid at the Trustee’s discretion, inheritance tax is generally not payable.

To update the Trustee regarding your wishes, go to the online portal at, or visit the 'Useful documents' section of the website and download the ‘Expression of Wish’ form.

In addition, your Spouse or Civil Partner will be entitled to a pension. This is usually one half of your pension but may be less. Children’s pensions may also be payable.

If there is no Spouse or Civil Partner, the Trustee has discretion to pay an Adult Dependant’s pension on the same terms. To nominate someone for an Adult Dependant’s pension go to or visit the 'Useful documents' section of the website and download the ‘Nomination' form.

A picture of the expression of wish form