Can we get more for an unclaimed pension?

David Woodhouse
27 February 2019

Q

We have recently been informed by Abbey Life that a pension my father paid into has not been claimed. It has given us the value at his death and says we are entitled to interest at 1% for the 14 years that have passed since he died. Is there any way we can find out when it removed the pension from their investment fund? Or do we have to accept that this will be all we get?

From
LB/Ashburton

A

This is likely to be a matter of the pension contract which is in place. As a matter of course, Abbey Life should pay the death benefits based on the pension value at the date of death.

Unless Abbey Life is obliged by the policy terms, it is not compelled to pay any subsequent growth or gain on the policy value to the estate or beneficiaries. So the fact that it is offering interest at 1% over the period could even be seen as a positive.

It is likely that Abbey Life would have removed the pension from the investment fund when it became aware of the date of death or, if your father had reached his pension contract retirement age beforehand. Even if it removed it some time after his death, and the investment growth was significant, this is immaterial to the policy terms if they state that benefits will be valued as at the date of death. In other words, you are probably not entitled to claim for any investment growth after the date of death.

You should contact Abbey Life and ask it to confirm the policy details. Be aware that, even after all this time, it may want copies of the death certificate and your identity verification before it releases any information.

David Woodhouse is head of advice services at Chase de Vere.