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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
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Experience:  solicitor admitted for more than 30 years
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Hi There, I am 53 and divorced from my ex husband. I have

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Hi There,

I am 53 and divorced from my ex husband. I have pension policies which I paid all premiums into prior to meeting my husband. On our divorce, 5 years ago, I was told all future retirement benefits from these policies fell outside any financial settlement, which my ex accepted.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer recently, which treatment with surgery and drugs give a very good prognosis for the future, but this event made me look at life policies/death benefits for my two children aged 19 and 16 who live with me. It can to light that my policies are subject to an Absolute Trust, and my ex is the beneficiary and sole trustee. My pension company has lost the trust deed, and I do not have a copy. I have had a deed drawn up, by a local lawyer, on the recommendation of the pension company, for him to sign to enable him to resign as a trustee, and to assign any death benefits in equal shares to my children. He is refusing to sign the document and my pension company say they are not liable to provide any help. I do not know what I can do, but certainly it is not my wish that should I die prior to being able to take all or some of my pensions at age 55, that the death benefits should go to my ex What are the options? Cheers TS
Hi the only simple solution is to set up a new pension scheme and transfer the existing policies into a new scheme. An IFA should be able to help you do this. The only down side is any transfer costs and if you have any guaranteed returns built into the policies.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Thank you,


There would be very significant losses in the fund as there are guaranteed annuity rates on the policies, any the pension company have said they will not bend the rules to help me. Doesn't the Pension company have any responsibility to help me sort out the problem as they have lost the trust papers and also one of the original policy documents? and doesn't my ex have a responsibility to act in the interest of me the policyholder rather than in his own interest? TS

Well how do they know it is in trust if they cannot find the deed? That sounds like nonsense. You can complain about that but it is not up to them to sort out the fact you wrote it in trust. Most trust deeds allow you to appoint trustees and beneficiaries. The form of trust deed would normally be that mandated by the pension company. Your ex does not owe you any duty at all but if you have had a financial settlement you can always go back to court. I would get a deed drawn up appointing your children as beneficiaries and if possible additional trustees and send it the pension co. if as is normally the case there is power to do this the deed it should be effective. Have you asked the IFA who set up the policies if they have a copy? At the end of the day you may be better to switch policies and lose the guarantee than to lose the whole fund to your ex.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. That is helpful.

good luck getting this resolved.
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