Power of Attorney: Keeping retirement income plans on track
We are living in extraordinary times right now. Amid a global pandemic, many people are concerned about their affairs and whether they have made a Will. Nearly 6 out of every 10 adults in the UK have not made a Will*, although the Coronavirus pandemic has triggered a third of UK people to either draft a new Will or amend an existing one because of the crisis we are facing.
However, it is encouraged that your own circumstances aren’t forgotten in this process. It is important to consider how income and other needs would be met, especially if
your health did take a turn, or your mental capacity was lost. Retirees seem to be opting for a flexible income as retirement approaches, using drawdowns or saving
withdrawals to fund later years. However, this flexibility can be easily undone by any period of incapacity. Ensuring you have a power of attorney and the right pension in place can ensure any changing needs are always catered for.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows the nomination of someone to see over your financial affairs if you are no longer able to. They can start, stop, or change pension
withdrawals, as well as make withdrawals from any other savings owned. Having a power of attorney in place allows pension freedom flexibility when most needed. It should be set in place while the individual is still capable to make their own decisions, so forward planning this role can make a huge difference when it comes to future costs.
Ill-health can have a big impact on retirement incomes, and what it needs to cater for. On one hand, people can become less active as they grow older, therefore needing
less income to live on. However, on the other side, additional costs may build up if extra home care is required, or if you are moved to residential care.* Flexibility of drawdown leads to more decisions through retirement, as income levels may need monitoring more closely to keep balanced, or simply varied to meet these
changing needs. Being able to stop and start pension withdrawals is a big advantage to help make sure needs are met in the most tax-efficient way.
THE RIGHT PENSION
Getting a pension into the right scheme ahead of health issues is often advised as it is possible that any loss of mental capacity could affect transferring pension benefits
to new providers. With a Power of Attorney, it may be possible to still transfer, if it’s possible to show it would be in the donor’s best interest. However, it could be argued that transferring to improve the death benefits or how they can be accessed is not for the donor’s benefit. As well as this, it is important to note that no pension schemes offer a full range of income and death benefit options. If these flexibilities are important requirements, it is important that plans are put in place sooner rather
than later. It is often human nature to leave big decisions until later, however acting sooner rather than later in many cases can reduce stress, time spent and perhaps even save money in the long run. Having a flexible plan in place is important to ensure that all future expectations can cope with any unexpected changes in your circumstances.