If you are self-employed or do not have a pension scheme through work, then you may be saving for your retirement by contributing to a Retirement Annuity Contract (RAC) or PRSA. Where you have left the pension scheme of a previous employer, you may have pension savings in a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB).
Whether you have a RAC, PRSA or PRB, you have a personal pension policy; a savings plan to which monies may or have been tax-efficiently set aside with the intention of being used to provide an income in your retirement.
So what happens your personal pension if you die before your retirement date?
In the event of death before retirement, monies held in your personal pension pass to your Estate and may be succeeded to by anyone in accordance with the terms of your Will. How your successors are taxed, depends largely on their relationship to you.
Where personal pension monies pass under Will to a surviving spouse, they do so free from tax. Monies passing to your children potentially do so tax free at levels of up to €335,000. Grandchildren, siblings, and nieces and nephews may succeed to tax free cash of up to €32,500 and in-laws, and others unconnected to you by either blood or family ties, may do so at levels of up to €16,250.
Your Personal Pension and Your Will
A personal pension is a personal asset. Unless it is specifically disposed of by Will, it is included in the residue of an Estate and is succeeded to by residuary beneficiaries. On occasion, this may be contrary to the personal pension owner’s intention.
To ensure your Will correctly reflects your wishes, we recommend that upon next reviewing it with your solicitor, your personal pension policy be clearly and separately identified – leaving it, or a stated percentage or share of its value in the event of your death before retirement, by means of specific legacy to one or more named beneficiaries.
Should you have any queries on any of the issues addressed, please feel free to contact us.