Expression of Wish form
An Expression of Wish form assists employers in determining who they should pay the proceeds of a death in service scheme to should an unfortunate event happen which leads to the death of an individual who is covered.
If your employer provides cover of this type, this information will be beneficial.
Death In Service Scheme
Your employer provides a benefit to you that would pay out a lump sum which is a multiple of your salary if you die. The cost of this benefit is met by your employer and there is no P11D tax liability for you.
The death benefit is paid by an insurance company to the Trustees of your death in service scheme.
The Trustees are the individuals at your company with Directorship status and they have a duty to make enquiries to establish any potential beneficiaries.
Purpose of an Expression Of Wish Form
By filling in an Expression Of Wish form you will make this easier and quicker for them to establish any potential beneficiaries, and what you wishes were.
It is important that you continue to keep it under review and update it when anything changes: it is not just your circumstances that might change (which might mean changing your nominations); you should also update any contact details for potential beneficiaries. Adding an email address and contact telephone numbers for potential beneficiaries on the form would help in the event that a claim needs to be paid out.
The Trustees still have discretion over where the benefits would be paid. However, if there is a full completed and up to date expression of wish form on your personnel file, this makes it a lot easier for them.
Importance of a Will
As part of good personal planning you should of course also make sure you have a Will in place and update this on a regular basis. A reference to the death in service scheme in your Will would be wise and this should specify:
- who you would like to benefit from any payment from this scheme, and
- reference to the completion of an expression of wish form.
If you die without a Will, the intestacy rules apply to your estate and some of these rules might not be to your liking. Although the Trustees might make reference to the rules of intestacy when paying out a claim from the death in service scheme where a Will and expression of wish form is not in place, they are not bound by those rules.
If you don’t complete an Expression Of Wish form, any benefit that may become payable will be paid out by the Trustees – however, it could be a lengthy process at what is a very distressing time for everyone involved.