Tuesday, 14th July 2020

This Month's Magazine
Cash in the Attic!

Cash in the Attic!

Have you forgotten about an old policy or pension plan? By Richard Alexander Dip. PFS

If you have ever watched the TV programme and wondered how come people forget what they have stashed in the attic, which sometimes is worth a surprising amount of money, you have probably also thought it would never happen to you. However, you might just find that you have some paperwork tucked away that you had forgotten all about or perhaps just don’t think that it is worth bothering about.

In the last couple of months, I have met with several people who had old UK pension policies or perhaps worked for an employer in the UK many years ago and had a small pension fund, which they had all but forgotten about.

In one recent case, the person concerned had left the UK over 25 years ago and had two old pension policies with companies that don’t even trade any longer in the UK and on the documentation, it talked about a deferred pension benefit of just a few hundred pounds a year. No money had been paid in for over 30 years and the policy documents had been gathering dust ever since.

We took the time to investigate and were able to report back that these forgotten policies did indeed have a value of just under £50,000 today and whilst they included some guaranteed benefits, these were not relevant any longer to the individual circumstances.


 However, the ability to withdraw a little over £15,000 as a lump sum enabled them to replace their car which was on its last legs and the remainder is now providing them with about £1,500 once a year, which enables them to take a holiday in the UK to visit family which otherwise was a luxury they could not afford.

Because these were old style policies, had the person concerned died before we came along, the only benefit payable would have been a return of the premiums paid plus a small amount of interest – the total payout would have been less than £6,000 – a windfall for the pension company and a significant loss to the family.

Even more money lies hidden in old employer pension schemes – we met with another person recently who thought they remembered having a pension with an ex employer in the UK which dated back about 18 years but the company concerned had been taken over and there was no contact information available.

With a little investigation we were able to locate the current trustees and on that occasion we identified a pension fund worth just over £13,000 – not a fortune but a nice surprise nonetheless.

So if you have an old folder tucked away with some paperwork from years ago or if you think you might have been a member of a pension scheme some time in the past, dig out the paperwork and have it looked at – you never know what you may have hidden away!

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