Recent ONS data shows a growing number of people over the age of 65 who are divorcing, bucking a general declining divorce rate in the UK.
But this raises a very particular problem if we assume that the majority of people over 65 today are retired and already drawing their pension benefits.
Pensions are an asset, and more so following the pension freedoms, are likely to form part of an individual's overall wealth and so may be subject to an assessment of wealth sharing when looking at a divorce settlement.
However, this also highlights another problem and one that whilst very pertinent to divorce is also just as relevant to any change in marital status or family circumstance - the nominated beneficiary. Everyone with a pension in the UK will be asked to nominate a named beneficiary to whom the pension should be paid to in the event of that person's death.
The nominated beneficiary is something that should be regularly reviewed and particularly when getting married, on divorce, if there are children, when children reach adulthood, if there are other dependents and so on. Similar to a regular review of a will, the person nominated as a beneficiary is an instruction to your pension provider/ trustees to pay your pension benefits and whilst they may have some discretion, it is always better and safer to keep this instruction current than rely on their discretion after the event.
With an increase in divorce in the retired population, I wonder how many divorcees think to notify their pension scheme administrators or trustees about a change in their nominated beneficiary?
Don't let pension benefits end up in wrong hands, warns Royal London Follows ONS data on over-65s' marriages Helen Morrissey: "We would encourage anyone who has changed their marital status since they first joined a pension scheme to make sure the scheme knows their wishes." 22 July 2017