Updated: 04:52 EST

Victory as 20,000 savers can cash in their annuities

In a significant victory for our Unlock Our Pensions campaign, Phoenix Life will allow savers to swap their lifetime incomes for a one-off lump sum. We can reveal that around 20,000 savers with small annuities will be sent letters over the next six months outlining how much they could get. The offer is being limited to those with small pots providing an income of less than £300 a year and who are between the ages of 55 and 85.

Don't let any insurer tell you it's impossible to cash in your annuity. Thanks to Phoenix Life, now we have indisputable proof that it can be done at any time.

On average, both men and women surveyed expected to live until around 82 years old, although analysis of official statistics show life expectancy is higher than that.

Can I leave the British Steel pension scheme?

A key deadline for British Steel pension members to make a decision about their retirement savings is looming on 11 December. A free helpline has been set up by The Pensions Advisory Service to assist, while This is Money's pensions columnist Steve Webb responds to a member and lays out the options here.

In 2014 I deferred receiving my state pension. With the government scheme promising a return of 10.4 per cent on the amount and a weekly pension, it seemed a 'no-brainer'.

Pension savers will keep their tax breaks after Chancellor Philip Hammond resisted butchering the popular incentives to raise cash for other pet projects.

How do you invest in retirement?

Elderly investors have to balance the need to make withdrawals yet keep a pot as intact as possible - whether to avoid running out of money or bequeath a pension to loved ones. We take a look at how much you need to change investing strategy in retirement, and round up some expert tips on keeping on top of your portfolio and cutting your tax bill.

Spend your pension pot last to defend savings from taxman

Hoard your pension and spend other cash and investments first, to keep your money away from the taxman. That's the advice experts are dishing out to retirees worried about inheritance tax. But anyone who wants to minimise their annual income tax, or use up their capital gains tax allowance efficiently, might also benefit from not spending a pension first.

Will my father's second wife receive a widow's pension?

My father and stepmother have been married for 30-plus years. My stepmother believes she will not receive a NHS widow's pension when he dies since it is a remarriage. This seems totally unfair, especially since she lost her own deceased husband's pension on marrying my father and would be left with nothing but the state pension. I have attempted to verify the situation with the NHS pension service, with various contradictory and unclear results.

Beware fake sites preying on the fear of funeral costs

Most people looking to pay for their burial or cremation in advance do so to save their families the hassle, expense and heartache in future. But a lack of regulation over these plans and how they are sold has allowed for an eruption of websites claiming to be able to compare quotes. In reality, many are predatory number-catching websites known as 'lead generators'. Telephone numbers entered into the website can then be passed on to companies that deliver a hard-sell. Heather Bridger (pictured) felt pressured.

In 2012, we featured the case of David Burnett, a lifelong 20-a-day smoker who was then 65. His smoking meant he qualified for more annuity income than a healthy man would have got.

Over-50s rely on lottery or inheritance for retirement

A new report suggests that although workers usually see their income peak in their early fifties, many fail to put that extra income into a pension, mostly because they don't earn enough or they still have to help out their children. About a quarter of over 50s said they relied on the extra cash they'd get from moving into a smaller home or in a cheaper area to pay for a comfortable retirement, a survey by Aviva has found.

HM Revenue & Customs was going to write to people who were contracted out of state pension top-ups between 1978 and 1997. The letters were due to be sent in December 2018.

Richard Hood, 79, from Chingford, North East London, says he was called out of the blue by BT and told he could get a new phone deal that would save him money.

How do I reduce my inheritance tax bill?

It is?one of the most hated taxes - and more and more people are being dragged into it as house prices rise. But couples can give away £24,000 a year without inheritance tax dogging their family. If the total value of your property, savings and other assets is below £425,000 - double that if you're a married couple - there's no need to worry about inheritance tax. But HM Revenue & Customs will levy 40 per cent on anything above this from your estate when you die.

When a spouse or civil partner dies you can claim an extra Isa allowance so you can inherit their savings tax-free. The extra allowance is equal to the amount in the Isa at the time of death.

I am almost 55 and have a pension pot totalling £70k over four policies. I wish to remove the risk and have them put into cash for now, as I believe there is going to be a crash.

If you are still saving into a pension, on the verge of retirement, or have stayed invested during your old age, you will be exposed to the UK government bond market gyrations in reaction to the rate rise.

Some 90,000 pensioners could get thousands of pounds each in compensation after watchdogs caught Prudential and Standard Life mis-selling annuities to ill people.

Exclusive figures from equity release lender One Family reveal one in five lifetime mortgage borrowers needs the money to clear their mortgage.

According to the latest 'women and retirement' report from Scottish Widows, seven in ten divorcing couples do not discuss pensions as part of a settlement. And guess who loses out? Women.

State pension top up trap snares savers

Today, This is Money and Money Mail lay bare the Government's shameful betrayal of savers who are desperate to boost their state pensions. Savers in their 50s and 60s handed over money under the impression that it would boost their weekly payouts, then were told they wouldn't qualify for any extra pension - and refused refunds. John Mullen, pictured, fought to get £3,500 back from the taxman and won his money after our intervention.

Confusion around the Government's last-minute National Insurance top-up scheme has led many over-50s to pay for extra state pension income that they cannot actually get.

A major study into the nation's finance by the City watchdog has revealed that an alarming proportion of borrowers with an interest-only mortgage were past state retirement age.

Today's 45-year-olds can expect live three years longer on average than today's 65-year-olds, with some of that extra time in better health, according to a new study.

Couples prioritise splitting property and savings and even who keeps the pets over pensions when marriages end, although they are often the family's second most valuable asset after a home.

I am a recently retired GP, after 49 years of practising medicine. My wife retired from teaching languages after four months and has been on maternity leave for 41 years, bringing up me and our three children!

Since December 2014, surviving partners have been able to claim an extra Isa allowance so they can benefit from the tax planning they made as a couple.

Everyone has a financial weak spot. But there are ways to repair any chinks in our financial armour. Lucy Fletcher is unsure whether she should save for a house or a comfortable retirement.

They were shown how to set up a fake email address and use it to persuade relatives to click on a link - which four in five of their victims did.

Pension sharks are putting anti-scam alerts on their sites

In a bold twist, pension scammers are exploiting the warnings the Government and other authorities issue to thwart their activities. 'Watch out for scam sites that dress themselves up with anti-scam messaging to pose as legitimate businesses,' says the Pensions Regulator.

MPs have been told pensioners are splurging savings on alcohol and gambling before falling back on the State for help. The Commons were told individuals spent their pots in a matter of months.

Inheritance tax is one of the most hated around. But IHT is also a tax that can be avoided. Listen to this week's podcast to find out how and learn more about the Chancellor's plan to help the young.

Will Wynne, co-founder and managing director of workplace pension provider Smart Pension, explains why he believes we need a pensions dashboard as soon as possible.

A firm called Basset & Gold are advertising a product saying 'Pensioner Bonds Are Back'. However, capital is at risk and many may believe there is a link to the NS&I product.

How do I avoid inheritance tax legally?

There are many legal ways to dodge the dreaded 40 per cent 'death tax' if you want to pass on the maximum sum possible and are prepared to plan ahead. Here's our round-up of 10 ways to reduce or avoid a large inheritance tax bill, some of which can be undertaken easily by any ordinary person without the need for elaborate arrangements or to pay for professional help.

Last week, we revealed that savers who failed to shop around for the best deals face losing as much as £13,500 from a £100,000 pot over the course of their retirement.

The Chancellor has signalled his intention to use next month's financial package to tackle mounting concerns about the prospects for young people.

I heard there have been problems with people appointed as attorney who rob those they were supposed to protect. Am I better off not giving anyone a power of attorney?

The number of retirees aged 75 to 84 taking out so-called equity release loans shot up 48 per cent in the past year. Figures show 3,400 homeowners took these in the first six months of the year.

Savers who withdraw regular chunks of cash from their pensions risk £13,500 being gobbled up by expensive funds over their retirement, as they are tempted by firms' easy options.

A major pensions scandal is being overlooked by the authorities, who have thrown savers to the wolves instead of protecting them.

Crackdown on rip-off pension fees set to save thousands

The crackdown includes a 1 per cent cap on early exit charges for those aged 55 or older who want access to the funds in their occupational scheme. Those that start saving into a workplace pension from now on will not have to pay a penny in exit charges under the new rules.

Increasing life expectancy, low interest rates and weaker investment returns have seen the total deficit for final salary pension schemes balloon, says the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association.

Regulators uncovered a series of failings by financial advisers and pension transfer specialists - which at worst could be leaving savers at risk of moving final salary pots to scam schemes.

How to build a fortune for retirement you can really enjoy

Building long-term wealth to see you though retirement is an essential part of life. Without doing it, you leave yourself dependent upon a state pension that will probably not kick in until your mid to late 60s. Even then it will not be sufficient to ensure financial security. Thankfully, we now have the tools necessary to accumulate investment wealth so that retirement can be enjoyed rather than endured. These tools come in the form of tax-friendly wrappers that reward long-term investing. If you adhere to our four-point plan, you will not go far wrong.

Robo advisers are low-cost investing websites that help you pick the right investments for your money. But are these a good way to invest your pension? We take a look.

There are plenty of ways to maximise your income in retirement. But millions of people are throwing money away every year by failing to claim benefits, tax breaks and perks.

This cap on early exit charges gives more power, more choice, and more money back to consumers, giving them a greater say over how they fund retirement.

Retiring today brings much more freedom in terms of what you do with your pension pot, but with that choice comes the tricky task of investing in retirement. Our guides can help you.

Lock into an income that'll never change

You might be tempted if someone offered you an investment guaranteeing a secure income that would cover all your regular bills until the day you died. After all, that's the Holy Grail for savers trying to make their pensions last into old age. But would you be as keen if you heard that the name of the investment was ... an annuity? Possibly not.

Huge sums are being dangled before workers by firms keen to shed the burden of guaranteeing final salary pensions to both current and former employees.

An estimated £400 million is sitting in lost or forgotten pension pots and almost a quarter of people admit they may have misplaced some of their retirement savings.

The key age is 75. If you die before your 75th birthday, then any pension can be passed on tax-free.
Your spouse or children can spend it when they want without incurring a tax bill.

'Generating an income in retirement has never been harder, but that doesn't mean you should just give up', says Tom Becket, chief investment officer at Psigma Investment Management.

Beat the annuity traps that could rob you of thousands

By the ?time you retire you should really have mapped out how you'll get an income that'll last as long as you'll need. Ideally, that means sitting down with a financial adviser and plotting a course for your investments before you stop work. But there is nothing stopping those who've already started dipping into their pot from coming up with a masterplan now.

One of the biggest attractions of a pension is the tax-free cash. Savers can take a quarter of their pot from the age of 55 without paying a penny of tax on it.

The taxman is prone to making errors. Every year about three million people pay too much - or too little - tax and have to straighten out their records with HM Revenue & Customs.

Before you even think about dipping into your pot or investing the cash for income, you need to figure out where to store it. We compare some of the big names.

Keeping your cash invested through retirement means you can take an income while your money continues to grow. But how do you pick the right investments? We get some top tips.

Pensions to British expats could stop without Brexit deal

Pension and insurance deals could enter legal limbo, leaving British expats and other EU residents facing financial hardship if their payouts are cut off after March 2019. The threat to UK expats has prompted influential House of Commons Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan MP to throw her weight behind industry calls for the issue to be addressed in the Brexit talks.

Reckitt backs down in third dispute over pension letters

EXCLUSIVE: Leah Gray, 29, was initially refused her company contributions on the grounds she hadn't acted on a letter giving a three-month deadline, but Reckitt Benckiser relented after our investigation. The hospital doctor protested she never received any communications, despite putting her new forwarding contacts in her notice letter.

The move will force fund firms to reveal transaction costs and administration charges in a standardised format - details that pension savers and personal investors have lacked until now.

Some 47% of home owners aged over 55 plan to downsize their homes in the future, releasing an average of £112,000 in?equity from the move.

My ex-husband refuses to give authority to the firm to answer my questions and they say they cannot answer questions due to the Data Protection Act. Lawyer Nigel Shepherd replies.

I have a terminal illness and my husband and I are preparing wills. Our daughter has married a man who is unreliable with money, so what's the best way to do it? Peter King of Nockolds replies.

How do you protect £100k given to son to buy a house?

My daughter is gifting her son £100,000 to help him buy a house. We are concerned that, if he marries and then dies, 'her' money in the form of the house may disappear to a third party, her son's widow. Which is the best way to safeguard the money? Lawyer James Antoniou, pictured, of Co-op Legal Services, replies.

On this day in 2007, it transpired that Northern Rock had sought emergency funding from the Bank of England, sparking the first run on a bank for more than a century.

A huge part of having money is spending it on things that bring a smile to your face, but how exactly should you spend your nest egg?

If parents earning between £50k and £60k are willing to put more of their income into a pension, they will face a smaller charge on their child benefits, research shows.

A joint update on Brexit talks published by the UK and EU indicated a 'convergence' of positions on state pension uprating and healthcare - including protecting the EHIC scheme.

Timing the market with pension nest egg

I am convinced there is going to be a major stock market correction in the next 12 months, at least in the UK, Europe and USA. Is it silly to tinker with how my pension is invested on the basis of trying to read the market?

John and Jan Airey made voluntary payments covering five years of NI each, in the mistaken belief that this would qualify them for the full new state pension, worth £159.55 a week.

From keeping the home warm to paying bills, many pensioners struggle to afford even the basics, charity Age UK has warned.

Why did Phoenix Life pension fail to grow for 11 YEARS?

James Hawken, 48, condemned Phoenix Life for levying hefty charges on a pension with zero growth for years - and demanding a quarter of the fund if he moves it before he is 55. He is among hundreds of thousands of savers left out of pocket after taking out 'with profits' products, which were touted as 'smoothing' returns during the ups and downs of financial markets.

The final salary pension scheme I'm in is in trouble because there's a big deficit. I'm wondering whether to transfer out, but is that a good idea?

Friends Life work pension exit fee of 78% condemned

Horrified saver, Russell Jones, pictured, discovered he faced a 78% exit penalty to move an old Friends Life pension pot built up through work. It exposes the large loophole in the Government's drive to stamp out excessive fees. It banned exit fees on all new pensions and capped them at 1 per cent for over-55s, but the cap doesn't apply to older pots held by younger savers.

The retirement income gap between households with a private pension income and those without is growing, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Nearly 1,200 people have complained to the information watchdog in a year about nuisance calls and texts from firms selling call-blocking services.

Workers aged 40 and over are being urged to obtain a forecast of their state pension to avoid huge financial disappointment when they reach official retirement age.

Younger savers are traditionally told to take greater investment risk - but state-funded pension provider NEST puts them in more cautious funds to mitigate early losses. Is this approach right?

State pension age rise to 68 to cost fortysomethings £10k

If you are in your mid-40s, it will cost you £3,340, or £21 a month if you set aside money gradually, to build up an extra £10,000 lump sum before you hit the new state retirement age.That assumes 5 per cent investment growth, net of fees, over 22 years. The Government announced last week it was bringing forward a rise in the state pension age to 68 by seven years. That means the increase will happen in 2037-2039, affecting everyone currently aged 46 or under.

Tens of thousands of people with long-standing financial protection policies are being urged to check they are still fit for purpose - and upgrade them if not.

Our investigation found grieving savers are routinely being given the runaround when they try to transfer their spouse's Isa into their own name.

Power of attorney is a document that lets someone make financial decisions on your behalf should you fall ill, but those who have applied since 2013 have paid too much.

Regulator stressed there was no suggestion savers' money was at risk, or that employers using NOW's services were not complying with duties to workers auto-enrolled into pension schemes.

Save 18% of your salary for old age, young are told

Young workers must save a fifth of their wages to achieve an 'adequate' retirement income - 70 per cent of your average earnings over the course of a working life, according to think tank ILC-UK. People retiring today are doing so on incomes worth 76 per cent of their average earnings, because many still get generous and guaranteed final salary pensions not available to most younger workers.

Elderly people are being forced to sell their homes because the NHS is taking years to pay them for care bills. Kenneth and Betty Hayes had to pay up for care?for years before moving into a home

Scammers are 'grooming' pension savers by giving them a script of what to say to get around company safeguards, warns financial giant Aegon.

Cancer and your finances: Benefits you may be entitled to

Grappling with the benefits monster can be daunting, particularly for those struggling with common side effects such as nausea, fatigue and chemo brain. But making sure you get the support you need and deserve while you beat your illness is hugely important. Here's everything you need to know.

A controversial proposal by the insurance industry to water down the benefits payable from a popular type of financial protection cover has been widely criticised.

The average cancer survivor pays an eye-watering £133 for a travel insurance policy if they have had a diagnosis in the past - nearly four times the average cost of £37.

Ed Monk: Forty five with no pension? How to save £100k+

How do you rescue your retirement if you've hit middle age and saved nothing into a pension yet? Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, says people in the 'squeezed middle' can still retire with peace of mind about their finances. He explains how an average earner in their forties can build a pot of well over £100,000 - or even double that if they try a bit harder - over the next couple of decades.

Single pensioners are more vulnerable to sharks, with 16 per cent admitting being duped into handing over money compared with 6 per cent of those who are married, Age UK reveals.

The Government decision jettisons existing legislation which anticipated the increase to 68 happening far later, between 2044 and 2046.

Five funds to invest in for pension drawdown

The financial watchdog has sounded the alarm over savers using pension freedoms to move cash to ordinary bank accounts, or into drawdown plans without getting advice. So what's the alternative? We have asked Darius McDermott, director of investment research house FundCalibre,?to take a look at where you can invest for a better return.?

Pension could double returns on buy-to-let over 20 years

Research claims investing £59,700 into a mortgaged buy-to-let property could grow by 237% over 20 years, while a 40% tax payer could see 435%?if they invested the sum in a pension.The findings take into account the tax crackdown on buy-to-let that has seen stamp duty hiked and mortgage interest relief start to be hacked back.

Five ways to check you're on track for a decent retirement

I pay into a pension at work and won't retire for ages. Can I not think about it for a few years or is there something else I should be doing? Richard Parkin of Fidelity International offers a handy checklist to help ensure your pension keeps ticking along nicely over the years until you retire.

The ban on unsolicited calls, texts and emails is being announced after a long-running campaign against abuses, highlighted by The Mail on Sunday's Personal Finance pages.

Millions of people with pensions they are no longer paying into are sitting on a flexible friend that could enhance their financial fitness in retirement.

Grandparents step in to help parents with childcare costs

Childcare costs for children under the age of 13 are an average of £85.90 or £4,500 per year which is equivalent to a sixth of the average salary. Mounting childcare costs are putting parents under pressure and one in ten say it's their biggest monthly expense, behind rent and mortgage costs.

Can I ask my daughter to pay me for babysitting?

As a pensioner I don't have a huge income and I'm considering asking my daughter if she would give me some money for the days I look after my grandson. But I don't want to offend her, or risk her telling me she'll send my grandson to a nursery instead, so am very wary about doing this.

Do you know about the tax relief boost for retirement?

Half of workers are unaware the Government helps people save for retirement by not taxing pension contributions and could be missing out on free cash paid into their pension as a result, a new survey reveals. Anyone making the UK average wage of £27,000 a year and putting 2% in a pension would get £5,400 from the Government over 40 years. But throw in 5% of your salary, and it would give you £13,520, says fund manager BlackRock.

Three quarters of people aged 25-34 who have a pension also say they are willing to hike savings levels automatically in line with future pay rises.

Over-55s who dip into their pension pots are now only able to put away £4,000 a year and still automatically qualify for tax relief, rather than £10,000.

New 'default' income drawdown plans and a cap to prevent people paying 'excessive charges' are being considered after a probe into the radical pension reforms launched in 2015.

Phil Loney, head of savings firm Royal London, said more retirees were putting their money into drawdown products with no understanding of the risks.

The majority of UK adults are anxious they won't be able to pay for their own future care needs, according to a survey by not-for-profit care home provider Anchor.

The Government planned to raise the cost of probate from a £255 admin fee to up to £20k depending on the size of an estate. It was ditched due to the election, but experts say it could be back.

My brother changed locks at property we own jointly

Over 20 years ago, my parents gave their home to both me and my brother. My mother has now passed away and my father is deceased. What happens with the selling of the property? So we have equal rights and what can I do about my brother changing the locks?

The auto-enrolment initiative begun in 2012 has made it compulsory for employers to sign up eligible staff to a pension and pay in 1 per cent of their salary unless people voluntarily opt out.

Fears?of another mis-selling scandal have been raised by a damning report into the funeral planning industry by Fairer Finance for funeral care firm Dignity.

Cuts in payouts to wealthy pensioners should be introduced gradually from 2019, because otherwise the state pension age will have to rise for everyone, argues an academic study.

Jason and Julie Buckley are featured in a new Channel 4 programme, How To Retire At 40. The couple, from the East Midlands, now travel to all corners of Europe.

Should self-employed see 4% of profits put into pensions?

An opt-out system - placing business profits straight into a pension - is being pushed for because only one in seven of the UK's 4.8million-strong self-employed workforce is doing this at present. That means many will simply be unable to afford to retire, warns a report by pension giants Aviva and Royal London, which arrives as the Government confirms plans to include self-employed savers in the auto-enrolment system for workers.

An overhaul of the popular incentive, which allows everyone to save for retirement out of untaxed income, has dangled over the heads of savers since the Tories considered it before the Brexit vote.

Plans for potential new legislation were disrupted by the election, and went unmentioned in the Queen's Speech, sparking concern that key initiatives to thwart fraud are being delayed.

Sums 40 times an employee's expected annual retirement income are being promised to some members, with £1 million-plus deals on the table for some. But is that worth taking?

The introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015 - and the collapse in annuity rates - means more people aged 55 and over are trying new tactics to generate a retirement income.

Should you take your 25% tax-free pension lump sum?

The chance to pocket a tax-free 25 per cent lump sum from your retirement fund when you stop working is one of the most popular perks of saving into a pension. But there is another option - to not take the lump sum, but leave your pension alone to continue growing or provide a higher income over the course of retirement. We look at what to weigh up when you are deciding to take some, all or none.

Get ready for pension freedom - but dodge the tax traps and beware of fraud

The huge overhaul allows older savers unrestricted access to their whole pension pots, and removes the need to buy an annuity to provide guaranteed income for life. But pension experts warn freedom reforms bring big and serious risks, like fraudsters stealing people's life savings, baffled retirees paying far too much tax, and the possibility of some treating their savings like a cash windfall and blowing them too fast.


For decades it has been the default option for most people on the day you retire: you take 25 per cent of your pension as a tax-free lump sum.

Seven out of 10 people find it 'shocking' and 'unfair' when they realise taking full advantage of the Goverment's pension freedom reforms could land them with a surprise tax bill.

Armchair guide to the great shake-up: Are you sitting comfortably? Then here is how

It's taken 20 years of campaigning by this newspaper - sometimes against governments of the day, other times against big corporate vested interests in the financial world. But after all the battling - and going a little greyer on top - it's time to raise a glass of prosecco and toast a new era. The great pensions revolution has arrived: goodbye unwieldy, straight- jacketing pensions; hello pensions fit for a modern, flexible Britain. From April 6, the pension pendulum swings firmly from provider to you, the consumer, the investor. Rejoice.




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Investing: don't miss

How to invest your pension in drawdown

While many people dislike the idea of an annuity, the alternative means keeping your pension invested in retirement and managing it yourself - a process that can be confusing and full of pitfalls. So here's a checklist, from investing, to income, taxes, the state pension, inheritance, illness, financial advice and much else.

Pension age deadlines are more fluid as older people have gained greater control over retirement dates and finances - but some birthdays are still markers for decisions and action.

'Pension recycling' allows people to boost their retirement pot by generating extra tax relief - but anyone tempted risks a financial penalty if they overstep the rules.

Retirees can now find more flexible income from drawdown, multi-asset funds and so called 'third- way' products that combine annuities and exposure to the stock market.

Our pensions are changing - radically.?Some say for better, others for worse. We say, make yourself as best informed as you can be with a copy of this super free guide.

How to avoid inheritance tax and plan to pass on more

Inheritance is an area of personal finance that can get very complicated, very quickly and what might seem relatively straightforward at first glance, often isn't. Worse, getting it wrong could have a big impact on the amount of money your family actually receives when you die. We've put together a comprehensive Q&A to help you navigate the rules.

Happy retirement: But how long will you have to wait for your state pension?

The new web option, which offers state pension forecasts to people of all ages, hasn't been fully publicised yet - but you can test out the early 'beta' version and provide feedback.

We tend to put ambitious targets on our hoped-for income in retirement and then underestimate how much we will need to set aside to achieve that. So how much should you save?

Why more families are going to court over inheritance

Modern family dynamics are also causing more rows, with divorce, second marriages, stepchildren and half-brothers and sisters now common. The more extended the family, the more likely it is that arguments will arise. One of the most recent high-profile cases is a dispute over the legacy left by Lynda Bellingham, who starred in the Oxo adverts in the Eighties.

Are you ready to embrace income drawdown after pension freedom?

Instead of being stuck with stingy annuities, retirees now have the freedom to dip into their pensions using income drawdown. These schemes allow you to take sums out of your pension pot while the rest stays invested. So what are the advantages and risks of doing this, and what schemes are on offer? We run through the main options now, and look ahead to what might become available in future.

Over-55s will be able to cash in their entire pension from this April, an opportunity that could tempt many to plunge their savings into buy-to-let property.

Daily grind: Are your pension savings in an investment fund with the kind of performance that makes it all worth while in the end?

If you signed up to a work pension scheme but took no further action, your savings are most likely in a 'default' investment fund. How do you check if it's any good?

Television Programme: Deal Or No Deal with Noel Edmonds.

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With-profits policyholders often face an impossible choice about when to take their benefits. Turn down today's offer and tomorrow's may be lower. How can you decide when it's time to leave?

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The majority of employees change jobs several times in their working lives - with the average person working for 11 different employers.

Should you take the risk out of your pension investments before retirement?

People nearing retirement traditionally switch savings out of risky investments and into safer assets, but pension freedom reforms are likely to prompt a big rethink of this practice. That's because derisking - or 'lifestyling' as it's also known - is normally done in preparation for buying an annuity, but many more people will be opting to stay invested an draw down an iincome in future.

Complex: The majority of people in defined contribution pension schemes have little involvement with where their money's invested.

Modern work pensions mean that your retirement income is your responsibility. Clearly, that makes engaging with yours a good idea. We explain how to.

Complex: Don't know your ACCs from your TERs? This guide will help you find your way through tricky pensions and investing terms.

Anyone going it alone when they're investing their pension could be met with a confusing array of jargon, even when carrying out the simplest of tasks.

What should you do with a pension pot of £30k, £50k or £100k?

Pension freedom reforms will give people more decision-making power over their retirement savings from next year. The options to access your money, spend or invest it will widen - although your choices will still largely depend on the size of your pension pot. Financial experts Mark Stone of Whitechurch Securities and Ben Westaway of Jessop Financial Planning explain both your opportunities and the limitations on them.

Looking to draw up a will? Make sure you're not taken for a ride by cowboy will writers

Are you at risk of leaving your family with nothing but legal bills because of a badly written will? Find out what your options are and how to guard yourself against an invalid will.


Combining pension pots built up in different jobs could make real financial sense

Big decision: Deborah Hillier-Paul has more time  for walking

A major report into how pension pots are turned into income at retirement is expected to be published by the Financial Conduct Authority this week.

Tools: Sipps allow you to manage your own pension investments but come with different costs

The rise of DIY online investing has transformed the way people are able to save for retirement, but navigating the maze of Sipp charges can be a tricky task.

Marriage changes: State pensions will be calculated based on individual working records from 2016, so people will no longer be able to rely on their spouse's record.

Almost two million married retirees receive a state pension top-up based on their partner's work record but this will close to all claimants in 2016. This is Money takes a look at who this will affect.

Can my abusive dad go after my mum’s pension in a divorce?

My mum and dad are separated and living apart now for years. Dad was emotionally abusive and unfaithful to mum for years. She now wants rid of him from her life - through divorce. But she is retired and lives off her pension, plus her state pension. Can my dad potentially make a bid for mum's pension if she were to divorce him? Jacqueline Major (pictured), solicitor and Partner at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, replies.

Mother's will leaves her bungalow to her two sons but states her 76-year-old partner can continue to live there for the rest of his life. Solicitor Karon Walton (pictured) explains the sons' legal duties.

My mother passed away leaving her estate divided equally between myself and my brother. Her live-in partner of some 30 years, who paid her rent of £100 per week, plans to make a claim on the estate.

I understand deductible funeral expenses from an estate can include things like a headstone and refreshments. But do they include flights for family coming to a UK funeral from Australia?

Would giving up work make more sense financially than finding a carer? I would like some advice on how to make this situation work financially.

I want my grandfather's war diaries, but my aunt refuses

On a recent trip to South Africa my mother requested that my aunt give me my grandfather's war diaries. She refused. As far as I know these were not specified in any will. Is she entitled to them because she has power of attorney for my grandmother? Can I make her hand them over because my mother is the oldest and so she should have claim to them?

I've been approached by a financial adviser who says for £3,450 he can create a 'will trust' which will protect my estate from care home costs being taken by the local authority. Is it a scam?

My mother bequeathed specific sums of money to other relatives which exceed the total amount of liquid assets in her bank accounts, but I haven't managed to sell her house to fund the payments yet.

My stepmother is disinheriting us to benefit her children

My father passed away in 2010. His second wife is 85 and still living in the house they bought. My father's half was left to myself and two sisters, possibly grandchildren. Now my father has passed away my stepmother is saying we will not get anything and everything will go to her two adult children. Is there anything we can do?

My mother is 84 years old and is showing early signs of dementia. She has appointed her lawyer with power of attorney. What do you suggest I do?

My father owned a house to which my sister was added as co-owner. She lived there to care for him. His will left his estate split 50/50 between myself and my sister. If she sells up, what would I inherit?

My ex-husband remarried but died without making a new will - who inherits?

My husband and I made joint wills. We are divorced and he remarried three years ago. He has recently passed away and didn't make a will with his new wife. I made no changes to my will and I only have my ex-husband's copy. Is the will valid?

I am currently my mother's only beneficiary but she is considering making my daughter one too. My daughter has married recently - would her husband have a right to half of what she inherited?

My eldest brother wants to see our parents' wills and mine to see what is left to him so he can plan for his future and make sure his children are ok.

My brother-in-law's partner maxed out his cash machine limit before he died

Legal expert Nigel Shepherd, national chair of family law organisation Resolution, explains what a partner can claim from an estate, and how the cash machine withdrawal might affect this case. Shepherd also looks at how to avoid legal costs swallowing up a small estate in disputes like this one.

People who cash in or move pension pots will no longer face rip-off charges after the introduction of a 1% cap next April. But what if you have already paid, or want your pension before next Spring?

My transfer value quoted 12 months ago was just over £115k but the current figure is just under £75k. The administrators will not divulge the assumptions they have used to explain this significant fall in value.

I have Power of Attorney for my mum who is 95 and in a care home. Is it OK for me to sell her house as the tenants renting it have given notice?

My employer is closing its final salary pension scheme to new contributions from all staff still in it and is transferring us to a defined contribution plan.

If I die and my husband remarries, how do I ensure my kids inherit my money?

I want to ensure that if I die before my husband he gets the money, but if he remarried and then died my half would end up with my children not any new spouse or her children. How can I safeguard so that any new wife would not reap the rewards of what we have built up and at some point my children will get something from my estate?

The final salary pension fund at my company is in deficit. The situation has not been helped by the big market falls since the New Year. How worried should I be about this?

I have inherited a pension pot from an elderly relative. I am not sure what to do with it. What are the rules? Pension export David Smith of Tilney Bestinvest explains.

Can I dispute will of a deceased relative preyed on by family member?

He suddenly kept turning up on my relative's doorstep prior to her death after ignoring her for years, redid her will to leave all assets to his own wife and appointed himself executor. By the time family members had been informed of the death, he and his wife had the house cleared out and all family items sent to an auction, and had a fast funeral with no announcement or attendees apart from him and his kids. We have no idea how much the assets were worth but there were valuable paintings, antiques and at least £50,000 in cash. Is this legal and what action can be taken?

Premium Bonds winners

November 2017
Prize value Winning bond No. Area
£1,000,000 235XY200329 Cambridgeshire
£1,000,000 211HV345974 Edinburgh
£100,000 198EC563509 Northamptonshire
£100,000 190PX535493 Essex
£100,000 143VH210000 Essex
£50,000 283XZ475986 Manchester
£50,000 266RE374700 Inner London
£50,000 256ZV188814 Bedfordshire
£50,000 218XH060858 Hereford and Worcester
£50,000 199XP768208 Norfolk
£25,000 48YX923215 Wiltshire
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