Posted January 21st, 2011
The lifetime allowance is back in the news and will from April 2012 reduce from £1.8m to £1.5m.
But how does the lifetime allowance work in the context of divorce and pension sharing? In particular, how does it affect pension credits and pension debits now? And how will this reduction affect pension sharing orders going forward?
Where a pension credit is awarded this becomes an asset of the new owner and will form part of their overall pension entitlement which (at some point in the future) will be tested against their lifetime allowance.
Therefore, it is advisable to check (in high value cases) to see if the amount of the credit will take them over the lifetime allowance. If it will, then they may want to consider an alternative strategy or reduce the amount of the pension share.
A pension debit does not count towards the lifetime allowance of the member whose pension was shared. This means it is only the benefits that they actually receive that will be tested against the lifetime allowance.
If already in payment, the ex-spouse can apply for an increase in their standard lifetime allowance as the pension has already been tested against the lifetime allowance. The increase factor is found by dividing the pension credit by the standard lifetime allowance in force when the pension sharing order is made.
Where a debit arises then rebuilding of lost pension may be advisable.
Future Pension Sharing Orders
With a reducing lifetime allowance it will be even more important to make checks before proceeding. The limit will be lower and therefore, potentially more people will be affected.
If this issue affects you or your client, please contact us on 0800 092 1229 or email email@example.com