How to trace lost accounts and investments to avoid your money going to charity
Billions left in forgotten accounts go to charity – How to trace lost accounts and investments
A recent report explains how the UK government is planning to expand its dormant accounts scheme to include some pensions, shares, and bonds, and take our money and donate billions of pounds to charity, according to Hargreaves Lansdowne.
The scheme will eventually mirror the dormant account scheme where the provider hasn’t been able to get in touch with the investor for at least 12 years, and there’s been no activity on the account. If you hold only cash in your account then after six years it will be considered dormant.
Banks and insurance company’s charges and fees will not be dormant, but your account will be considered dormant!
Your money could be taken and “allocated” to good causes by the National Lottery Community Fund. However, the current dormant accounts scheme gives people the right to reclaim their money at any time in the future.
The dormant accounts scheme has been running since 2011, and £1.2 billion in so-called dormant bank and building society accounts has been earmarked for charity.
3 steps to help avoid losing your accounts
- Simplify your investments – It’s easier to track things if you don’t have multiple pensions, investments, and savings accounts in different places. Consider consolidating them with a single service, without losing any valuable benefits, subject to the government deposit protection limit of £85,000. As always, take independent financial advice.
- Record and inform family members – Record and create an asset register (or just a simple list on a spreadsheet or on paper) listing what you have, and where your accounts are. Keep this securely with your Will (which can be kept with a Solicitor or the executors of your estate) so nothing goes missing after you have left this earth. You should also talk to your close family about savings and investments, which also involves them in the investment decisions.
- Review – Review your finances at least once a year and update your assets register. This is a good way of reviewing interest rates and investment performance.
Listen to my Money Tips podcast The 3 R’s of Money Management, tow of which are ‘Review’ and ‘Record’, on iTunes or Stitcher.
How to find lost accounts and investments
If you had an employer, workplace pension, you’ll need the name of the employer or the scheme and the dates you worked there. Contact the employer and requestor contact details of the administrator. For insurance company personal pensions, try to find any old paperwork to give you an idea of where your money is.
If you can’t find your old employer or any paperwork don’t panic! You can use the UK government’s Pension Tracing Service. It will search over 200,000 schemes and supply contact details of companies you might have a pension with. You can then call the company concerned and get them to unearth your forgotten pots. You can also Google or follow this link – https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details
You should take independent advice on what to do with bibs and bobs of pensions and investments, which can be eaten up by charges and fees.
You can also try the Unclaimed Assets Register. A fee based service run by Experian, which allows you search the records of around 75 different providers including investment firms and pension companies, so it could save you some legwork.
Child Trust Funds
You can find your child’s CTF through the Government Gateway service.
For tracing old insurance policies, try the ABI or Association of British Insurers or similar organisations in your country.