QUESTION TIME

Your questions answered by an expert panel from Coopers & Lybrand

I am in Serps (state earnings related pension scheme) and have read that the Government is slicing away at everyone's entitlement. I expect to retire in 1999. How can I find out how much I will get, does it include the old age pension, and will the latest reductions affect me now and/or after I retire?

In order to find out your current entitlement to all forms of state pension, including Serps, you should write to the Department of Social Security in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The basic old age pension is separate from any Serps benefit and is not calculated by reference to your earnings before you retire.

The latest amendments to the way Serps is calculated are likely to affect the benefits of most individuals who have yet to reach the state pension age.

I am thinking of taking out a Home Income Plan. I am told they are now safe. But what happens if I do and go into care? Do I keep my income and do they get my house?

Home Income Plans became somewhat discredited into the late 1980s because of exposure to interest rate rises and the use of unsuitable investments. In theory they generate cash by taking out a mortgage on the property and using the capital thus raised to purchase an annuity. They should not be ruled out but extreme care is required.

In general the income from such plans would be treated like that from any other investment when considering your entitlement to benefits in respect of care fees.

A lot of the smaller, less well known, building societies seem to give better mortgage deals. Is it more risky to take out mortgages with them and is that why the rates they give are better?

It is true that some of the smaller building societies are among those that offer more attractive rates of interest on mortgages or special deals.

The main risk of taking out a mortgage is that the society's rate might become uncompetitive.

When looking at special deals on mortgages it is very important to establish whether there are penalties for early redemption or transfer to another society.

If a society were to go out of business, it is likely that another institution would step in to take over its mortgage book.

My husband and I had a joint account with Halifax Building Society for many years with an average investment of pounds 20,000. My husband died last month and I have been told by the local branch that since he was the first named holder and died before the date of the merger with the Leeds I would not be entitled to the share issue due to investors on the merger.

This does not seem fair as we contributed jointly to the account.

The Halifax says that where there is a joint share account, the person who is named first in their records of the account has, by law, the right to vote on whether the combined company should become a limited company. Any benefits which may be available on conversion to a PLC would also, by law, go to the person who is named first in our records. The law concerned is the Building Societies Act (Joint Account Holders).

The Halifax does say, however, that it is trying to get the best deal possible for special cases, within the constraints of legislation, and is searching for ways of benefiting such cases through the conversion. It has no new answers yet, but will contact these people when it does.

For queries to do with the merger, call 0800 888844.

News
David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Arts and Entertainment
art
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Finacial products from our partners
Property search

Leaving money to charity in your will could help reduce the tax bill for your loved ones

Next week has been designated "remember a charity in your will week", to put the focus squarely on the subject

Two million first-time buyers are locked out

The drought in lending to people with low deposits has created legions of frustrated buyers, writes Emma Lunn
Money is slipping through our fingers: the UK is falling behind other countries in the amount we put away

How to save money: UK is crashing down the European league table for putting money away

The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options

Energy firms found guilty of bad practice could have licences revoked under Labour government

Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator

A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university

Fresh from A-level delight, the moment does not have to be soured by students resigning themselves to thousands of pounds worth of debt in three years' time. Rob Griffin sees how to pass the university challenge

'Dismal' eurozone data sparks concerns

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi is under pressure to launch promised stimulus before the EU slides further
Love but not marriage: property is one area where cohabiting couples are in danger of losing out

How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting

People who simply live together cannot assume they have the same rights to each other's assets as spouses or civil partners. Michelle McGagh sees how they can protect their financial interests

India could be jewel in the crown for investors

With a new government and an ambitious prime minister, the country offers the prospect of strong returns. But there may be hiccups ahead, warns Simon Read
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories