Confusion over why bereaved savers aren’t taking tax break

Neil MacGillivray, head of technical support at James Hay, said: “For individuals, who are not advised, it could be a case that they are simply not aware of the availability of the APS or how it actually works.

"For example the ability to make use of the APS does not have to relate to the need to transfer the cash or stocks and shares from the deceased’s Isa to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

"One of the questions raised with me recently was where the deceased had created and left his full estate to an immediate post death interest trust in his will. It came as a surprise to the surviving spouse that she could still use all, or part of the APS generated by her late husband when funding an Isa from her own savings."

The providers that FTAdviser spoke to on the subject confirmed they don’t request acknowledgement of receipt from the surviving spouse, but do distribute reminders.

Charles Stanley’s Mr Morgan, said: “We play it by ear in terms of follow up. 

“We can’t give advice to people to take up this allowance, but should someone call to discuss the options, we would take the chance to mention it again.”

Andy Parsons, head of investments and product proposition at The Share Centre, confirmed full information regarding the APS value and process was given in writing by The Share Centre.

He said: “Upon return of the death certificate, full information regarding the account is sent.

“This details all the options available and highlights the APS. If we receive a telephone call and there is a surviving spouse / civil partner, the APS option will be verbally promoted.”

Mr Parsons added: “We follow up all new notifications of death after one year.

“We request receipt of the executor(s) signed instructions and sight of the sealed grant of probate.

“We often find executors will contact us once the grant of probate has been obtained, which grants us another opportunity to promote the APS option.”

Alistair Wilson, head of retail platform strategy at Zurich, admitted it’s not clear what’s stopping some savers from taking advantage of the allowance. 

He said: “Consumers might be baffled by the rules, or simply unaware of them.  Not all providers are obliged to accept a transfer of an APS allowance, which might also be a barrier holding savers back.”

Nucleus, Novia, Fidelity and Aberdeen Standard were also contacted for comment on their approach to APS.

Jenny Turton is a freelance journalist