Most people would rather maximise their income than leave an inheritance from their pensions, according to research.

Only 32% of working adults questioned said they would consider having a lower pension or a plan that would not last for a lifetime if it meant they could leave some of their pension fund to their heirs when they died.

In the study, completed by MetLife Europe, 60% of people said they would rather use the money to buy an annuity that will give them a yearly income for the rest of their life - despite this meaning that they would be unable to leave an inheritance from their pension fund.

Government plans could soon stop people using their retirement funds too quickly and becoming a burden on the state. However, in addition legislation making people buy an annuity by the time they are 75 could be scrapped.

It is also consulting on what the tax treatment should be for money that has been saved in a pension fund, and benefited from tax relief, but is not used during the person's life, to ensure pension funds do not become a "tax privileged" way of passing on wealth.

Dominic Grinstead, managing director at MetLife's UK branch, said: 'Savers are increasingly demanding more from retirement income options and it is clearly important to many to leave an inheritance.

'Annuitisation will always be the choice of the majority who have received only basic tax relief on their pension contributions and want as much income as possible.

'There is a major role for alternative products and the industry and the Treasury need to look at encouraging other options, potentially including longevity insurance.'