Lifetime Mortgages BristolFAQs
Equity Release is probably one of the most regulated financial products and there are many safeguards, that have been in place for many years, which often fail to be reported by the press. Homeowners are eligible for equity release if they are at least age 55 (this is the youngest age possible if a couple) and the property value is at least £70,000.
There are many circumstances where Equity Release can help with personal financial planning, including wider ‘family’ planning; for example assisting children on to the property ladder or gifts for inheritance tax planning. However, the ‘most advantageous’ circumstances are, perhaps, where insufficient financial provision has been made for retirement, whether in relation to income or capital needs. The latter often includes the need for home improvements, but commonly also for lifestyle reasons, e.g. holidays, new car, upsizing etc, the cost of which would otherwise be prohibitive. At the end of the day it will depend on the circumstances and all personal and financial details need to be taken into consideration in order to arrive at an appropriate recommendation.
There are obviously family issues to consider – do you advise holding a family discussion to ensure that everyone who may be affected is aware of the implications?
It is always recommended that the family are involved in the advice process and, in particular, the importance of making them aware of the likely reduction in a potential inheritance is emphasised. In view of this it often helps greatly if the family are included in meetings, which should be encouraged. In fact, in many cases, the family initiates the equity release enquiry; older generations often, understandably, being reluctant to borrow to improve their lifestyle. If there is no family then it is recommended that a personal friend or trusted neighbour attends, particularly if the client is ‘on their own’.
When people first come to an advisor what is the process and how long does it take?
A first meeting is held, without fee or obligation, to explain what equity release is, the risks and cost involved, and to explore whether there are other options in the circumstances which might be more appropriate. After this conversation, if equity release is still of interest, detailed information is gathered to allow specific ‘whole of market’ research to be carried out. A second meeting would then be arranged to discuss and, if appropriate, present a detailed recommendation, with completion of an application to the lender chosen. The timescale from application to completion varies but it is commonly around 6-8 weeks.
What is the one piece of advice that might be given to someone considering Equity Release?
Always seek advice from a regulated, independent, equity release specialist, ideally one who is a member of the Equity Release Council and subscribes to their ‘Statement of Principles’. For Lifetime Mortgages Bristol please visit our contact us page and get in touch today!