Cornwall LivingIssue #69

Retirement freedom

When it comes to Equity Release it’s important to take specialist advice. We spoke to Harris Begley Financial Planning about the options available.

When it comes to Equity Release it’s important to take specialist advice. We spoke to Harris Begley Financial Planning about the options available.To fully understand what Equity Release may offer, you should take advice, from a mortgage advisor, a solicitor, and perhaps your accountant too if you have one. As you weigh up the pros and cons, you can take comfort from the fact that advisors who cover this area, such as Harris Begley Financial Planning has secured additional qualifications in the area and is also a member of the Equity Release Council ensuring there are a number of customer controls in place. In addition, Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion Plans are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Considering your options

By consulting a mortgage advisor they will identify the options available to you and, if you want to proceed, undertake a lot of the legwork. As part of the initial process, they would discuss alternative options with you – such as down-sizing your home. Or should you prefer to remain in your current home, then the amount you may need to borrow could be reduced if you’re prepared, for example, to take in a lodger. Elsewhere, they would assess if Equity Release might impact upon your existing (or available) state benefits and grants, if these are means-tested. Another consideration would be any long-held investments, or a small pension from a past employer that you may have misplaced or forgotten about. It makes sense to ensure that you’re fully up-to-date in this respect.

Family considerations

Whilst it’s your home, it’s also possibly your family’s future inheritance. In some cases, the inheritance might be very important to them, although a number of borrowers do use funds to help their family now – when they may possibly need it (and when the borrower is around to see family members benefit) – rather than it being passed on after death. Conversely, some family members take the view that it’s your money, and that you should be the one that benefits from it.

The structure of the plan

With new ‘household name’ lenders entering the marketplace there’s now more competition, and with that comes increased product innovation. This delivers greater flexibility for your advisor to tailor a plan that best meets your needs, such as:

– Pay off (or don’t pay off) any interest on your loan – and possibly some capital too

– Opt for lump-sum, or perhaps decide to draw down funds, only when required

– Consider a plan that may offer enhanced benefits, should you suffer from ill-health, or a poor lifestyle.

Understandably, this is a complex area, but one where a specialist can such as Harris Begley Financial Planning can help, so it’s worth getting in touch to find out more.