Clough & Willis Solicitors, Commercial and private legal services UK

Equity Release - Is it Right For You?

Many retired people manage on small pensions and limited savings but live in properties which, even with the recent house price falls, have soared in value.

An Equity Release scheme is open to homeowners over the age of 55 years.  It will allow you to remain in your home by generating an income or a lump sum from the property.

The Equity Release plan will be secured against your property.  No monthly repayments are required during the term of the plan. It will be repaid on your death or if you enter long term care or sheltered accommodation.

In my experience people have found that Equity Release can be a great way of generating capital from their home during retirement. It allows them more flexibility to enjoy retirement and do things they might normally be unable to afford.

Equity Release may not be a solution for everybody.  However, in some instances it can be life changing.

Advantages of Equity Release Schemes

  • It allows you to release your money locked up in your home for home improvements, weddings, holidays etc or to pay off existing personal debts.
  • It allows you stay in your home whilst having access to your money.
  • It is a way of paying off your existing mortgage.
  • It could possibly reduce your inheritance tax bill by reducing the value of your estate on your death.
  • No repayments are required until your home is eventually sold when you die or move into long term care.
  • A majority of plans have a "no negative equity" guarantee.

Before deciding to take out an Equity Release Plan you MUST first obtain the appropriate independent financial advice to ensure it is suitable for you. 

I have set out below some basic information on the two types of schemes, although this is not a substitute for independent financial advice.  

Lifetime Mortgages - the most popular method of releasing cash against your property. It is a loan which enables you to release money which is tied up in your home in the form of a cash lump sum. No repayments are required during the loan and it is paid off when your home is sold, or when you enter into long term care or at the time of your death.

Home reversion plans This involves selling a percentage of your home and being granted a lifetime Lease allowing you to remain in your property rent free for the rest of your life and in turn you will receive a tax free cash lump sum. When the property is sold at the time of your death the proceeds of the sale are divided between the plan provider and your estate in the percentage that each party owns.

A solicitors role in Equity Release

A solicitor cannot give you financial advice.  However, I will help you understand the legal aspects of the plan and deal with the legal requirements.

I am an expert in equity release and will ensure the process is made simple and stress free.  

Before you decide to release equity from your home you must understand that;

  • Your eligibility for means tested benefits may be affected
  • It will reduce your estate on your death and therefore you may wish to discuss it with your family before proceeding. (Depending on the size and length of your loan the entire equity in your property may be exhausted).
  • Early repayment charges may apply if the loan is repaid early.

I have a personal approach to providing advice and with experience in Equity Release. I will discuss the documents with you before signing. For more information about equity release contact me, Lorraine Stratton-Webb on freephone 0800 083 0815 or email  lorraine.webb@clough-willis.co.uk.  

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