Equity Release and Lifetime Mortgages

Our residential property solicitors specialise in equity release and lifetime mortgages and can help you make an informed decision.

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Equity Release and Lifetime Mortgages

Expert legal guidance from Equity Release Council affiliated lawyers

Equity release and lifetime mortgages can be an excellent way for older homeowners to unlock the value in their property or downsize to a home that better suits their needs, but you will need specialist legal advice.

Our residential property solicitors can assist in the legal aspects of equity release, including lifetime mortgages, and can help you make sure they are the right decision for your goals and unique situation.

There are several reasons people consider equity release as they get older. It can release money for home improvements, to fund retirement plans or to consolidate debts, for example. However, more and more people are using equity release products like lifetime mortgages for downsizing to a more suitable property.

It is worth bearing in mind that key financial decisions involving equity release involve careful consideration to avoid placing you and your family at risk and we recommend seeking legal advice at an early stage. 

The right time to consult us is after an independent financial advisor has recommended an equity release product to you. Make sure your advisor specialises in equity release products and is themselves regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

All equity release products are also regulated by the FCA and there are two main types: a lifetime mortgage and a home reversion plan. Each one has different age limits, different features and implications for your beneficiaries.

As members of the Equity Release Council, the UK’s industry body, we are expertly placed to guide you in determining whether equity release is right for you and what it might mean for your tax position or state benefits.

Our residential property solicitors have considerable knowledge of the property market in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and the south-east of England. We will work closely with you to understand your objectives, arrange a professional valuation of your home and help you assess if other alternatives like downsizing might be a more favourable option.

If you are considering equity release as part of your estate and inheritance planning, we can also provide comprehensive additional advice on wills and lasting powers of attorney.

Please find some answers to frequently asked questions below. There is also a wealth of information about equity release on the Equity Release Council’s website.

If you would like to talk to a legal expert about the potential risks, rewards and obligations of this important decision, please contact the one of our specialist team at St Albans, Harpenden or Luton.


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FAQs

Answers to your questions about equity release and lifetime mortgages

What is equity release?

Equity release, also known as lifetime mortgage refers to a range of financial products enabling older homeowners to release capital from their home without having to sell it.

Some people take equity release to carry out home improvements, consolidate debts, increase their retirement income, and help children or grandchildren. Others use it for downsizing to a more suitable home.

Different products have different features, and the money could be taken as a lump sum, over several smaller amounts, or as a combination of both.

Due to the potential risks, rewards and obligations which need to be considered, equity release is not suitable, or available, for everyone and it is obligatory to seek legal advice before you go ahead.

You should also always seek advice from an FCA-accredited independent financial adviser who specialises in equity release products.

When should I instruct a solicitor?

You may need the assistance of a solicitor in advance of committing to an equity release product to conduct title checks and initial investigations. Please contact us as early as possible if you are considering equity release.

Who is eligible for equity release?

Equity release is usually aimed at people aged over 55 who own a home which is worth considerably more than any outstanding mortgage or other loans taken against it.

All equity release products are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and homeowners should seek advice from an independent financial advisor that is regulated by the FCA and that specialises in equity release.

Why do I need a solicitor?

If you decide to take out either a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan, then it is a requirement that you obtain independent legal advice. A solicitor is required to provide guidance about the risks, rewards and obligations. 

We will:

  • Verify that you meet all the eligibility requirements
  • Find out the value of your home
  • Check how the money may affect your tax position
  • Speak to family members and beneficiaries of your estate
  • Assess the suitability of other options for meeting your goals, such as downsizing.

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