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Frequently Asked Questions

This guide is not meant to be a substitute for the personal advice that we will give you on your transaction, but it is intended to give you an insight into the people that will deal with your matter, the service that we offer, and hopefully answer any questions that you may have about the legal aspects of equity release and lifetime mortgage products. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries that remain unanswered.

Do I need a Solicitor?

Yes - once you have decided with your financial adviser that you wish to proceed with an equity release, or lifetime mortgage product, you will need to appoint a specialist legal adviser who will act on your behalf. Your solicitor will need to be someone who can advise you independently and outline the nature, effects and implications of the equity release or lifetime mortgage product that you have chosen. It is important that you receive advice from a solicitor who is experienced in this particular type of product and that they can guide and advise you on the scheme from start to finish.

Will I have to see my Solicitor?

Yes - it is always a condition of an equity release or lifetime mortgage scheme that you will need to see your solicitor so that they can go through your offer, outline to you all of the terms and conditions of the scheme, and how it will affect your property, your finances and the potential impact on your assets.

When does the Solicitor become involved?

You can provide documentation to us in advance of your equity release or lifetime mortgage offer being issued, including identification documents, buildings insurance information and, if you already own your home, the information on the legal title. If you are buying the home, then we will become more involved, including carrying out searches, raising enquiries and dealing with contract documentation. Once your equity release or lifetime mortgage offer has been issued by your provider - where they have separate representation, we will advise you on the offer, go through all of the terms and conditions, explain the terms of the offer and legal aspects of it and, if you are content to proceed, advise you on signing the documentation.

Will the Solicitor be expensive?

We will give you a competitive fixed cost quotation at the outset of your transaction so that you are aware of all costs involved before we carry out any work on your behalf. If you are happy to go ahead then we will take a payment on account of our costs, with the balance being payable on completion of the matter. At the time that you pay the sum requested on account, we will ask you to produce identification and buildings insurance information.

Can I just use a Solicitor and not worry about a financial adviser?

No - you will need to take independent financial advice and we advise you to use a financial adviser who specialises in equity release or lifetime mortgage products.

A skilled independent financial adviser will guide you on the best products that are available, and the ones that are most suitable for you. Because the schemes are quite involved, you will need expert independent financial advice. They will make a detailed assessment of your circumstances to ensure whether an equity release plan is a suitable option for you, and if so what plan is the best for your circumstances. We will then offer you advice and guidance on the legal aspects of your chosen plan.

Is there anyone else I should talk to?

Once you have seen your financial adviser, you should ensure that you discuss the equity release plan or lifetime mortgage with your family. Releasing capital from your home may impact your overall assets and affect the inheritance of your family. The value of your estate is likely to be reduced as the equity release or lifetime mortgage will need to be repaid from your estate, usually by selling your home. It makes sense to discuss this with your family at the very outset to avoid any misunderstanding or concerns in the future.

An equity release plan can also affect your entitlement to benefits, either now, or in the future. Before you decide whether or not to proceed with an equity release or lifetime mortgage product, you should check with the Department of Social Security or your Local Authority about whether the specific product that you have decided to take might affect your entitlement to benefits.

What can I expect from Martin Tolhurst?

We will provide you with a clear fixed cost quotation at the beginning of the transaction in order for you to decide whether or not to proceed with our services. If you do wish to proceed, then we will require a payment on account of costs (usually £400 which is non-refundable) so that we can get your file opened and start work straight away.

At the outset, we will confirm which of the partners of Martin Tolhurst will deal with your matter, and we will provide you with contact telephone numbers, email address, and details of the office from which the matter will be dealt with.

We will update you throughout the transaction and keep you advised as to the progress. We will need to provide lots of information and documentation to any solicitors who may be appointed by the lender of the equity release or lifetime mortgage product. We are used to dealing with these solicitors who act purely on behalf of the lender. We will provide them with all documentation that is required in a timely fashion. We will need you to provide us with appropriate documents and information during the transaction so please do so promptly when requested.

We will ensure that your matter remains confidential and we will provide you with independent personal advice at all times. We are independent from the lender and the financial adviser and will only act in your best interests at all times. You are free to ask us any questions about any aspect of the transaction or the product.