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Equity Release Solicitors: What They Do and Why They’re Essential

In order to qualify for an equity release loan, you must meet with a solicitor to get to grips with the legal side of equity release. This is not a negotiable policy.

For this reason, we want to equip you with all the knowledge you need about the legal side of equity release, so please enjoy our article ‘equity release solicitors: what they do and why they’re essential’.

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Do I Always Need a Solicitor For Equity Release?

Some of our equity release consumers are hesitant to find a solicitor as they believe they can work through the process in a much cheaper and easier way on their own.

While it is true that solicitors will charge fees, we believe it is always worth it to spend your money on a qualified solicitor, as they can perform checks that you cannot do yourself, meaning it is much safer to release equity with the help of a solicitor.

As well as ensuring equity release is as safe as possible and meets legal requirements, equity release solicitors will help with communication between the homeowner and the lender, which comes in handy when you reach significant milestones such as making and accepting offers.

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How Can I Choose the Best Solicitor For Equity Release?

We do not want to recommend a solicitor for you as we are only here to advise you on equity release. However, if you already have a trusted solicitor who helps you with legal issues, we would recommend asking them if they are experienced with equity release, as it could save you a lot of time researching new solicitors in your area.

We always advise that your solicitor is a member of the Equity Release Solicitors Alliance (ERSA) as this confirms they are knowledgeable in equity release, meaning they can approach it in a very safe way.

When Should I Think About Contacting a Solicitor For Equity Release?

You should definitely have a solicitor before a property valuation takes place, as the solicitor usually gets involved at this point, and is subsequently heavily involved until you receive your equity loan.

However, it would be even better to have a solicitor ready before you make your application, as this could speed up the process for you. They also may be able to take charge of any small issues that arise with the application and prevent delays from occurring.

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Can’t My Equity Release Adviser Help With Legal Issues?

Your equity release adviser is there to make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of equity release, and that you are happy with the equity release plan you have chosen. This means they may cover some legal topics, such as inheritance, in your consultations.

However, your adviser is not qualified to discuss legal matters in depth, and they do not have the power to get involved with any legal issues that arise with your application. For this reason, you most certainly need an equity release solicitor alongside your adviser.

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How Much Will it Cost to Have an Equity Release Solicitor?

Different firms will charge different prices, so you need to do your research and ask for quotes before choosing your solicitor.

However, we can advise that the solicitor’s fees for equity release will usually be £1000 or under. This cost includes legal advice, valuation fees, VAT, and various other services depending on your solicitor.

It is sometimes possible to use your equity release loan to pay for these fees, so speak to an equity release adviser if you need to do this.

How Many Solicitors Do I Need For Equity Release?

It is sufficient to have just one equity release solicitor to deal with the equity release process, and your equity release lender will also have a solicitor.

In terms of the size of the solicitor’s firm, it is usually expected that there are 3-4 lawyers working in the firm, but only one of these would need to offer their services to you.

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What is the Role of a Solicitor in the Equity Release Process?

We have briefly explained the role of an equity release solicitor, but we want to do this in more detail to demonstrate the significance of having a solicitor in the equity release process.

1. Opening the Case

When you first start working with an equity release solicitor, one of the first things they will do is open a case for you, which means you will then have a unique reference number for all future correspondence. This is very useful as you will be able to easily contact your solicitor with any concerns about equity release, such as delays in the process.

2. Welcome Pack

Next, your solicitor will provide you with an equity release welcome pack that will tell you all you need to know about how they deal with equity release. This is very useful as you can research as much as you want, but you need to know how your specific solicitor works.

In this welcome pack, you often have to fill in personal details to help the solicitor learn more about your personal situation. This may include your bank details so the solicitor knows where to eventually send the loan, as well as a questionnaire that helps the solicitor to understand your goals with equity release.

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3. Checking the Title Deeds

This involves checking your property to find out about any existing mortgages you may have, any loans that are secured against your property, and the owner of the property.

If you do have an existing mortgage, your solicitor will inform you that it must be paid off before you make an application to an equity release lender.

4. Presenting the Offer

It will often be your solicitor who first informs you of the offer that has been made by an equity release lender, but you may receive your own confirmation.

Either way, the solicitor will come to you with additional legal advice that directly relates to the offer you have received.

5. Signing the Meeting

You will attend a meeting with the solicitor to get further legal advice, and to witness the signing of the lifetime mortgage, as well as to sign it yourself.

6. Performing Identity Checks

The identity checks usually occur at the in-person meeting. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity, which is usually a valid passport or driver’s license. You will also need to provide proof of address.

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7. Requisitions

If your solicitor has any further questions to pose to the lender, they will do this now. Sometimes, this can cause significant delays in the equity release process, but it is a vital component as it ensures you are aware of your role in the process, and you are not being scammed.

Sometimes, no requisitions occur, and in this case, the process will likely be quicker than usual. A quick equity release process would be one that is finalised within less than 8 weeks.

Of course, this is not the official end of the process, as it only finishes when you die, but it is the moment that you will no longer need a solicitor (1).

8. Completion Of the Contract

Finally, the solicitor will request your funds to pay for the completion, and you will be given a date of when you can expect your equity release loan to come in.

If you are using your equity loan to pay for legal fees, it is at this point that your solicitor will deduct your fees from the loan.

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Equity Release Solicitors: What They Do and Why They’re Essential – Get In Touch With Us For Further Information

We know that the role of equity release solicitors can be complicated to understand, so we urge you to get in touch with us if you are left feeling confused about why you need an equity release solicitor.

If you are much earlier in your equity release journey and you still don’t understand how it works, please contact us for a free consultation and we will explain what equity release is, how it works, and what the pros and cons are.

Before your call, we encourage you to explore our website, particularly our free equity release calculator, as this determines your eligibility and tells you how much money you could release from your property.

Our frequently asked questions page is useful if you have concerns about equity release and you want to know the reality of it rather than trusting the myths you may hear from the media or from fellow homeowners (2).

Finally, see our plans page to get an idea of the different schemes that are available all over the UK and even in some other countries. You will see that there are many different types of lifetime mortgages that you can get involved with, as well as home reversions and retirement interest only mortgages.

Overwhelmed by your options? Reach out to one of our advisers and they will simplify it for you.

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[1] Equity Release Solicitors Fees – How Much Will It Cost Me?

[2] Six equity release myths busted

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