Compulsory In-Person Legal Advice for Equity Release Returns

In-Person Legal Advice for Equity Release is a MUST Post-COVID. What You Need to Know.
Contributors: Nicola Date, Katherine Read. Edited by Rachel Wait & Reviewed by Francis Hui
Do You Need In-Person Legal Advice Before Taking Out an Equity Release Plan? Find Out if It’s Compulsary & How It Affects You. Keep Reading.

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Have you heard – compulsory in-person legal advice has returned for equity release?

Before taking up an equity release plan, homeowners must now have at least one face-to-face discussion with a solicitor.

The Equity Release Council, which supervises the later-life mortgage sector, enforces new restrictions with immediate effect.

The face-to-face requirement was imposed in 2013 but was briefly suspended during the epidemic due to social alienation.

Existing cases that are already in progress and have made advantage of this interim adjustment must now be finished by July 31.

To be approved, all new cases starting today must have an element of in-person legal guidance.

“Independent legal counsel is one of the distinctive differentiating elements that sets equity release apart from other retail financial services when it comes to client safeguards and protections,”

said Claire Barker, CEO of Equilaw1 and non-executive director of the Equity Release Council2.

However, she noted that technology would continue to play a part in the equity release process.

“While face-to-face legal counsel remains the gold standard,” Claire added, “many uses of technology during the pandemic can continue to benefit customers in the long run,”

“A good example of this is financial advisers using video conferencing to bring family members into conversations about releasing equity or solicitors using online case trackers to liaise with clients.”

Common Questions

In Conclusion

This requirement signals the end of a temporary change to the Council’s rules and advice that allowed cases to be completed remotely without an in-person contact with a solicitor.

As well as the return to the Council’s pre-covid regulations.

With compulsory in-person legal advice returning for equity release perhaps the world is finally going back to normal?

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