Lack of independent legal advice fuels equity release mis-selling

Thousands of retired homeowners could have been mis-sold equity release plans by companies that do not require clients to seek independent legal advice, says Key Retirement Solutions.

KRS says before purchasing an equity release plan, it is vital for consumers to obtain advice from an independent solicitor who is working solely for them. KRS warns companies that do not insist on this may be liable for mis-selling charges in the future.

Colin Taylor, managing director of KRS, says: “Taking out an equity release scheme can bring enormous benefits to people&#39s lives, but it is vital that they have a complete understanding of how it will affect all areas of their life before they proceed.

“Taking legal means other aspects such as estate planning are also considered. When we advise a customer on a particular scheme we insist that two independent solicitors are involved to ensure complete impartiality.”

Claire Belringer, associate solicitor and equity release team manager at Cheltenham-based Rickerbys Solicitors, says: “Clients should consult a solicitor who is familiar with equity release to advise them. This can save weeks or, in some cases, even months from the start of proceedings to obtaining the cheque. Taking out an equity release scheme can also affect other areas, such as will making and entitlement to benefits, so it is vital to consult your solicitor.”