Asset rich, cash poor - Albert Goodman - Chartered Accountants

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Asset rich, cash poor

An elderly couple were referred to us by their son. They lived in a large and potentially valuable house. Like many in later life, they were ‘asset rich and cash poor’ and finding it increasingly difficult to get by. The house was in need of some repairs and they were also in need of home help, but were unlikely to have this funded by the local authority. They were adamant that they did not wish to move from the property and none of their family were able to support them financially.

We identified that they should be eligible for the lower level of Attendance Allowance, which they were not claiming, and arranged for this to be done. We also encouraged them to have their home insulated for free – greatly reducing their heating bills and discussed with them, at their request, the benefits (and drawbacks) of equity release.

We discussed all of the possible alternatives with them and advised them that, whilst equity release would provide them with finance they needed it is not always the ‘cheapest’ form of borrowing money – and it would reduce the estate that their children would inherit.

Over a family discussion, the children made it plain that their parents’ needs superseded all other priorities. We arranged for them to release a lump sum of £15,000 to fund the house repairs and a regular income to meet their immediate needs. Minimising the amount withdrawn like this will significantly reduce the interest the clients will pay, thereby preserving the value of their estates as far as possible.

The arrangement has also created an option for them to withdraw further amounts of capital in future should this ever be required. The money has made a massive difference to their quality of life and peace of mind – and the couple have had some very necessary work carried out on their home and recently enjoyed their first holiday for three years.

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