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Real-life equity release stories: Keeping it in the family

Your Life
Thursday 07 November 2019
When Derek and Margaret Smith saw that their family needed financial help, Key, in the shape of adviser Jeff Major, came to their aid
There were a number of factors that led the Smiths to equity release. It’s something that Derek, a retired engineer in his 80s, had investigated on and off over the years. But it was the combination of an MOT, house purchase and a university place that made him and his wife, Margaret, finally go for it.
“Equity release is something we had considered for many years,” Derek told us. We felt now was a good time to look into equity release, at a time when money was needed.”

Why equity release?

That need came from Derek and Margaret’s daughter, Ruth, and their grandchildren Paul and Phoebe. For different reasons, they required some capital which they couldn’t raise themselves. 
Ruth’s car had just scraped through its MOT but was threatening to become a money pit, Paul had bought his first home but had nothing left over to furnish it with and Phoebe had started university. Derek and Margaret saw this as the perfect opportunity to give them a helping hand now, when they needed it most.
Having bought their bungalow more than 40 years beforehand, Lancastrians Derek and Margaret were in a good position from which to consider equity release. And, having looked into a number of companies, they decided to get in touch with Key
“We wanted to go to a company that was totally reliable,” said Mr Smith. “After reading various articles, we decided that Key was probably if not the best, then certainly among the leaders in the field.”

Key’s advice

This was when Key’s Jeff Major became involved. An adviser in north west England for 14 years, he visited the Smiths in their own home. 

“By the time I went to see them, they didn’t have many concerns,” Jeff told us. “The Smiths had done a lot of research before booking an appointment.”

Joining Jeff and the Smiths in their consultations were Ruth and Paul. “Both their daughter and grandson were present throughout our meetings,” said Jeff. “They were very positive about the decision to take out an equity release plan.

“I always make sure my clients have given full consideration to other options, such as downsizing, using existing funds and help from family. In this case they were helping their family. That’s often the case these days.”

What we do for you

“The adviser who visited us was a lovely chap,” Derek told us when asked about the service his family received. “I had a long list of questions I’d prepared; Jeff answered every single one of them and was honest.
“It was obvious Jeff had our best interests at heart. He wasn’t pushy, he didn’t pressure us and he gave us the pitfalls as well as the upsides. I don’t go into things lightly where money is concerned.”

Ruth was also pleased with the service her parents received. “Their adviser was very good,” she said. “Jeff explained everything we needed to know and was with us for quite a while, answering all of dad’s questions. 

“I believe he did receive the right advice. Dad was very impressed. He was doing it so he could help us all at a time when we needed it.

“I didn’t have any concerns. Dad’s really good with money and always has been. He wouldn’t have done it if there were going to be problems. It’s something he looked into and gave a lot of consideration.”

Our advice is centred around you

Making sure that customers are both happy and comfortable is something adviser Jeff Major considers part of the job. 

“They want absolute reassurance,” he said. “I always make it clear that with Equity Release Council approved plans, there’s a no negative equity guarantee, which means you never owe more than the value of your home.

“During consultations, I talk through the costs involved and explain how, with a lifetime mortgage, the interest accrues over the lifetime of the loan. A lot of people look for reassurance, asking questions like ‘Do many people do this now?’ 

“I think many grandparents are concerned about leaving an inheritance for their children and are worried that it’s a selfish act. 

“However, I explain how with some plans you can guarantee an inheritance. And with the money you release now, you can give a living inheritance and see your family enjoy the money when they need it most, just like Derek and Margaret have.”

Helping those most important

With the cash raised and money released, the Smiths have helped daughter Ruth buy a reliable new car, given grandson Paul money to start furnishing his new home and are supporting granddaughter Phoebe, an aspiring actor, through university. 
They have also funded her laser eye surgery, something she’s wanted to get done for a long time. 
Now the family are taken care of, the Smiths clearly have no regrets about the decisions they’ve made. 
“Without a doubt, I would recommend Key,” Derek told us. “From Jeff’s first visit and right through the whole procedure, everything has gone smoothly. We’ve made five people very happy.
“It’s well worth making that initial enquiry. It won’t cost you a penny and there is certainly no arm-twisting to contend with.”
  • Find out if it’s right for you
  • Like Derek and Margaret, see if equity release could be right for you, completely free of charge, by downloading our equity release guide
  • Speak to an expert
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Things to consider

Your specialist equity release adviser will explain:
  • You have to get advice before releasing tax-free cash from your home. Please read all our information and make sure it's right for you
  • A lifetime mortgage, which is a loan secured against your property, is the most popular form of equity release and you’ll retain full ownership of your home
  • All of our plans are approved by the Equity Release Council and come with several protections, including the no negative equity guarantee, which means you’ll never owe more than your home’s value
  • Equity release reduces your estate's value and may affect any means-tested benefits you're eligible for
Page last updated: Monday 15 April 2024