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Law firms under pressure to give property advice as over-50s divorce climbs

  • 19/10/2016
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Law firms under pressure to give property advice as over-50s divorce climbs
One in three law firms feel under pressure to give advice on property finance which goes beyond their core expertise, as divorce rates among the over-50s rises.

Recent government data showed that over-50s are the only age group to see a rise in divorce rates over the past 10 years. Research published by Key Partnerships found a surge in the need for property advice among this demographic who are looking for help in accessing cash or loans for a new home.

Nearly 32,000 over-55s are divorced each year, making up almost a quarter of the 126,700 divorces across the UK.

Some 44% of 103 solicitors polled in August reported a surge in divorcees over the age of 50 looking for advice on buying homes. Two-thirds of firms cited equity release as a way clients could access property wealth, but say they are only able to suggest it in a third of cases they deal with.

According to Key Partnerships, 70% of law firms refer clients asking about mortgages to specific advisers, while 11% have a panel of mortgage providers they work with. However, 78% of firms questioned said their business would benefit from a stronger relationship with equity release advisers.

Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “Equity release enables one partner to remain in the home while allowing property wealth to be shared and is a growing alternative for settling property issues at divorce. Equity release can also be used to boost funds available for a new purchase by releasing money on the new home.”

He added: “Splitting assets on divorce is challenging enough but for the over-50s there is the additional pressure of having to fund a new home when mortgage lenders are reluctant to help older borrowers.

“There is a growing demand for solutions which enable clients to buy a new home after divorce and law firms are coming under pressure to provide advice on an area that is not necessarily their core expertise.”

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