Law firms struggling with financial solutions for widows

Law firms are increasingly struggling to find financial solutions for widows facing money problems after a partner’s death, new research* from equity release referral service Key Partnerships shows.

  • Probate complications and financial mismanagement are the main causes of money problems after death of a partner
  • Nearly half (47%) of law firms report a rise in inquiries for advice on tackling cash flow problems during probate
  • 57% of law firms regularly deal with client cash worries after deaths
  • 44% unaware of equity release as an alternative to downsizing

Its study shows nearly six out of 10 (57%) law firms regularly help widows facing financial problems with complications in probate, one of the main causes cited by 60% of solicitors, second only to financial mismanagement by their late partner.

Nearly half of solicitors (47%) have seen an increase in demand for advice on how to tackle financial problems following the death of a spouse in the past year, Key’s research found. The increasing concern about general financial support is highlighting the need for more solutions as solicitors report that more than two out of three widows (68%) do not want to sell their home or downsize. Around two out of five (37%) are concerned about the stress of moving.

That is turning the spotlight on equity release to help widows access property wealth – around 33% of solicitors will suggest equity release and 28% reference it as an alternative to downsizing. However 44% of solicitors admit they are unaware that equity release is an alternative to downsizing. Key offers referral fees of on average £1,450 on the completion of equity release loans for introducers. So there is a good incentive already in place for solicitors to see the bigger picture when looking for solutions at this difficult time for their clients.

A major issue is that solicitors are concerned they do not have enough training – 67% say they would benefit from information on using equity release to help with post death financial challenges while 47% say they would benefit from knowledge on how it can be used for buying a new property. The research found around 36% of law firms never or almost never signpost equity release and 64% admit they are not trained to offer any guidance on the subject.

Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “Having to sell the family home straight after the death of a partner is a huge wrench for many with the result they end up facing financial hardship with no real solution. Many want to stay in their home but fail to make best use of their major asset, their property, which could help sort finances for the long-term. Equity release enables widows to remain in the home while allowing property wealth to be used for short-term and long-term planning and is a growing alternative for easing cash flow problems.”

Key Partnerships is a B2B referral service providing a whole of market equity release solution for introducers and their clients, through parent company Key Retirement; leading specialist provider of financial solutions to the over 55’s. It also provides training and support to those for whom equity release may prove a financial solution to their clients. Over 7,000 introducers encompassing IFAs, mortgage brokers, accountants, solicitors and estate agents are registered to refer business to Key Partnerships. In return for the referral, introducers earn on average £1,450 on completion of the loan.

This article was submitted to be published by Key Partnerships as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.

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