Falmouth-based Coodes Solicitors is the first law firm in Cornwall to become a member of the Equity Release Council.

Sometimes called ‘lifetime mortgages’, equity release products allow homeowners aged 55 and over to tap into the value of their property and access what is often the most valuable asset they have. Equity release products can make cash available either as a lump sum or in the form of regular payments which many use a way to boost retirement income.

The Equity Release Council is the representative trade body for the sector with over 200 member firms and 720 individuals registered, including providers, regulated financial advisers, solicitors, surveyors and other professionals. To become a member, Coodes signed up to the council’s statement of principles, committing to act in the best interest of clients, and demonstrating professionalism, integrity and transparency.

Securing an equity release mortgage involves a more complex process than obtaining a standard mortgage. An important requirement is that the customers must have a face-to-face consultation with a qualified lawyer, whose role is to ensure they understand the product, the legal obligations and the contract into which they are entering.

Maria Richards, head of the equity release specialist team at Coodes Solicitors, said: “The take up of equity release mortgages has soared, with 2017 being a record year. For some people, these loans can fund day-to-day living costs and allow them to enjoy retirement to the full.

“Advising on equity release is a specialist area, so Coodes has developed a team of lawyers with the expertise to advise on and help people secure these mortgages. Becoming an Equity Release Council Member is an important next step for the team and gives clients that assurance that we can offer the very best service."