Some 8 in 10 (80%) equity release advisers feel there is a need for family members to be involved in the advice process – but half said clients are reluctant to do so, more 2 life has found.
The majority of advisers (82%) also believe that relatives who are involved in the advice journey are glad that their family members are improving their lifestyle by unlocking the wealth tied up in their homes, highlighting a positive perception of equity release.
Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director at more 2 life, said: “Our research highlights the important role which families can play in supporting older relatives during their equity release journey.
“It is encouraging to see that when families are involved in the equity release process the vast majority feel positive about the benefits of equity release and how it can help their older family members improve their standard of living.
“Not only are those families who are involved in their relatives’ decisions more supportive of their choices but ultimately less likely to raise a complaint when the products are eventually redeemed.
“This is hugely significant for the industry as we work very hard to maintain high standards of product innovation and advice so it is extremely frustrating when someone complains as they didn’t realise their parents had used equity release to access the value of their home.
“While it is natural for us to look at educating potential customers, as an industry we also need to consider raising awareness amongst the younger generations as they can have a material impact on their parents’ choices.”
Three-quarters (75%) of advisers said that family members involved in the advice process are engaged with the equity release journey and ask several follow up questions to have a better understanding of the product.
This desire to understand the transaction and its implications has wider benefits, as 71% of advisers believe that involving the wider family in the advice process could mean fewer complaints about equity release.
For clients who decided not to involve their families, a significant majority (84%) said they felt there was no reason to include them as they were capable of making their own financial decisions.
Over half (53%) of advisers also said the reason their clients hadn’t told their families they were considering equity release is because they were struggling financially and were too proud to tell their relatives.
Just under half (47%) said some clients believe they have already provided their family with enough financial help and don’t want them to feel they are owed more.
Furthermore 59% of advisers said that family members who were involved in the equity release advice process expressed an interest in how equity release might benefit them.