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Silver splitters

How Do Silver Splitters Divide Wealth?

The Increase in Older Divorcees Makes for Financial Complications

More over 60s are deciding to divorce than ever. This can lead to headaches and complexities when it comes to agreeing on the division of wealth.

Since the turn of the millennium the number of divorces has seen an 18 percent drop. Experts are keen to come up with a variety of reasons for this, ranging from fewer people getting married in the first place to the fact that so many living together for years before marriage, means there are fewer instances of “marry in haste, repent at leisure.”

There is, however, one demographic that is bucking this trend. The number of over 60s deciding to get divorced has risen dramatically over the same period. In 2000, approximately 6,400 men and 3,600 women over 60 got divorced. In 2013, this had gone up to almost 10,000 men and 6,200 women.

According to one of the best divorce lawyers, this rising trend in silver splitters can create greater degrees of complexity than those who divorce earlier in life. While the pain of dealing with issues such as custody and access of children is unlikely to arise, the financial side can be much more difficult to thrash out.

What are the problems?

Times are difficult enough for retirees. Pension funds are in crisis, other investments are struggling, and many are having to continue working later in life to make ends meet. To attempt to find a way of splitting resources that are already so severely limited can turn into an endeavour reminiscent of feeding the 5,000.

Where there are limited assets by way of savings, there can be genuine concerns that there will not be enough to go round, and either or both parties will have to return to work. But there is a potential solution – by the time they reach their 60s, most couples have paid off their mortgage, meaning there is plenty of equity tied up in the matrimonial home.

This does not necessarily mean selling up and splitting the proceeds, although that is certainly an option. But if one party wishes to stay in the home, another possibility is to use equity release via a lifetime mortgage to pay out their share.

How does it work?

This form of equity release is an option that is available if both parties are over 55. It allows the party who is remaining in the house to release equity from the value of the property. No monthly repayments need to be made while the party is still living in the former matrimonial home. Repayment of the principal amount plus interest only becomes due when the person either dies or goes into long term care. Typically, this will be financed by the sale of the property.

Any downsides?

Naturally, releasing equity from your property means you will leave a smaller inheritance for your family. Also, be sure to take independent financial advice before you sign anything.

Equity release schemes like these are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and you will also be protected by a “no negative equity” guarantee. So even if the bottom falls out of the housing market, there should be no risk of your loved ones being left in debt.

tenancy agerement

A Renter’s Guide To Getting Your Bond Back

Securing your deposit: 6 tips for tenants

From cleaning the carpets to weeding the garden, there are a number of steps a landlord expects you to take to help ensure you get your security deposit back.

Renting a home can be an expensive business; before you even move into the house, you’re usually required to pay one month’s rent in advance plus a hefty security deposit. When you move out you are entitled to have this deposit returned to you unless you have damaged the property or caused the landlord to suffer a financial loss – however, in reality, deposits are often a big cause of dispute between tenants and landlords. We’ve put together some hints and tips to help increase your chances of getting your money back at the end of your tenancy.

Go through the inventory

Upon moving into the property you should be given an inventory which details the condition and contents of the property – and if you’re not, be sure to ask for one. Take time to go through the inventory with a fine tooth comb and flag up anything you think is incorrect – for example, if an item is listed as good condition but is actually broken, or if there is an area of damage or disrepair that isn’t included in the inventory. The inventory will be a key piece of evidence in the event of a dispute so it’s important to make sure it’s correct.

Take photographs

As well as going through the inventory, it’s also worth taking photographs when you first move into the property. Take photographs of all the rooms in their original condition and be sure to photograph any areas of damage, or furniture that is in a poor state of repair. As with the inventory, photographs can play an important role in helping to solve any disputes.

Stick to the contract

When you move into the property, take time to read the contract properly and make sure you stick to it. If the contract says you can’t have a pet, or you can’t attach things to the wall, you will need to abide by these rules or risk losing some of your deposit. If you do decide to put up pictures or paint walls, make sure you return the walls to their original state before you move out.

Build a good relationship

While it’s no guarantee of getting your money back, building a good relationship with your landlord from the outset can help increase the chances of settling things amicably if a deposit dispute does arise. Be sure to always pay your rent on time and try not to give your neighbours any reason to complain about you. And if your landlord needs access to the house to carry out repairs or inspections, being helpful and flexible is always appreciated.

Deep clean

Over half of deposit disputes involve insufficient cleaning of the property, so make sure to leave enough time to give the property a deep clean before you move out. While your landlord can’t legally force you to hire professional cleaners, your contract will usually stipulate that you leave the property in the condition in which you moved in, and a failure to do so could result in the loss of all or some of your deposit. As well as the obvious areas, don’t forget to clean your windows, oven, the insides of kitchen cupboards, and clean or paint over any scuff or dirt marks off the walls. Carpets often get stained during a tenancy which can result in deposit deductions. If you can’t get rid of these stains yourself, it may be worth paying out for professional carpet and rug cleaning services to help get the floors back in a decent condition.

Don’t forget the garden

While you’re concentrating on cleaning the house it can be easy to forget the garden. However, if your contract states that you are responsible for the maintenance of the outside area, an unkempt garden could lead to deductions from your deposit. The easiest way to ensure the garden is in a good condition is to keep on top of it throughout your tenancy. A spot of weeding and sweeping here and there will save you having to spend hours clearing it on the last day of your tenancy.
These days, your rental deposit has to be placed in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by the landlord until the end of the tenancy. The scheme offers a free dispute resolution service and, in the event of a dispute, your deposit will be held in the scheme until the issue has been resolved – so, as a tenant you do have some element of protection against unfair charges.

However, if you are a good tenant, stick to your contract and spend some time and effort on the property at the end of the tenancy, you should hopefully get the majority, if not all, of your bond back, leaving you with a heavier wallet and your landlord with a good condition property ready to let to the next set of tenants.