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Issue:- 18/19  November 2009

Shrinks pensions, divorce rates continue to soar among the over-sixties

AS divorce rates continue to soar among the over-sixties, the Law Society warns that pension funds may be hit hard by reduced assets, leaving people with not enough money for retirement.

A marked increase in so-called ‘Saga divorces’ over the past ten years has led the Law Society to stress the financial implications of separation for those approaching retirement, and to urge those seeking divorce to get professional legal advice before proceeding.

With falling property prices and reduced assets following the credit crunch, pension funds could be hit. Confounding the problem is that older people have fewer opportunities to build up capital again after a divorce.

The advice comes as part of the Law Society’s nationwide information campaign advising consumers to go to a solicitor for much needed legal advice, The campaign takes a Beatles theme with the strap-line ‘Help, I need somebody’. It is currently featuring in the print media and on posters in more than 200 stations.

Law Society President, Robert Heslett says:- “Divorce at any stage of life is undoubtedly a stressful experience, but for the over 60s, bigger estates, complicated pension funds and less working years to build up assets again will exacerbate this stress. A solicitor is the only professional who has the qualifications and foresight to work towards a fair settlement in complex divorce cases. It is especially important for those who have little experience of the financial side of their lives to seek reliable advice on getting what they need.”

Those considering divorce in later life must also factor in the possibility one or both parties may need specialised health care in the future and make the appropriate provisions for this.

In addition, as many women from previous generations were more likely to leave financial planning to their husband, financial decisions made during a divorce can be very overwhelming for many women in their 60s.

A solicitor will talk you through a variety of options that may not necessarily lead to court proceedings such as mediation or collaborative family law, designed to help to people resolve issues following family breakdown in a calm and constructive manner, away from court. Although the Law Society stresses this option may not be suitable for everyone, particularly when there are issues surrounding financial disclosure and division of assets.

Using a solicitor to help wade through the minefield of divorce can help save a lot of heartache for you and your family. A specialist family law solicitor will ensure that the correct documentation is in place and that no important issues have been overlooked.


WATCH out for gold diggers is the message from Sefton Council Trading Standards. Officers have noticed an increase in traders offering to buy gold and are warning residents to be on their guard.  As the price of gold reaches an all time high, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and Sefton Council Trading Standards are warning consumers interested in selling their jewellery to shop around to avoid being caught out. Selling jewellery to make ends meet has become vey popular, but sellers are being urged to beware of conmen keen to cash in on the trend.  Sefton Council Trading Standards manager, Andrew Naisbitt, said:- "There is a wide disparity in how much shops or dealers will pay for gold. Unfortunately there isn't much Trading Standards officers can do if people are getting a bad deal, provided the trader is not actually misleading the seller about the gold's worth. We can only urge residents in Sefton to shop around to make sure they are getting a fair price for their gold."  For help & advice on all consumer issues, contact Consumer Direct on:- 08454 040506.

Top Tips for selling scrap gold

* Never deal with people who visit your home asking if you have any jewellery to sell as they may be rogue traders or even would - be burglars.

* Don't respond to adverts offering to buy your gold if the trader has no fixed premises.

* Remember that if someone tells you that they will give you x amount for your piece of jewellery, that is not the same than saying that this given piece is worth that amount.

* Get several quotes to make sure you are getting a fair offer for your jewellery.

* Make sure your jewellery is weighed with accurate scales, verified and stamped by an authorised person , before you are given a price for it.

* If your jewellery contains any precious stones be sure that their value is taken into account. If in doubt get such items valued by a reputable jeweller first.

* Any precious metals dealer is required to display a hallmarking notice in the location where he deals with customers - it is an offence not to do so.

* Look for the carat marking on your jewellery's hallmarking stamp to check the gold's purity- it is likely to be either 9 or 18 carat.

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