Don’t leave expats with ill health overseas

    Don’t leave expats with ill health overseas

    A good financial adviser will pride him or herself on getting to know a client inside out, often over a period of many years.

    They will go that extra mile to find out all about their client, whether it is the obvious, such as attitude to risk and understanding their retirement ambitions, or the less obvious, such as family background and all outside factors that will possibly come to have a bearing on retirement decisions.

    Retiring abroad is an ambition for many clients. After a lifetime working in one country, it can be an attractive proposition to swap grey skies for much sunnier climates, or to join children or other family members who have already made the move.

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    And it is a very popular choice. According to international migration statistics from the Office for National Statistics, British citizens accounted for 79 per cent of all emigrants to Australia in 2014. Furthermore, Britons comprised 54 per cent of those moving to France and 41 per cent of those going to Spain.

    Other telling figures show that at the end of 2014, the Royal Statistical Society reported on World Bank estimates that between 4.5m and 5.5m Britons live abroad. This accounts for a considerable 7 to 8 per cent of the UK population.

    While it is widely understood that work remains the main reason for this, there are an estimated 1m expat British pensioners living abroad. This is based on the government’s statistics on state pension claimants.

    So the potential for you as an adviser to be working with a client planning a move abroad is high. As part of the client-adviser relationship, such a move will have been central to the conversation for a significant amount of time.

    Whether it is leaving retirement funds in the UK and drawing them abroad, or using a specialist qualified recognised overseas pension scheme (Qrops), or the likelihood of receiving a full state pension, the pros and cons of various schemes will, of course, have been analysed in the lead-up to the planned move.

    However, even the best-laid plans can fall apart.

    What happens when your client drops the bombshell that they have been diagnosed with a serious illness – but they still want to make the move abroad? What will an adviser need to look at, and how will their guidance need to be tailored?

    Each Qrops jurisdiction has its own rules that you will need to be aware of – a round-up of many of the most common is outlined later on. However, dependent on the nature of the illness, the first port of call will often be carrying out an analysis of the medical cover needs and insurance options open to a client – something that will now be essential for a client diagnosed with a serious, even life-threatening illness.