I am retiring abroad – what should I do?

Retirement can be a golden time for many, and the prospect of moving abroad to the sun, or to be with family, can make it even more enticing.

Before you start packing your bags, see our article on ‘How to Prepare for Retirement’. If you are retiring abroad, there are additional factors to consider.

Top of the list will be finances. You’ll need to be confident that your money will stretch far enough, and for long enough, even with exchange rate fluctuations. The climate, the culture and the cost of living will also be significant factors to weigh up, and there are other considerations too.

Estate planning

  • Consider whether any planning you have undertaken in the UK will still be valid in your destination:
    • check with a qualified advisor as to whether you will require separate wills for assets and property held in the UK and your destination
    • if you have taken the step of setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), you should check whether it will be recognised in your destination – see ‘Will my power of attorney be recognised abroad?

Medical

  • Arrange medical insurance that’s valid in the country you’re moving to, as well as for return trips to the UK
  • Notify your GP about the move, and check that you’re entitled to healthcare in your new country
  • If you are moving within Europe, you may wish to buy a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Bear in mind this may not be valid after Brexit.

Renting out your home

  • Make sure your property is fully insured. Check you’ll still be covered if the property is empty, for example between tenancies
  • Consider appointing a management agent to find and replace tenants, and look after problems that crop up
  • Notify the tax authorities about your move
  • Check with your mortgage provider that you are entitled to rent out your property, and find out what would happen if it is left empty
  • If you plan to sell your UK property in future, you may be liable for capital gains tax, so discuss this with a legal advisor.

Financial planning

  • Notify the tax authorities – otherwise you may be taxed in both countries
  • Speak to a legal advisor about tax implications in the UK, and find out what taxes you will need to pay in your new country
  • Arrange a new bank account in your new country, ahead of your arrival
  • Speak to your pension providers about your move
  • If your pension won’t cover your lifestyle, consider what jobs are available in your new country and if you are eligible to work
  • Investigate property values in your new country, before committing to buy, or even rent
  • Be aware of currency fluctuations if you are going to rely on an income in Sterling and factor in a safety margin.

Speak to a legal advisor who is independent and not connected to any transactions, such as a property sale or purchase, for impartial advice. You will need an advisor who understands UK law as well as the law in the country that you are moving to.

You should also employ a reputable estate agent, ideally who has offices in the UK and in your new country of choice.