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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO F


or some property buyers the motivation is a permanent move abroad. The Foreign & Commonwealth Offi ce (FCO) has a wealth of advice and tips on starting


your new life overseas, including the issues you should consider before you go and what steps you can take when you arrive to help yourself settle into your new community. The FCO’s Director of Consular Services, Charles Hay, says:


“A new life abroad offers wonderful opportunities. But in the excitement of making plans for a future in the sun it’s all too easy not to take into account possible downsides or the problems that can occur. Local laws can be complex and full of pitfalls for the unwary, so I urge you to get independent legal advice to safeguard yourself and your property.”


Before you leave: Ë Work out what your retirement income will be - Be clear about your fi nancial situation on your retirement and allow for exchange rate fl uctuations and infl ation. Ë Request a UK State Pension Forecast – This will tell you in today’s monetary value the amount of state pension you have earned already and the amount you can expect to receive at state pension age. You will still receive your state pension if you live overseas, but it may not be increased annually if you are going to live outside the EEA or if you reside within the EEA but are not covered by EC social security regulations. Ë Find out about your tax liability abroad - If you retire abroad you may still have to pay UK tax on income you receive from the UK. You may also have to pay tax on UK income in the country in which you live. Ë Find out about your welfare rights abroad - You may be able to claim a benefi t in your country of residency, but the benefi ts you receive in the UK may also be affected by your move abroad. You can fi nd out more about the ‘habitual residency test’ on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website (www.gov.uk/DWP) or the Citizens Advice website (www.citizensadvice.org.uk). Ë Let people know your change of address - Let your Social Security Offi ce, HM Revenue & Customs, National Insurance Contributions Offi ce – Centre for Non-Residents, and the DWP know when you are going to leave and give them your address abroad. Ë Find out about health costs abroad - When you ask the DWP about getting your pension paid to you


in another EEA country, they will automatically check to see if you can get the E121 as well. If so, you will receive the same free or reduced-cost medical treatment as a qualifi ed pensioner of the country you are in.


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid once you move abroad and we recommend getting private health insurance. Ë Find out about accommodation costs - It may be better to rent to begin with to familiarise yourself with the area. Make sure you seek independent professional legal advice before purchasing. Your local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate can provide a list of English-speaking lawyers who can assist you. Buy with CARE: go into it with Caution, make sure you seek Advice - local laws can be complex and unclear. Do your own Research then Evaluate before proceeding.


When you arrive: Ë Register with the local authorities - This may give you access to the local welfare services after a short period of time. If you are moving to another EEA country you must apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival. If you do not register you may be unable to access local benefi ts and could even be breaking local law. Ë Learn the local language - Try to fi t in with the local community, you will fi nd day-to-day life much easier if you can make yourself understood. Ë Make a will - If you die intestate when abroad this can cause diffi culties for your heirs. Seek professional legal advice. You may require separate wills for assets and property held in the UK and other countries. Ë Find out about British Associations - There may be clubs, publications and charity organisations for the expatriate community, lists are available from your local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. Ë Keep your vote - You can register to vote as an overseas elector for up to 15 years after you were last registered in the UK. To register, contact the electoral registration offi cer at the local council where you were last registered as an elector when living in the UK. For further information see the Electoral Commission websites www.electoralcommission.org.uk and www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. To fi nd out what the British Consulate, High Commission or Embassy can do for you when you’re moving abroad, and for a list of useful contact details, visit www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo


AIPP CONSUMER GUIDE 19


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