Equity release in the UK has come a long way over the last 30 years or so, with a raft of protections and safeguards in place for people looking to free up some of the capital in their home.
As equity release is such a significant step, reputable providers will urge you to seek independent advice on whether it is the best solution for you or whether you would benefit from looking at other options.
From December, the way you pay and receive advice - be it on equity release or other financial products - is set to change thanks to the introduction of the Financial Services Authority's Retail Distribution Review.
The RDR is designed to foster a resilient, effective and attractive retail investment market in the UK and will fundamentally change the way you receive and pay for independent financial advice.
Equity release is not something that many independent financial advisers focus on, however, given the growth seen in the sector and the number of people incorporating it into their retirement planning, that could change.
The RDR is built on ensuring you receive clearer charges for the advice that you receive, ensuring that the person advising you has the relevant knowledge and making sure advisers are suitably qualified.
This will make a difference to you if you intend to incorporate equity release into your retirement planning.
Equity release is becoming more mainstream and advisers will need to understand the market, how it works and what products are available if they wish to advise you on it as part of your retirement strategy.
This means that increasing numbers are likely to sit equity release exams to gain the necessary qualifications, which in turn gives you a greater choice when it comes to selecting someone to advise you on the different products available to you.
You will also have a clearer idea of how much the advice will cost you, as advisers will no longer be able to roll up the cost of their services into the price of the products they sell you.
It is of the utmost importance that you seek equity release advice before you come to any decisions and the RDR should create an environment that you feel comfortable in.
Your home is likely to be your most valuable asset and to make maximum use of its value, discussing the issue with an expert is essential.