Fixing a delayed mortgage discharge
Q: In 1979, my mother and father took out a mortgage over the family home with Person to Person Financial Services Pty Ltd. The loan was completely paid off, and the title deed to the home was handed back by the ANZ Bank. My parents were to organise the mortgage discharge but somehow it appears that paperwork was not completed. Dad passed away several years ago and my mother wants to have the option to sell the house and downsize, however obviously this is impossible without completing the mortgage discharge. The trouble we have is that Person to Person no longer exists. We have established that there were two companies with that name. The first (associated with Citibank) was deregistered in 2003, the second deregistered in 2010. We believe the latter was the lender in question. All attempts to track down the company have failed and we are at a loss as to how this issue can be resolved and the encumbrance finally removed from the title. How can we sort this out, please?
A: Start with the Lands Titles Office to see if they can provide you with current details about the title. You may need to engage the services of a licensed land conveyancer to assist. These days, almost all titles for property are held electronically, and if there is an undischarged mortgage, I believe this would be reflected on the title. You should then be able to track down any institution to have the mortgage discharged. That said, if your parents paid the loan off, it is quite possible that the loan was discharged without their knowledge.
Q: I plan on retiring when I turn 60 in July. I will have $550,000 in my defined pension fund. I have no debts and we own our home. My wife will be retiring next year with about the same amount in her defined fund. How much per week could we withdraw each week and live comfortably?
A: The question I would ask is: “How much do you need to draw to meet your living expense requirements?” The Association of Super Funds of Australia publishes a retirement standards guide each year. As at the end of December 2022, they suggested a couple wanting a modest standard of living needs $45,106 per annum (singles was $31,323). For a comfortable standard of living a couple would need $69,691 (singles was $49,462). The reality, in my experience with clients, is generally in between. As a rule of thumb, I use a 5 per cent drawdown figure for retirement income. So if you and your wife have approximately $1.1m, drawing $55,000 per annum would be realistic. Also seek advice from a financial adviser as well.
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Brenton is a director and an authorised representative of Goldsborough Financial Services Limited. His advice should be considered as an opinion. Readers should consider engaging their own personal financial adviser. Questions and answers may have been edited for length.