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One of the most difficult problems to solve is that of not having an address! So be careful what you say and to whom! Unless you have good reason, i.e. offshore earnings, stay resident for the taxman and retain as much of an address as you can! This is not easy when 'selling up and sailing'.

The problem can manifest itself in a number of ways, most notably difficulties in access to health care and in setting up financial arrangements. We have found the requirements of the money-laundering laws particularly difficult to get around without utility bills. We found it almost impossible to get a contract with O2 (and perhaps we wish we hadn't) without one, as credit checks rely to some extent on ones presence on the electoral role. Restructuring the mortgages on our rented properties was simply a non-starter! The mortgage adviser with Lloyds Bank had never seen so many underwriting flags on his computer system!

In the UK, access to free healthcare from the National Health Service, is officially open to people 'ordinarily resident' in the UK! This is interpreted differently by the various health authorities. Some will refuse treatment to returnees from abroad who have been absent more than three months. A general practice doctor is supposed to 'deregister' you if you move away, or are away for more than three months. In practice, this did not prove a problem when John returned to the UK after his heart attack and received a coronary artery bypass operation shortly afterwards. He was lucky however to have his daughter Jacqui working within the service opening doors for him. We have heard of others who have not been so fortunate.

We had to obtain a letter from our solicitors to open an account with Lloyds Offshore, despite banking with Lloyds for 42 years! Recently problems have arisen in transferring money in a long established ISA into a new fund. Even solicitors and estate agents now expect you to perform the money laundering dance.

To some extent we have leant on our offspring, but for the majority we felt we needed a more durable arrangement that did not impose upon them. We were fortunate in knowing one of Mo's colleagues' wives quite well, who happened to be an accountant with a business address aside from her own home. We asked Diane if she would mind acting as our attorney and accountant. Its not that easy, even when all the forms have been signed, to get banks and such people to take instructions from someone else, but for the most part it worked for us until Diane decided to retire! Diane dealt with the letting agents, and took care of any UK based payments that needed to be made.

Over the period we have been away, things have been made much easier by the internet. Instead of slow and ponderous internet connections via a roaming mobile phone connection, we now have much faster services available from local networks using data only connections using data 'dongles' and wireless router devices. Economical access to the internet, for researching and ordering spares, or managing accounts and payments, is now much easier to set up.

We have also been fortunate in setting up a relationship with an IFA who offers both pensions and other financial advice and an 'asset management' service. We are reasonably confident that we need not worry too much about the FTSE, interest rates and other financial goings-on. Even if we were in touch, we would have little idea what to do about it, and we have been happy with the results they have achieved for us.

We have retained a foothold in the property market in the UK with two properties. Both of these are managed by different letting agents, so that incidental problems are dealt with locally without needing reference to us.