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Retiring & Pensions

Bulgaria - Retiring & Pensions

The decision to retire abroad is a major one, so plan the move carefully. Here are some factors to bear in mind when considering retirement in Bulgaria:

- Rent before you buy property to see if an area suits you. Be aware, though, that prices are likely to rise when Bulgaria joins the EU (expected 2007).

- Investigate local amenities, including medical facilities. How near are they and will they meet your needs, especially if you are in poor health?

- Medical insurance. Those working in Bulgaria pay contributions entitling them to free medical treatment, but this does not apply to retirees. Private treatment is affordable compared to Western Europe, but you may well be better protected by a comprehensive medical insurance plan.

- Expat pensions and tax - always seek professional advice. A UK pension, for example, can still be paid to you in Bulgaria, but the UK and Bulgaria have no social security agreement in place, so the pension will be frozen at its current rate, with no rises for inflation. EU entry may change this (2007).

- Inform the relevant authorities in your home country before you leave. UK nationals can call the International Pensions Centre on 0191 218 7777.

- If you are buying property, find out how much deposit is required, as this may cause problems.

- Wills and inheritance - consider making a will to cover assets at home AND a separate one for assets in Bulgaria. Seek professional advice to minimise potential difficulties.

- Learn Bulgarian, if possible, so you can communicate with others besides English-speaking expats.

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