Is there a downside to gifting your property to avoid paying care home fees in later life?
We are often asked by clients how they can “avoid” paying for care in future life, if care was ever needed by one or both of them. This is a loaded question. Firstly, you cannot avoid care home fees if you have capital such as savings, investments or own a property in your own name worth more than £23,250. If you have capital above that sum then the local authority will take that into consideration when calculating how much help with care home fees you are entitled to (if any).
You must be very careful to avoid doing anything which could be seen as an artificial device to avoid care fees as this can go badly wrong.
Care home fees are increasingly more expensive (anything upwards of £1500 per week). If you deliberately give away assets (such as the family home to children for example) to bring your capital value below that threshold in contemplation of paying for care fees then the local authority have the powers to set aside those gifts as void and include them back into your asset calculation.
So how do you protect your home from being taken into consideration fully if you or your husband/wife needs to go into a care home? Well firstly, care needs to be funded somehow. If you own a property solely then rightfully so it should go towards the cost of care should you need it, and the only way that this would happen is if it is sold. The situation is different if either you or your husband/wife were still living in the family home but owned your own distinct share in it, known as Tenants in Common. This means that only that half share in the property would be “counted in” to any calculation of you capital should only one of you need care.
We can advise you about how best to hold your property and how to “sever” a Joint Tenancy to become Tenants in Common. Speak to one of our solicitors today on the best way you can protect your share in the home for future generations.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts call 01908 689317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.