Protecting your home

Protecting your home for future generations is something which has always been at the forefront of discussions when thinking about making a Will, as more often than not our home is our biggest asset.

A leading question from clients nowadays seems to be ‘will I need to sell my home to pay care fees?’ Most of us would like our family such as our children and/or grandchildren to inherit our property, rather than the value of it dissipating in care fees.  Different factors could change the outcome, such as how you own your property; whether you own other properties, whether or not you own your home jointly, and who is in occupation.

If you require residential care, your financial capacity will be taken into account; this is known as a ‘Means Test’.  This Means Test includes your income as well as your capital.  Your home will be excluded from the calculation in certain circumstances, such as where you have a child under 18 in occupation of the property, or if your partner still lives at home.

If none of the exclusions apply and your total capital (including your share of your property) exceeds £23,250, you will likely have to pay for your care fees.  (Please note that if your property is included in the Means Test, it will automatically be disregarded for the first 12 weeks of care).

Where you jointly own your home with someone else, your share of the property will be taken into account.  It will be excluded, however, if, as mentioned above, your co-owner lives with you at the property.

If you have a situation where it is likely your property will need to be sold to pay for care fees but for some reason there will be a delay in the sale (if it is currently rented out, for example) then the care home may agree to put a charge on the property.  This will effectively allow their fees to be paid upon the sale.

You may think about giving your property (or a share of it) to your family/children during your lifetime.  There are some dangers to be aware of, such as what would happen if you gave half of your property to your child and they became bankrupt, or went through a divorce?  One of the options for you to consider would be to hold the property on Trust, via your Will.

It is therefore important that you get the correct advice to protect your assets.  If you would like to discuss the options available on passing your assets to your family please get in touch with our private client team at Jackamans, who will be happy to have a free half hour meeting with you.


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