Peter Savage is a Will Writer, Estate Planner and Senior Partner with DeedSafe Wills & Legal Services, based in Shrewsbury.
Here, Peter talks about people who work harda and save to buy their own property and consider it not only to be their home but also an inheritance to leave to their children....
As many people get older more and more people are concerned that should they need to be taken into long term care, their house could be seized by the Local Authority to pay for it.
As a way of avoiding this, many parents are signing their homes over to their children unaware of the dangers of this action. Legally, the house is no longer theirs and their children have total control over it and it is counted as the child/children’s assets.
Here are some eventualities that could threaten the parent’s right to live in the property that they previously owned and had worked all their lives to pay for.
Mr & Mrs A sign their house to their only son, Albert
1. Some time later Albert and his parents have a serious disagreement which results in a breakdown of their relationship. Albert is totally within his rights to insist that his parents leave the house in order for Albert to live in it himself, sell it or rent it out.
2. If Albert and his wife suffer a very unfriendly divorce, the house could form part of the divorce settlement, again forcing Mr & Mrs A to lose their home in order to pay their daughter in law’s settlement.
3. If Albert is made bankrupt, the house is classed as his asset and could be seized by his creditors.
4. Albert could die before his parents and if he has not made a Will. Albert’s wife could inherit the house not Mr & Mrs A.
Taking a risk
As you can see there are many dangers to parents signing their houses over to their children. However even if the parents decide to take the risk not getting caught out by these dangers, the unfortunate truth is that gifting the house to children does not avoid it being taken for Care Fees.
This is because the parent gifted the house for no money and they are living in it rent free, should either or both parents later go into care. he Local Authority will deem this action as “Deliberate Deprivation of Assets” and seize the house irrespective of the fact that the house is now in the names of the children.
A common misconception is that as long as a period of 7 years (or some people think 10 years) elapses before the parents go into care then the house is safe. This is not the case Local Authorities can go as far back as they wish to investigate possible deprivation of assets.
As you can see this action should not be taken and the parents should use alternative methods of protecting their assets from being used to pay for their Long Term Care fees.If you want advice on this, or any other issues relating to your Will or assets, call DeedSafe on 0800 781 9371.]]>
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