Concerned about your home being sold to fund your future care fees? The Issue
You probably own your home as joint tenants if you are a couple and solely if you are single. For couples this means you own it wholly, jointly and severally. Ultimately therefore you do not own it 50:50 as you might have assumed. You actually own all of it together and when one partner dies the surviving partner owns it solely and absolutely. It is sole and absolute ownership that enables a whole property to be taken into consideration as an asset by the local authority and puts the property in danger of needing to be sold to fund care.
The Reality Today
The care Act 2014 introduced in April 2015 allows local authorities to assess your assets to determine if you need to pay for your own care under the new charges and assessment of resources regulations. Currently if you have assets above £23,250, you are on your own and require care, you will probably have to pay for it all - currently averaging around £1,000 per week. Savings, cash and income would be used first and then your property would need to be taken into consideration. You would be expected to pay for all of your care until such time as your assets were depleted to below the £23,250 threshold. You would then pay for a proportion of your care until your assets were below £14,250 - at which point all your future care would be paid for after any relevant income was taken into account.
For couples, simply by changing the way you own your property well in advance of any care considerations i.e. from joint tenants to tenants in common and by setting up two property Trusts either immediately or within a properly structured Will at the same time will in most cases, protect the integrity of your home should you ever require care in the future, so long as avoiding care fees was not a primary motivating reason behind the implementation fo the strategy - i.e. you should be looking to protect your half of your property should your spouse remarry after your death, or you should be looking to ensure that your children would not lose 50% of their inheritance should they be made bankrupt or divorce or for example you should be looking to prevent a generational inheritance tax burden in the future. These are all sound reasons for implementing this strategy which in themselves are not deliberate deprivation of assets, but the implemantation of which protects the integrity of the property.
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