Home Truths

Q. One of my friends has told me that she and her husband have transferred their property to their children to avoid care home fees. Is this something I should consider?

A. If you transfer your property to your children, you have no legal right to continue living in the property. It is only with your children’s agreement that you can remain there.

If you fall out with your children you could be made homeless. Similarly, if your children divorce, their share in the property will be considered during the divorce proceedings, and, once again, you could find yourself in a vulnerable position.

Currently, all persons who require care are self-funding where their assets, including the home, exceed the value of £40,000. If you are self-funding, you have the ability to choose where you would like to receive your care. However, if you are funded by the local authority, you do not have this choice.

The local authority has extensive powers when looking into the financial situations of those requiring care. If, following the transfer of your property to your children, you were in need of care, and the cost of this care fell to the local authority, they have the power to look into your previous transactions. If they can establish that the transfer was made with the intention of evading care fees, the transaction can be revoked and that money could then be used to fund your care. There is not a time limit on the local authority’s ability to look into past transactions and they are increasingly doing this.

Is there any alternative to transferring my property that will protect some of my estate from care home fees? There is, but you will need professional legal advice, which we can provide.

Please contact us if you would like more information about these issues on 02920 345 511 or cardiff@berrysmith.com