Keeping it in the family – protecting my property

Keeping it in the family – protecting my property

How do I protect my house and ensure it passes to my family when I die?

‘How do I pass my house onto my family’ is a common question we often get asked.  It’s no surprise really when you consider the number of family’s that are forced to sell their homes to pay for care.

One in four of us are expected to be living in a care home during the final years of our life. At an average cost of £40,000 per year, care home fees are one of the most expensive life costs people will have to pay for.

It’s very important therefore to feel confident that their greatest assets – and often the one they’ve worked their whole lives for, will be passed onto the people that matter the most to them.

Protecting your house by changing the way you own it.

For those that have been fortunate enough to buy their own home outright, when it comes to paying for long-term care, this is often the first asset the Local Authority will register when it comes to means testing against an estate.

In addition to the home, any savings or additional assets that make up the remainder of the estate will also be registered and could be used to pay for care home fees. In a short amount of time, these fees can quickly be swallowed up, leaving very little to pass onto your children or family.

However; there is a simple and cost-effective way to safeguard at least half the value of your property by changing the way you own your home when built into an effective will.

Joint Tenants is the common way people thing to protect their house.

Changing the way, you own your property can have a substantial impact on the way your estate and house is managed. The standard format for most couples owning their own homes is called ‘joint tenants’. Joint tenants simply mean that upon death, the property passes automatically to the survivor.

This may sound like a sensible, and obvious choice when it comes to owning your own home but less effective when considering the possibility that the survivor may in time have to go into care. If this were to happen the entire value of the property would be assessed and could be used to pay for the long-term care of the survivor.

Change your home ownership to ‘tenants-in-common’ adding more protection to your house

A simple and cost-effective way to protect your property and ensure this scenario doesn’t happen is to change the way you own your house.

Changing the ownership of the house to ‘tenants-in-common’ is a simple process but it means when a spouse dies, they could bequeath (leave in their will) their share of the property to whoever they like. Putting this share of the house into a trust protects the property. Keeping it in the family and ensures the living spouse retains occupancy.

In the future, if the survivor were to go into a care home, this would mean they could only be assessed as owning a half share of the property, reducing the fees and proving to be a very effective and useful part of your overall estate plan.

Safeguarding for future generations

This solution, of building a trust into your will effectively safeguards a half share of the property. To ensure this is done effectively and not fall foul of the Deprivation of Assets Legislation, obtaining fair and professional advice is critical.

Deprivation of Assets Legislation is a legislation which allows local authorities to recover assets that have been deliberately disposed of to avoid paying care fees. To that extent having professionals consult and write your documents is essential in ensuring your wishes are carried out.

Integrity Wills and Legal Services are experts at setting up and managing this type of Trust. With over 35 years combined experience in estate planning and many several hundred customers benefitting from our expertise in this form of legal planning, we know we can work with you to fully understand your unique situation and make sure whatever your circumstances, that you’ll be keeping it in the family for generations to come.

For more information, to speak to one of our consultants or book a free initial consultation please call us on 01223 853 805