No one wants to think of the possibility that one day we might be faced with a decision about putting a loved one into residential care because of illness or disability. But it is important to make sure that your family and other loved ones are provided for if anything happens to you.
The Community Care Act 1990 states that local councils have the right, by law, to force the sale of a family home to pay for long-term residential care. The Local Authority has the power to seize all but £22,500 of the assets as a contribution towards the cost of that care.
A common problem is how to protect the family home from being seized in such a manner – and as official government statistics show that some 69,000 homes are sold every year to fund long term care (which is equivalent to one home being sold every four minutes) this is a big issue – but it can be partly addressed by simply making the correct type of Wills.
First of all, though, it is important to understand that whilst both people are alive if one of them goes into long-term care then the Local Council cannot force the sale of the property provided that it is in both their names (e.g. owned 50-50) – the sale can only be forced if the person going into long term care owns the property 100% outright.
But what if one person dies? Ensure that the ‘survivor’ never owns the property 100% outright. This is achieved by the first to die having a Will leaving his/her share of the property to the eventual heirs of the estate after both have died, but specifying that the survivor has a lifetime right to live in the property (a ‘Life Interest’). Thus the survivor only owns 50% of the property and therefore the deceased half share is protected and cannot by claimed by the local authority to fund long-term care.
In reality, we have no way of telling who is going to pass away first and so both husband and wife need such a Will. These Wills are often referred to as ‘Protective Property Trust’ Wills or ‘Life Interest Wills’. To make them, you must both be alive now and Seatons Solicitors can sort everything out for you both simply and easily and provide you with all of the legal advice you need.
When you have completed making your Will with Seatons Solicitors you should also seriously consider making Lasting Powers of Attorney to help manage and protect your assets if you both have to go into long term care at the same time. Please call us for a chat about your Power of Attorney on 01536 276300 or 01536 3111690 or use our online enquiry form.