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Safeguarding Your Assets

EH SolicitorsMaking a WillSafeguarding Your Assets


Many people are still unaware that if they need social care e.g. a carer or nursing/care home fees their assets will be means tested by their Local Authority to pay for it.

We also hear many stories about the different steps people take to try and safeguard their assets in an attempt to avoid having to pay care costs. A popular instruction we receive from clients is to transfer their home into the names of their children as they believe that by doing this their home will not be taken into consideration should they need to go into care in later life.

This is simply not true and we advise our clients accordingly.

Local Authorities are entitled to investigate and if they reach the conclusion that a house has been transferred into another name to avoid being taken into consideration for means testing then they could allege that there has been a deliberate deprivation of an asset.

Many people are under the misapprehension that if the house has been transferred over seven years ago then it is safe. This is not true!

A sensible solution is for couples not to leave their entire estate to each other. For example, Mr & Mrs Smith own a house jointly. They can leave their respective half shares of the house in a trust for their children and allow each other a right to remain in the property after the first person dies. These are called Right of Occupation Wills.

Mr & Mrs Smith make Right of Occupation Wills leaving their respective half shares of their property to their children. When Mr Smith dies, his half share of the property is protected in a trust for his children and Mrs Smith has the right to continue residing in the property. She subsequently falls ill and has to receive professional care in a nursing home. Mrs Smith is means tested on her half share of the house but Mr Smith’s share of the house is safe.

It is important for couples to make their Right of Occupation Wills sooner rather than later. If one of them dies or loses mental capacity, it is too late.

Don’t delay, make your Will today

Contact our Private Client Team on 0800 197 3560


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