Case Studies

Keeping The Family Home

How can I ensure we keep the family home?

Joan and David Wilson with basic wills

Joan and David have a will that leaves everything to each other, and on second death, leaves everything to their children in equal shares.

Joan passed away aged 72 in 2013 and david inherited everything she owned either because their property was jointly owned, or the will ensured that he inherited anything that wasn’t jointly owned.

David struggled living in the family home and over time his health worsened. It came to the point when he had to consider leaving the family home and moving into a residential care home.

The local authority were involved and they assessed all of David’s home when working out who needed to pay for the residential care home fees.

When David went into the residential care home the family home needed to be sold to pay for the care home fees, and it was only when David’s assets fell below £23,250 that the local authority started to make a contribution towards the care costs.


Joan and David Wilson with protective property wills

Joan and David each have a will that gifts their 50% share of the family home into a trust for the eventual benefit of their children. The residue after the family home is still left to each other, and on second death, leaves everything to their children in equal shares.

Joan passed away aged 72 in 2013 and David inherited everything except Joan’s 50% share of the family home. This was gifted into a trust created within Joan’s Will. The trustees were David and their children. The trust gave David the right to remain in the family home for as long as he wanted to, without need to pay any rent to the Trust.

David struggled living in the family home and over time his health worsened. It came to the point when he had to consider leaving the family home and moving into a residential care home.

The local authority were involved and when they assessed David’s home when working out who needed to pay for the residential care home fees they disregarded the family home totally. This is because David owned only his 50% of the home, and the Trust owned the other 50% as a gift from Joan.

Furthermore, it was ruled that half a house was not worth half its value. Indeed, it was ruled that half a house had no value because who wanted to buy half a house?

There may be circumstances when a local authority tries to assess the 50% share of the person going into care, but they are not able to try and assess 100% of the house and could only assess at the most the 50% owned by the person needing a care home.

This was again proved when a local authority tried to claim that the person who died and left their 50% share of the family home into a trust did so to deprive the local authority of assets that could be used to pay for care home fees. The judge stated clearly that the person who died did not need to go into a care home, and that they were allowed to dispose of their estate in any way that they saw fit.

So, with a protective property trust in your will, at best all of the family home should be disregarded when assessing assets to pay for care home fees for the surviving spouse, and at worst, only 50% is disregarded, which is the 50% gifted into the protective property trust.


If you would like to learn more about the benefits of protective property trusts and discretionary trusts, call us or simply leave you details in the callback form.

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