Case Studies

Keeping The Family Home

Keeping the family home


Joan and David Wilson with normal Mirror 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.

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 financially assessed 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 only when David’s assets fell below £23,250 (2018/19) 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 Protective Property Trust for the eventual benefit of their children. The residue after the family home is still left to each other, and on second death, the Will 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 had to disregard at least 50% of 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.

An argument can be made that half a house is not worth half its value, and that argument was made in a Court of Appeal case running under Chief Adjudication officer and Another v Palfrey et al, where 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?

Caution should be taken though as the circumstances of the Palfrey case were different in that the other 50% of the property was owned by a person living in the property, and not by a Trust, so it is possible that the argument may be challenged. However, being assessed for care home fees on only 50% of the property with a chance of a total disregard could be seen as a good outcome.


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