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Care Home costs if name not on deeds

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gettingthere
gettingthere Posts: 6 Forumite
edited 4 September 2012 at 2:26PM in Over 50s MoneySaving
Hi,

I wonder if anyone can please advise:-

My MIL lives full time in a care home, FIL still lives at home in their house which they own outright.

If the deeds are only in FIL's name (and have only ever been in his name only, since about 1965, not transferred changed or corrected or whatever) does this mean that the house would not be counted as one of MIL's assets when making an assessment for care home fees. We cannot find an answer to this question anywhere!

Thanks

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Comments

  • JuneBow
    JuneBow Posts: 302 Forumite
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    There are two reasons why the house would not be counted in mother in law's means testing.
    1. father in law still lives there
    2. she does not own the property.
    Incidentally, even if it was FIL in the home and MIL in the house, it would not be counted for his means testing assessment.
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_125836.pdf
  • gettingthere
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    Thanks for that, very helpful.

    So, may I please clarify, if MIL's name is not on the deeds she does not technically own the property and is not her 'asset' despite the fact that she has lived in it since 1965. Is that right?
  • antrobus
    antrobus Posts: 17,386 Forumite
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    Thanks for that, very helpful.

    So, may I please clarify, if MIL's name is not on the deeds she does not technically own the property and is not her 'asset' despite the fact that she has lived in it since 1965. Is that right?

    MIL may well have a beneficial interest in the property. Which is to say, despite the fact that her name isn't on the deeds, she would be entitled to receiver (say) half the procceeds of sale should the house be sold. (That's certainly would a good divorce lawyer would argue, anyway.)

    The problem I believe (from the point of view of a LA at least) it's hard to value the beneficial interest in property. In the sense that, if the FIL has no intention of selling the property, having a claim for a share of the proceeds doesn't really amount to much.
  • gettingthere
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    Thanks. The thing is FIL DOES have an idea that he wants to sell the house, or at least pass ownership of it on to a relative.

    Our question is whether he is able to do this, or whether it would be seen as deprivation of assets for MIL should she ever need to be means-tested for help with her care home fees. At the moment all her fees are paid for out of their savings, and that would continue for several years yet.
  • JuneBow
    JuneBow Posts: 302 Forumite
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    As Antrobus said, MIL may have benefiical ownership. However, it is for the LA to prove that. If FIL has been paying bills etc because she has never worked, then it would be very difficult for them to make this point.
    On the issue of FIL giving away the house, this would not be seen as deprivation of assets in terms of MIL as it is unlikely that the LA could prove beneficial ownership. However, it would be best if you paid for some advice on this as all of the relevant facts are not here.
    In terms of deprivation of assets for FIL this may be seen to be such. If he gives away the house in order to avoid means testing for LA accommodation then it would be seen as deprivation of assets. Regardless of urban myths like "provided you do it more than six months before you need care" there is no time limit. So for example if you presented yourself to a solicitor and said "transfer the deeds to my son so I don't need to pay for LA accommodation" then this is conclusive proof of deprivaiton of assets.
    I think however, your initial question is in respect of MIL and the answer is you will probably be OK.
  • antrobus
    antrobus Posts: 17,386 Forumite
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    Thanks. The thing is FIL DOES have an idea that he wants to sell the house, or at least pass ownership of it on to a relative.
    ...

    Then I would say that now is the time to take some proper legal advice regarding your FILs plans for the property.
    JuneBow wrote: »
    ...Regardless of urban myths like "provided you do it more than six months before you need care" there is no time limit....

    It's actually a bit more than an urban myth, The six month limit is actually in s21 of The Health And Social Services And Social Security Adjudications Act 1983 - "Recovery of sums due to local authority where persons in residential accommodation have disposed of assets" - a local authority can only recover charges from someone "to whom the asset is transferred" if the transfer was made "not more than six months" before person who made the transfer took up residence in the care home.

    However s25 of The National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992 which deals with the definition of 'notional capital', largely by reference to s51 of The Income Support (General) Regulations 1987, as in a "claimant shall be treated as possessing capital of which he has deprived himself for the purpose of securing entitlement", makes no reference to any time limit whatsoever.

    There was a time when people relied on s21 of the HASSASSAA 1983 until Yule v South Lanarkshire Council (1999) said otherwise.
  • gettingthere
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    Thank you very much to everyone who has replied, it is very helpful. We have now contacted a solicitor and we'll see what they advise.

    All the best.
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