Every now and then, a client tells us that they are considering putting their house in their children’s names to avoid care fees. Our response is always the same: we do not recommend it.
Councils do not take everything at face value where care is concerned, and if they see that the parent/s are still living in the house, there is no paper and money trail for rent, and to all intents and purposes the parent/s still own the house, then they are likely to consider this ‘deliberate deprivation’; the house was only transferred to the children to prevent care fees, and they could seek to reverse the transfer so the house can be used to pay for care.
If the transfer comes after the parent has been diagnosed with an illness that is likely to require care, then the council will be even more suspicious. And they don’t even need to prove deliberate deprivation, just have reasonable suspicion of it.
Councils are also likely to scrutinise someone’s recent spending habits when assessing them for care, looking for evidence of deliberate deprivation. Giving a grandchild £20 for their birthday is not a problem, but giving a child £10,000 a day after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s would likely arouse suspicion.
People often say: “I didn’t work all my life just for the government to get my money”, and that is understandable. However, the standard of council care seems to have declined a lot over the past 20 years, and councils are unlikely to pay the premium cost of a top, shiny expensive care home. So another way to think might be: “I didn’t work all my life just so my kids would get a free house and I would slum it in a cheap care home.”
If a person is truly committed to putting their house into their children’s names, like everything in this area, they should think very carefully and get proper, qualified legal advice.