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Elderly parents

Downsizing after partner moves into care home

13 replies

SilkStalkings · 21/04/2023 17:13

Apols if this has been asked a million times. TIA for any advice/experience.
We’re hoping MiL can go into a care home soon as FiL is not coping caring for himself let alone her greater (and increasing) needs. The house they own outright is their only asset. Ideally FiL would then sell the house and downsize to a retirement flat. What happens re care home fees after that?
If he could buy a flat outright in his name only with 50% of the equity, would her half have to go straight to the care home or the council? On a monthly basis or whatever til it’s gone?
What if he can only buy somewhere that is over 50% of the equity and she gifts him the difference from her share? Would that count as deliberate disposal of assets and be held against her in any way?
Is there any option that should be avoided at all costs?
Thanks. (Cat pic for tax)

Downsizing after partner moves into care home
OP posts:
Lovestodrinkmilk · 21/04/2023 18:12

Rules may be different in England, Scotland, Wales etc. I think, but don’t know for sure, that in England your FIL is entitled to stay in the house if he wants to and is over 60. The value of the house would not be taken into account for care home fees for MIL. Again, I think, but not sure, that FIL can alternatively downsize and spend more than 50% of the value of the current house.

Age UK have a really good helpline and you really should ask them. There is a separate part of the organisation for Wales. Apologies if you are in Scotland or NI.

WoodTrees · 21/04/2023 19:06

Check this link, especially under the section about whether your home is included in a means test if your partner/spouse still lives there. I read it that it wouldn't be included in a means test. That was certainly the case when one of my parents went into care, but that was some 20: years ago. And then you need to investigate further to see what the implication would be if that house was sold, whether or not that would bring it into a means test. I don't know about that at all. I agree with the previous poster who suggested getting advice from Age UK. I found them an invaluable source of info when dealing with similar

LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 21/04/2023 19:09

Shamelessly placemarking here - I’ve been wondering this for a while as PIL is likely to need residential care and when that happens MIL is likely to downsize.

Oldnproud · 21/04/2023 19:17

I dont know the rules, but from vague memory of things i have read, I have a feeling it might be better to check whether the downsizing might better done before mil goes into care, rather than after.

WoodTrees · 21/04/2023 19:20

You need to check whether the house is owned as joint tenants or tenants in common. Tenants in common is mentioned in that link. On a quick read, it seems they have different ways of means testing if the house is owned tenants in common.

WoodTrees · 21/04/2023 19:34

This covers the situation of FIl wanting to sell and downsize. See point 8

And it crucial that you know whether the house is held as joint tenants or tenants in common, because the rules aren't the same for both

WoodTrees · 21/04/2023 20:24

I've re read point 8. What I would want to check out is whether any disregarding by councils is set down in law, or whether they merely have discretion to do so if they so wish. From my experience of dealing with my local council re a parent moving into care, I would suggest that the council will do all they can to reduce their own contribution, without any care for the remaining spouse/ partner's situation.

TonightImGonnaPartyLikeIts1989 · 22/04/2023 04:25

Wood trees has linked excellent explanatory leaflet from Age U.K.

It's discretionary

The only mandatory property disregard is on the original property.

If jointly owned, LAs can and do discuss these situations with people- it's worth having conversation with that financial assessments team and asking in email for clarity during financial assessment (& get in email)

It is in the LAs interests for person to downsize -even if it costs slightly more proportion of property value - to a) keep partner home longer and as b) original client will also have some funds released from property that's too big for their partner. You need legal advice if not jointly owned in straight forward way (ie tenants in common)

greyhairnomore · 22/04/2023 04:41

Look carefully at retirement flats , very often high service charges and can be extremely difficult to sell.

hatgirl · 22/04/2023 06:09

Your initial questions have been answered hopefully but also consider that depending on MILs capacity and how the house is owned, FIL may not be able to sell her share without agreement from the court of protection unless he has financial power of attorney for MIL

I wouldn't touch retirement flats with a barge pole.

you can request a financial assessment prior to going into residential care and ask the finance officer this stuff as they will be the experts on what their specific local authority is likely to use discretion on.

Sunseed · 22/04/2023 06:32

Ideally FiL would then sell the house and downsize to a retirement flat. 

Is this what FiL has said that he actually wants to do? What support does he need to look after himself?

Whereismumhiding4 · 26/04/2023 14:30

@hatgirl makes a good point

If MIL lacks capacity to consent to her house being sold then any legal documents to sign for a sale can only be done by someone with deputyship pr lasting power of attorney (LPA) or enduring power of attorney in finances and property.

Whereismumhiding4 · 26/04/2023 14:34

I am in social work management for a LA

Just to reassure that it's not uncommon for a spouse in a disregarded property to later want to downsize.
And there have been times it has been agreed to consider disregarding more than 50% share so that a smaller property can be purchased for the remaining spouse
It has to be conversations and based on individual circumstances and ultimately LA finance team lead on decision making whilst also asking social care managers their views. It's much more complicated depending on the legal ownership basis of properties (current one and proposed purchase one) and also other factors but it's worth a conversation with the financial assessments team when it becomes an issue

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