Ensuring that the money you have worked hard to earn is passed on to your children and grandchildren is an important part of estate planning, according to one Courier Country legal company.
Almost all of Caritas Legal’s clients hold the view that they have worked very hard to buy their home and that their intention has always been to pass their property on to their children upon their death.
Unfortunately, if either or both parents require residential care, the local authority has a right to insist that the property is sold to meet the cost of private care.
Lorna Brown, founder and principal solicitor of Caritas Legal, explained: “We receive many calls from adult children whose parents have been deemed to require residential care questioning the local authority’s right to force a sale of the property.
“Unfortunately, at crisis point there is very little that can be done, however planning in advance offers far more options and opportunities to safeguard the family home and ensure that your care costs do not eat up the proceeds of the sale of your home.”
She added: “It does not matter that your will says that your children are to inherit your house.
“You can only gift assets which you own on your death, therefore if your property has been sold to fund care it is likely that your children’s inheritance will have been significantly depleted.”
Lorna has first-hand experience of this situation as her mum was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 52 and required residential care aged 54. As an only child, her mum expected to pass on her property to Lorna, however in reality her house was sold to pay for care and Lorna received less than one tenth of the sale proceeds.
In Scotland anyone with assets exceeding £16,500 must pay for their own care. It is therefore important to take specialist legal advice in order to mitigate exposure to care fees.
When advice is sought early it increases the number of solutions available, however there are always solutions, so speak to Lorna and her team about paying for care, asset protection, Wills, Powers of Attorney and more.
Caritas Legal is an award-winning, specialist legal firm based in Fife with a passion for future planning.