Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask the approximate value of the property please?
Has your mother left a will?
Does you mother know of any circumstances where she is likely to have to enter into care in the immediate future>
Thank you. Unless your mother's estate is worth more than £325,000, there is no inheritance tax to concern yourself with. Even if there were inheritance tax, transferring the property into your name would not help if she continued to live in the property because the property would still be counted as being in her estate under reservation of benefit rules. So tranfering the property is unlikely to be of use or assistance for inheritance tax
Another reason for transfering the property would be to attempt to protect the property against claims for nursing care fees by the local authority if your mother were to have to enter into a nursing home. From what you say this is not anticipated. If you were to transfer the property this can give some measure of protection against such potential claims by the local authority but a transfer can be challenged by the local authority if they can show that at least a substantial purpose behind the transfer of the property was to avoid care fee claims. It is possible for a local authority to reverse such a transfer for up to 5 years from the date it is made in these circumstances so it would be necessary to ensure that the transfer was properly documented if this were the motive behind the transfer though from what you say this is not the case.
Another reason for transfering the property is that it may save you from obtaining probate on your mothers passing. However if your mother has more than £10-15K in addition to her property, probate would likely be needed anyway and in any event, probate is not a difficult or costly process so transfering the property is not likely to save any significant administration in any event.
there will be some other consequences of transferring the property into your name. The first is that if you do not live in the property yourself and only another property, if the properties in your name, rather than your mothers, then you may have to pay capital gains tax on any increase in the property's value after the date of transfer. this is not the case if the property remains in your mother's ownership.
In addition, if the property is transferred to you, unless it is transferred to you to hold on trust, the house would not form part of your mother's estate on her passing and therefore would not be included in the property left in her will. If it is your mother's intention to leave the property to others as well as you, then transferring the property to you before her death might mean this does not happen though of course you could choose to follow what you believe your mother's wishes are if you wished.
Lastly, if the property were transferred to you without use of the trust, this could put your mother at risk. Of course you would not do so, following the transfer, you could ask your mother to leave the property as it would belong to you. As above, though you would not do so, consider the unlikely event of something happening to you, then somebody else would inherit the property either under the terms of your will or under the rules of intestacy and that person may not be so well disposed to your mother. These are of course unlikely events but by definition the future is unknown. Finally you mention you whole power of attorney for your mother: it is worth briefly saying that you are not able to transfer the property to yourself using your power of attorney - such an action is not allowed by an attorney. The transfer must be made by your mother for which it is necessary that she has full mental capacity to do so.
Accordingly, there are not an awful lot of positive reasons to decide to make a transfer of the property and there are some potential pitfalls in doing so. What can be advisable is transferring the property into a life interest trust which can give protection against care the claims by the local authority but you say above that it is not anticipated that your mother would be likely to enter a care home and so this is not worthwhile if you do not think care fee claims are likely.
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
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