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Some 20 years ago my wife and I purchased my parents council house for the sum of £15,000 financed by a further charge on our property. At the time, because the property had to be in the names of my parents, the solicitor put a charge on the property in the sum of £15,000. Unfortunately, we now find ourselves in the situation where my father only has a short time to live as he has a brain tumour and my mother, who has mental health problems, is not coping with the situation at all and it looks as though she may have to go into a nursing home. If this is the case it is likely that we will lose the property to the Local Authority to pay for her care. My question is – is it too late for my wife and I to salvage something from this situation so we do not lose the property? We realise that we should have acted sooner but wondered if there was anything we could do at this late stage. Thanks and regards ***** *****
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
I am afraid it may be too late to do anything. You certainly won't be able to do anything to alter the financial interest you have in the property and the Local Authority would only accept your interest as that contained in the Charge you have.
The only possible thing you can try and do is get your Father to make a Will (if indeed he is mentally capable of doing this). On the basis that th eproperty is in joint names, he can "sever the joint tenancy" which means both your parents own a separate 50% each in the property. Your Father's Will could then leave his 50% to you/your siblings with the proviso that your Mothe ris entitled to remain living there for as long as she wishes.
This way, you at least safeguard 50% of the property, in the event that your Mother has to go into a Nursing Home.
I am sorry i can't give you a better magical answer, but this is the only potential saving grace.
I hope this assists.
Many thanks for your reply. I must admit I didn't think there was anything we could do but thought I would enquire anyway. Unfortunately my father is not mentally capable of making another Will as he only has weeks to live. Do you think the fact that my mother has mental problems will make any difference to how the cost of her care is funded, i.e. are mentally ill people treated differently to everyone else?
Thanks for your reply.
Local authorities and the NHS have a joint duty to make arrangements for the care and support of someone who has previously been detained for treatment under section 3 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) and who is in need of after-care services. This support is not means-tested (the person will receive it regardless of their financial situation). It must be provided free of charge and includes care in the person's own home and paying for care home fees.
Therefore your Mother would have to be sectioned under the MHA before qualifying for any state help. You would of course need to speak to the appropriate expert in this regard.
Many thanks again for your prompt response. I've just had a thought - do you think when my father has died that my mother could put the property in some sort of trust or is this too late as well?
I'm afraid any disposition of the property/setting up of a trust, would be seen by the Local Authority as an attempt by your Mother to deprive herself of assets, with a view to reducing her liability to pay Nursing Home fees. In such circumstances, where the property has been gifted to a third party/a trust set up, the Local Authority would still treat your Mother as owning the property when it comes to assessing her capital. It would therefore not work.
Many thanks. You have been very helpful. I would give you excellent feedback but when I submit it it I keep getting a message saying that I have already given feedback and I will have to pay extra to give more feedback so sorry about this.
No worries Kevin! All the best.