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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I was a third owner of a property with my wife and an elderly

Customer Question

I was a third owner of a property with my wife and an elderly friend. After being admitted to a caree home our friend died. Her share of the property was left to us in her will, we now own 50% each, the property has not been sold. The local council are now chasing us for payment of care bills to the tune of approx £23,000 (which I dont have) what should i do??
Paul
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

May I ask the approximate amount of equity in the house please?
Do you know if your friend had other assets besides the property out of which care fees could be paid?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

house value at probate was £199,000 no other funds available , some fees were paid out of assets while she was alive,

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. So based on te above figures, do I understand correctly that your friends share of the property would have been roughly £66,333 or thereabouts?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

correct

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the above. This is likely to be difficult I fear. as you will no doubt be aware, the local authority is able to take account of any assets that are owned by your friend in respect of means testing to test the amount of care fees your friend had to contribute to their care. In general terms the council can claim anything above £23,500 that is owned together with most of the income. There are more complicated rules when the assets drop below £23,500 but with your permission I will not address this here as it is no relevant as your friend had more than £23,500 of assets even after the care fee claim the council is seeking from what you say.there are circumstances in which a jointly owned property can be disregarded by the council where certain relatives live in the property but because you were not related to your friend, these will not apply. It is possible to negotiate a reduction in the valuation for the purposes of means testing a jointly owned property but if your friends share was worth around £66,000, even with the joint ownership reduction you may negotiate, this will not be sufficient to reduce the value of your friends share so as to reduce the potential claim the council has on your friends share of the property.If your friend had other assets at the time of their passing besides the house, then the council's claim will spread evenly and proportionately over all of her assets and there is no requirement that the house bears all of the share of the claim. So for example for smplicity's sake, let us pretend your friend had a bank account with £33,000 in it at the time of their death, then the councils claim would be split as to 2/3s on the house and 1/3 on the bank account (sharing the claim proportionately over the two assets).in addition, you can challenge the amount of the council's claim to ensure it is correct and if there are any errors or irregularities, you can challenge these through an appeals process at the council.Otherwise, the council would under these circumstances have a potential claim against your friends share as it was in the property I fear. Accordingly you may need to consider either raising finance though a life time mortgage or if it is rented out, through a buy to let mortgage (buy to let mortgages can be difficult to obtain once one reaches a certain age depending upon your circumstances) or alternatively you may need to consider either offering a share to a family or friend or finally if all else fails you may need to consider a sale of the property.If you prefer to avoid selling the property, given the amount in question, it should be possible to speak to a financial adviser with regards ***** ***** raising a lifetime mortgage - this is a type of mortgage product that does not need to be repaid during your lifetime and is repaid after your death so it can be a useful way of releasing capital whilst not having to worry about repayments. The downside is that interest is charged on any money you seek to release from the property and so this will leave you with less potentially to leave to children or family in your will. however, the sort of sum, it is not likely to impact your estate to heavily in terms of interest charges so is worth a potential investigation to weigh up your options.I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

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