Two years ago my father sold his house and he gave me £ 100,000 to buy a bigger house so he could live with us. He also has a saving of £ 50,000.
He has dementia and is slowly getting worse, so I am planning for the future. Maybe he should eventually be placed in a nursing home, but what would happen if he paid for his care?
Would the local government cause me to sell my house to pay for his care, even though his money was a gift for my house? His name is not on the deeds or mortgage. Or would they just use the savings of £ 50,000?
Healthcare invoice: will a municipality force the sale of the purchased house with the help of a parent who later moves to a care center? (Stock image)
Tanya Jefferies, from This is Money, replies: The government is considering a major upheaval of care financing for older people, so who pays and how the system is organized can change significantly in the coming years.
But for the time being, the current regime in which someone's possessions – including the parental home – is depleted to £ 23,250 if they have to go to a nursing home.
We have asked a care expert from a leading charity for the elderly to explain where you are in relation to your home, as it was purchased with the help of a substantial gift from your father who now lives with you.
Joel Lewis, policy officer for health and care at Age UK, replies: The local government can not & # 39; create & # 39; that you sell your house, but if it thinks that your father has deliberately given away assets to prevent him from paying for his care, he can demand costs from you.
If you would not be able to raise the money to pay these costs in a different way, you might have to consider selling your house.
However, it seems like this would be a haven for you, so you would probably have to look at other sources of funding to pay such an account if you received one.
Joel Lewis: "The local government would like to investigate whether the money your father gave you was a way to avoid healthcare costs."
How do councils decide who pays?
Financial assessments for social care are made by the person who needs care and normally, with the property in your name, would mean that the municipality would not be able to include it in their assessment of your father's assets.
Your father would be liable to pay his health care costs because his £ 50,000 savings would cost him the £ 23,250 upper limit of test threshold for state-funded care.
If he still needs care, if his savings have dropped below £ 23,250, then the council should start financing its care.
However, it is possible that the local government wants to investigate whether the money your father gave you was a way to avoid healthcare costs, in what is known as "asset deprivation."
Intentional deprivation of assets is when the local government believes that a person has actively disposed of assets in order to increase the eligibility for local government funding.
When the local government conducts a financial assessment for residential care, they will ask questions about previously owned assets, not just those currently owned.
When deciding whether or not there has been deliberate deprivation, the councils take into account the point at which the disposal took place, the health and care needs of your father at that time (whether he had the diagnosis of dementia), whether he was familiar with social services and what was the reasonable expectation that he should take care of in the future.
Because of the diagnosis of dementia, they can consider their level of mental capacity and determine whether a family member has authority over his finances.
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In the end it comes down to the intention and the motivation to give it good.
It is also important to remember that there is no safe cutoff & # 39; is, as there is with the seven-year rule for inheritance tax, and the local government can look back as far as desired.
What if the council decides that there is deliberate deprivation of possessions?
If the local government considers that it has been actively given away to ensure that it is not included in a healthcare product test, it may decide that you & # 39; fictitious capital & # 39; has that same value as the gift.
This means that its value can still be taken into account in the financial assessment, even if your father is no longer the owner of the relevant asset.
It is also possible that if the local government finances one's residential care costs and later determines that a person deliberately & # 39; deliberately & # 39; deprived of possessions, they can recover the healthcare costs from the person to whom the possessions have been transferred.
This may not be the full £ 100,000 that your father has given you for your home.
What the church can do is add this sum to the £ 50,000 that he has saved and instead find out what contribution he needs to make to his care.
But the council can also take into account the level of care that you give to your father in the house you share with him if they want to recover expenses.
Can you make such a decision?
The decision of the board must be reasonable and there is a complaints procedure for those who want to take a decision and who need to contact their local authorities. You may also want to obtain legal advice.
Age UK has drawn up a fact sheet on the deprivation of assets that you can find here.
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