Could a ‘Life Interest Trust Will’ help to safeguard against care home fees?

Could a ‘Life Interest Trust Will’ help to safeguard against care home fees?

Paige George – Private Client Executive at Cozens-Hardy  – looks at the most commonly asked questions surrounding later life planning.

The advancement of medicine and the fact that our population is living longer than ever makes the discussion of care home fees and later life planning essential.

There are three questions most commonly asked by our clients – “What happens if I go into care – can my husband/wife still remain living in our home?; “If I go into care will my children ultimately end up losing their inheritance?”; “Will I lose all of my hard-earned money to pay for my care?”

Currently, if you have over £23,250 worth of capital you will pay for your own care – whether that is for care provided in your home or fees for a care home. If you have £14,250 – £23,250 worth of capital then the local council will fund some of your care and you would contribute the rest. If you have less than £14,250 then the local council will fund your residential care (up to a certain limit per week).

Rest assured that, using current rules, if a husband/wife went into a residential care home first and the ‘remaining’ husband/wife was still living in the matrimonial home, the value of the house would be disregarded during the local authority’s means testing.

There are ways we can help you protect your children’s inheritance and one of the most frequently used and preferred options is a ‘Life Interest Trust’ incorporated within your Will.

In brief, this type of Will can safeguard the share of the house belonging to the first to die (usually 50%) by putting it into trust. This trust comes into effect upon the death of the person making the Will. Whilst the trust gives the surviving spouse the right to live in the property rent free and to move house if necessary, it also prevents the 50% share of the property being added to the survivor’s assets if the local authority assessed their level of assets for the purposes of them paying for care.

Everyone’s circumstances are, of course, completely individual and this arrangement is not suitable for everyone. However, if you are concerned about care home fees then our friendly team of lawyers are able to advise you as to what options might be appropriate.

In all and any circumstances, if you are considering putting your property into trust we would always advise seeking legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

For further information, you can contact Executive Paige George by phone on: 01603 724631or by email at: pgeorge@cozens-hardy.com.