It is estimated that one in three women and one in four men over 65 will need to go into care. When they do, the local authority can force the sale of a home to fund the care costs which has caused a lot of controversy and debate.
IF YOU want to protect your home for the future, one of the most effective ways of doing so is by making a property trust will.
Essential to the working of a property trust will is the way in which you own your property. Most couples own their property jointly. This means that when one of them dies, the property will automatically pass to the survivor.
It is possible to change that so you each own an identifiable share in the property. You can then either give your share away in your lifetime, or put it into trust for the next generation, or dispose of it by your will – the property trust will.
Then if the surviving co-owner needs to go into care, the local authority could only take into account that person’s half of the property and not the whole.
This also covers potential problems caused by remarriage. Should a partner remarry after their spouse’s death, this could have a dramatic effect on where the property ends up. The act of remarriage cancels any will made whilst both partners were alive and the new partner would then become the next of kin.
Any children would then not inherit and the estate could pass outside the family.
With a property trust will, your half of the house is protected by the trust and will not pass outside your immediate family. The terms of the trust dictate that children can only inherit when both parents die, just as they would normally.
You can move – the terms of the trust are flexible. We always ensure that the person living in the property has the option to move to a new property if they wish.
Property trust wills are not a legal “loophole”, but straightforward common sense. If your partner requires care after your death, why would you want to leave him or her your entire estate outright shortly before he or she is about to be means tested?
The trust does not get around inheritance tax however. The main benefit of a property will trust is planning for possible future care costs. It also protects your half of the home from the problem of a surviving partner remarrying.