Q: My husband and I married over 60 years ago but the house we have lived in all our married lives is in my husband’s name only. He has now been diagnosed with dementia and I’m worried what will happen if he has to go into care. Will the house have to be sold to pay for it? He has always handled our affairs and I don’t know what to do. We made Wills years ago leaving everything to each other, and I suppose after that the children get everything.
A: Firstly, be reassured that your home will not have to be sold if your husband goes into care. Property may be included in the financial assessment to determine who pays for care home fees, but a home will not be taken into account if a husband, wife or civil partner also lives in the property; similarly a close relative over 60 years of age, a dependent child or a disabled or incapacitated relative who lives there.
If your husband dies before you, it does not matter that the house is solely in his name as you have Wills leaving everything to each other. Once probate has been granted, provided the Wills have been drawn up properly the property should transfer to you without any problems. If however you pass away before your husband, or you have to move into a nursing home, then the local authority could include the property in their assessment and place a charge on the same representing the care home fees.
As inheritance rules and tax liabilities will have changed since you made your Wills, you should get a solicitor to update them. At the same time, it would make good sense to set up Lasting Powers of Attorney so that your children can manage your affairs when it becomes necessary. Doing this whilst your husband still has mental capacity will save both time and money.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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