Q&A Can a solicitor transfer ownership of my house to my children now, before I die?

Q:        After my husband died last year, I decided to make things as easy as I could for my children when I die. One of the things I wondered was whether I could transfer ownership of my house to them now? Could a solicitor do that for me?

A:        Yes, ownership can be transferred before you die, but a solicitor would warn you that there are many things you should consider before deciding to do that.

Firstly, at your stage in life it is unlikely that transferring property to your children would avoid having to pay future care home fees, as the local authority could view the transfer as unlawful deprivation of your assets with a view to avoiding payment. In that case they would financially assess you as having ‘notional capital’ and treat you as self-funding. Proving non deprivation of assets can be complex.

Another issue regarding transfer is that you would lose your right of occupancy of the property. Further, if anything should happen in the future that resulted in you changing your mind about who should benefit from owning your property, for example an offspring’s divorce, it would no longer be in your Will and you would have no say about future ownership or who would occupy the property.

There are different ways of ensuring your children receive your property as an alternative to outright transfer. One option might be to transfer say 50% of the property to your children, which would give you and them the right of occupancy. Holding the property as Tenants in Common would allow you the freedom to leave your 50% to whomsoever you choose in your Will. Alternatively, you and your children could hold the property as Joint Tenants and the property would then automatically go to your children upon your death. Again, however, neither of these options would protect your assets against payment of care home fees, so do seek more in-depth legal advice.

This question has been answered by Clare Lewis, a Licensed Conveyancer with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194

Clare Lewis

Clare Lewis

Licensed Conveyancer

Licensed Conveyancer in our Wrexham office.