Care home fees is one of the major concerns that the elderly face especially when they have low savings or if they have used their life savings to purchase a house and are worried that it may need to be sold to cover care home expenses. 

The good news for homeowners is that according to a recent announcement, the UK Government is introducing adult social care reforms in 2023 that are going to benefit those residents who need to fund their care home fees. As per Build Back Better: Our Plan for Health and Social Care – GOV.UK anyone in need of a care home facility will not be required to spend more than £ 86,000 for the purpose. Once they reach this cap, their care home fees will become the sole responsibility of the state; whether they were paying for their care home expense in full or part earlier on.

Similarly, the upper limit for eligibility to pay for care home fees is also being increased from £23, 250 to £100,000. This means that anyone holding assets less than £100,00 will not have to pay more than 20 per cent of the value of their assets to cover care home expenses.

Can My Daughter Continue To Live In My House If I Go Into Care?

Yes, your daughter can continue to live in your house if you go into care especially if you are funding your care home fees through savings or other income. In this case, your home may be considered as capital during a financial assessment by local councils but may not necessarily have to be sold to pay care home fees. 

However, if your savings or investments are not sufficient to cover your care home fees, your daughter can only continue living in your house (and prevent it from being sold) by fulfilling any of the following conditions:

  • She is a joint owner of the house
  • She is above 60 years of age
  • She is under 18 years of age
  • Your spouse/partner is also living in the house
  • Your former spouse/partner (who is a single parent) is also living in the house
  • The house is rented out (either to her or a tenant)

This is termed “property disregard”. However, if any of these conditions are not being met, the local council has the authority of a “discretionary disregard”; under which the local council has the discretion not to include the property during a means test or consider it for sale to cover care home fees. The essential requirement, in this case, would be that the property will serve as the main residence of the claimant. In fact, if they have been living at the premises for a while especially before the parent(s)  moved in to care.

To explore the topic in detail, we aim to answer the following questions:

  • What Happens To My Parents’ House If They Go Into Care?
  • Can A Jointly Owned Home Be Sold To Pay For Care?
  • Can Council Take My House To Pay For Care?
  • How Can I Prevent Selling My House To Pay Care Home Fees?

What Happens To My Parents’ House If They Go Into Care?

If your parents move into a care home facility and their house becomes unoccupied, there are many options on how the premises may be used; but this depends on the results of your parents’ financial assessment carried out by local councils.

Should your parents have sufficient funds in the form of savings and investments available to bear the expense of their care home fees (whether partially or wholly) their house remains untouched with regards to care home costs. However, if their savings and investments are not enough to pay for care home costs, their house would be considered for sale for payment of care home fees by local councils.

Even if your parent’s house does come under consideration during the means test, the local authorities extend a grace period of 12 weeks in such cases so that the claimant(s) and their family members are able to make a decision about their finances and property. This means that irrespective of your decision regarding your parent’s house, they will be moved into care home residency and expenses for the first 12 weeks will be borne by the state completely.

During this time, you and your parents can discuss the options at hand on how to deal with their property.

Can A Jointly Owned Home Be Sold To Pay For Care?

A jointly owned home can only be sold to pay for care if both parties have a mutual agreement on the sale and are willing to sell the house for one of them to receive care. However, if the joint owners are spouses or partners and one of them continues to reside at the premises, the property cannot be considered in the means-tested carried out by local authorities. Hence, it cannot be sold to pay for care. 

According to an article published in The Guardian in such situations, it is only the proportion of ownership that a care claimant has in the property that will be considered for their means assessment. The purpose of this assessment by local councils is to calculate the amount that the claimant can afford to contribute towards their care home fees and the amount that the state is supposed to fund. There is no obligation on the joint owner to hand over their proportion of ownership or agree to a sale of the property due to the other owner being in care.

Can Council Take My House To Pay For Care?

No, the council will not forcefully claim your house to pay for care especially if it is in use of your spouse/partner or any qualifying dependant(s); which include the following:

  • spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner
  • a close relative over 60 years of age
  • a close relative below 16 years of age (legal dependant)
  • former spouse or partner if they are a single parent

If a homeowner moves into a care facility indefinitely and there is no claim on the residence of their house (this means that there is no family member or a qualifying dependant living in their house) the council may then seek sales of their property. However, this too doesn’t take place on an immediate basis. Yet, in such situations, the homeowner may not qualify for care costs to be taken care of by the council. 

Care costs are means-tested. This means if someone needs care but is unable to bear the expenses the council takes care of them. This is a decision taken after a detailed financial assessment of the eligible individual, their income, savings and property. To learn more about when the council might pay for your social care you may want to research on your own prior to making a decision.

How Can I Prevent Selling My House To Pay Care Home Fees?

If someone is not willing to sell their house, there is an option of Deferred Payment Agreement according to which the homeowner signs a formal agreement with their local council. The local council agrees to bear the entire care home expense of the claimant until they are ready to sell their house or the property is sold after the death of the claimant. 

If you want to check your eligibility for the DPA scheme, below is a list of key criteria to be met:

  • your savings and capital are less than £23,250 
  • you have no other funds to pay for care home expense
  • you are a homeowner or are able to offer any other asset as security
  • in case of your home serving as security, it must be unoccupied

Sometimes it is advisable for individuals on low income to consider their situation and make a decision whether they will be better off staying home and receiving care (as well as state benefits) or will they be taken care of better in a care home facility. In such cases, they may consider applying for Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free state benefit applicable to those individuals who have surpassed the state pension age and require supervision due to their health condition. It is aimed towards providing a monthly allowance to those individuals who need assistance with meeting the extra costs of a disability or the support of a carer due to old age.

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is a benefit intended for people aged 16 years and above; aimed to cover the additional daily costs of living with a long-term disability or illness; be it a physical or mental health condition. It is gradually replacing DLA (Disability Living Allowance) by providing recipients with: 

  • extra money in addition to their prevailing benefits 
  • a reduction in their Council Tax or Road Tax bills 
  • discounts on travel

Conclusion:

Whether or not your house may be occupied by a close family member after you move into a care home facility depends on a number of factors. If one of the spouses continues to live in the house, there is no hurdle to your children occupying the residence as well. However, if that is not the case, there is certain age criteria as well as ownership details that need to be met in order for your children to continue living in your home after you move into a care facility.

FAQs: Can My Daughter Continue To Live In My House If I Go Into Care?

What happens to my parents’ house if they go into care?

If your parents move into a care home facility and their house becomes unoccupied, how the premises may be used depends on the results of your parents’ financial assessment carried out by local councils. Should your parents have sufficient funds in the form of savings and investments available to bear the expense of their care home fees (whether partially or wholly) their house remains untouched with regards to care home costs. However, if their savings and investments are not enough to pay for care home costs, their house would be considered for sale for payment of care home fees by local councils.

Can I put my house in trust to avoid care home fees?

Yes, you can put your house in a trust to avoid having to pay a care home fee but it restricts your finances and if you need additional finances in the future, you will not be able to consider selling your house. Can I put my house in trust to avoid care home fees?

Do you have to sell your house to pay for social care?

No, you don’t have to necessarily sell your house to get care especially if you are a temporary resident. Even in the case of being a permanent resident, local authorities will carry out a detailed financial assessment of your savings and capital. Should your savings suffice to pay for your care home (whether in whole or partially) there will be no need to sell your house. It is only in case of lack of savings or your choice to opt for a deferred payment through the sale of your house once you are no longer there, that the state will claim to sell your house.

How do I protect my inheritance from a nursing home in the UK?

While it may not be ethically correct to deliberately avoid paying for nursing home fees, many people choose to appoint trustees (usually family members) to manage the trust under which their inheritance, savings or assets are placed. 

Are next of kin responsible for care home fees?

No, next of kin are not responsible for care home fees. Once an individual claims the need for a care home, their finances are assessed by the council authorities. If claimants have the means to bear the expense of care homes partially or wholly, they may fund their expenses on their own. Otherwise, the state can fund their care or ask them to sell any property that they may have and cover the expense. 

References: 

Paying for adult social care in England

Will my sister who cared for our dad be made homeless? | This is Money

Will my mother have to sell half of our house to pay for care?

Jointly Owned Property and Care Home Fees

Age UK

Factsheet 38 – Property and paying for residential care

AVOIDING CARE HOME FEES IN 2021 | Tips on what to do!

Who Pays for What in 2021/22? – carehome.co.uk advice

How to manage your parent’s property once they’ve moved out

Can I be held responsible for my parent’s care home fees? – carehome.co.uk advice

Do I have to sell my home to pay for care? | Age UK

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