Three years ago my mother (who is now 79) put my name on the deeds to her bungalow so that we owned it in joint names. If mum needed to go into residential care would she have to sell it to fund her care and what happens to my half?
There is excellent guidance available on the Age Concern website with regard to whether or not such a gift into joint names three years prior to entering into residential care would amount to a dissipation of assets.
In other words would it be a transaction that could be questioned by the Local Authority whereby it could be argued that your mother deliberately transferred the property into your joint names in an attempt to avoid having to pay Care costs. If it was deemed that this was the case, then the gift three years previously would be capable of being overturned and the property could be sold with a view to funding your mother’s Care.
If you lived there with her prior to, and since, the date of transfer into your joint names then obviously there would be an argument for saying that your mother was doing so to protect your position as you had lived there for some time and presumably contributed towards its maintenance, repair and outgoings.
I would strongly advise anyone considering these matters to consult carefully the websites of Age Concern and other organisations where invaluable and useful information can be obtained on this complex subject or take formal advice from a lawyer specialising in this field.
* Emyr Pierce is Managing Director of Emyr Pierce Solicitors in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, Western Mail Conveyancer of the Year, specialising in Domestic and Commercial Property. Contact www.emyrpierce.co.uk or email email@example.com