A row of houses

Selling a home to pay for care: Is it always necessary?

Some people have to sell their home to help pay for their care, but there are many situations where people do not have to do this.

‘My aunt has dementia and may need to move into a care home soon. Will she need to sell her home to pay for her care?’ 

Your aunt won’t necessarily have to sell her home to pay for her care – it depends on her circumstances. 

Her local authority will assess her finances to see how much of her care fees she must pay herself. There are situations where her property wouldn’t be included in this financial assessment. Even if it is, there might be alternatives to selling her home. 

Care at home 

While your aunt has a care package at home that meets her needs, this home will not be included in her local authority’s financial assessment.

Many people with dementia live well at home for many years, adjusting their care package as their needs change. 

If your aunt needs to move into residential care, her local authority must ignore her home in its financial assessment when particular people also live there. 

‘Qualifying’ people 

If your aunt needs to move into residential care, her local authority must ignore her home in its financial assessment when particular people also live there. 

This is called a ‘mandatory property disregard’ and it applies while a ‘qualifying person’ lives in your aunt’s home.

A ‘qualifying person’ could be a partner or spouse, or an estranged or divorced partner if they’re a lone parent. It also includes certain relatives who are disabled or aged 60-plus. If your aunt has children aged under 18 who live there, it applies to them too. 

More leeway 

If there isn’t a compulsory reason for the local authority to ignore your aunt’s home in its financial assessment, it may still use its discretion to not include it. 

For example, it might do this if someone has given up their own home to move in with your aunt and care for her. This isn’t guaranteed – it’s the local authority’s choice over whether it provides this leeway. 

Rent or defer 

If your aunt’s home is included in her local authority’s financial assessment, she may need to sell it to pay for her care. However, there might be ways to avoid or delay this. 

Some people can rent out their property and use the rental income to cover care fees. This wouldn’t suit everybody, but it could work for some.

For legal advice, Solicitors for the Elderly could help find a solicitor near you with relevant experience.

Others make an agreement with the local authority to ‘defer’ or delay paying for care. Costs usually need to be paid back within certain timeframes, with fees and interest added. For some people, this means they don’t have to sell the home, at first or at all. 

You can complain to the local authority if you disagree with it including a person’s home in a financial assessment for care costs. 

For legal advice, Solicitors for the Elderly could help find a solicitor near you with relevant experience. 

Legal and financial

Financial and legal issues for people with dementia and their carers, including assessments and paying for care.

Read more

Dementia together magazine: Feb/Mar 20

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Categories

26 comments

Add a comment

My sister (58) has lived with my dad for more than 20 years and has cared for him for the past few years. His dementia has worsened and he is becoming more aggressive. If he needs to be cared for in a home, will his house be sold to pay for it? Will she be made homeless?

This is helpful
0

Hi there Jo,

Thanks for getting in touch.

Your dad's home will not be taken into account if one of the following people also lives in the property, and will continue to live there after he has moved into a care home:

• husband, wife or partner
• close relative over the age of 60
• dependent child
• relative who is disabled or incapacitated.

A mandatory property disregard should be applied in these cases, his property ignored in his financial assessment and not expected to be used towards his care fees. If your sister is under 60 and not ‘incapacitated’ then a mandatory disregard would not be applied.

However, as it says in our 'Paying for Care and Support in England' factsheet (https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/532lp-paying-…) -

“If your house is also the permanent home of someone who has been caring for you, for as long as they are living there, your Local Authority has discretion to decide whether or not to include the value of the home in the assessment. This applies especially in cases where the carer has given up their own home to care for you.”

Therefore the Local Authority may choose to use their discretion and allow your sister to stay, ‘ignoring’ the home in his financial assessment. They don’t have to do this as they would with a mandatory disregard, but they may choose to. There is more information on both these types of property disregard in Annex B of the Care and Support Statutory guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/…).

If permanent care may be needed soon (before your sister turns 60) she may wish to speak to the Local Authority about her situation. They may be able to offer some reassurance how they would treat this - essentially whether they are likely to use their discretion or not.

If they didn’t use their discretion they should be able to signpost to their housing department so your sister could look at local housing options. Shelter also have Housing Advisers who may be able to help if she was facing homelessness (https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help). Hopefully this won’t be necessary, but it’s good to know what is available just in case.

We hope this is useful, Jo.

Alzheimer's Society Knowledge Officer

This is helpful
0

My cousin lived for many years in an alztheimers care home and died in March. Towards the end of his life was completely cognitively incapacitated. During that time he owned a house which was sold 3 months before he died and the proceeds minus 40,000 put into a bank account in his name . I am wondering under what circumstances his house could be sold from under him

This is helpful
0

Hello Les,

If someone no longer has mental capacity to make the decision to sell their property, another person could only do it if they had the legal power to do so. For example, someone who was appointed a Lasting Power of Attorney (Property and Finance) or someone who applied for deputyship.

If no LPA’s or deputies are involved, the Local Authority may themselves apply for permission from the court so they can sell property to fund someone’s care fees.

All decisions made on a person’s behalf would have to considered in their ‘best interests’ to comply with the Mental Capacity Act.

Here are some pages with more information -

> Lasting Powers of Attorney and deputies: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/legal-and-financial/lasting-p…

> Mental Capacity Act: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/legal-financial/mental-capaci…

We hope this is useful.

Alzheimer's Society Knowledge Officer

This is helpful
0

I'm the sole owner of my house ..if I died and my husband had to go into care because of dementia would my house have to be sold to pay his care home fees

This is helpful
0

Hello Sheila,
Thanks for getting in touch.
It may beneficial to seek legal advice - however, in the meantime, we can provide you with some general information:
Regardless of who is the owner, the house would be disregarded if your husband entered permanent care ('disregarded' meaning ignored and not included in the financial assessment for his care fees) as you are still living in it as your main home. This should be the case for as long as you are alive.
If your husband has no legal interest (i.e. his name isn’t on the property deeds) and no beneficial interest (i.e. he hasn’t significantly contributed to the initial or ongoing costs of the house) your house would usually be disregarded on that basis too. Only your husband's own capital and income should be included in the financial assessment for his care.
If you died before your husband, the property would be subject to your Will. If you have left your property to him in your Will, then the house could then be sold and the money used for care fees as it would then be his capital. If you left the property to someone or something else, it should go to them instead. It shouldn’t automatically transfer to your husband if you haven’t left it to him in your Will and he isn’t a joint tenant on the deeds.
We hope this is useful.
Alzheimer's Society Knowledge Officer

This is helpful
0

My sister has just gone into Memory Care. She has long term insurance that will cover most of her costs for the next 4.5 years. She owns a condo that needs to be sold. We have power of attorney. What is the best way to structure the sale? Sale price is $300k, mortgage is $240k.
Mortgage would have to be satisfied. What about the additional $60k? Would a contract for deed make sense?

This is helpful
0

Hi Larry, thanks for your comment.

Unfortunately we're not able to provide legal or financial advice. If you call our Dementia Connect support line you can talk to a trained Dementia adviser. If they're not able to help you directly with this issue, then they will be able to point you in the direction of somebody who can. You can call the support line on 0333 150 3456.

Hope this helps,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

My 90 year old aunt has dementia and has been in care home since March for assessment paid by a C19 fund. She almost certainly will not return to her home. She has no children and is a widow, and I and a cousin are executors but she would never give us POA. We are both in our 70's and live hundreds of miles from her home. We have looked at "Deputies" but given our circumstances we do not feel we could adequately fulfil the responsibility. I understand the council can loan money until the house is sold, but who can sell it given her mental capacity and take control of her finances?

This is helpful
0

Hi Brian, thanks for your comment.

Sorry to hear about your Aunt, that sounds like a difficult situation.

Unfortunately we cannot give legal or financial advice, but if you call our Dementia Connect support line you can talk to a trained Dementia adviser. If they're not able to help you directly with this issue, then they will be able to point you in the direction of somebody who can. You can call the support line on 0333 150 3456.

Hope this helps,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

my hus band has dementia.we own our own house .he has £10,000 savings so do I ,will they count my savings with his if he needs care.can they make me sell my home if he goes into care.Also if he had respite care would I have to pay.Thankyou

This is helpful
0

Hi Penny,

Unfortunately we cannot give legal or financial advice based your individual circumstances. This is because small details can make a big difference when it comes to the assessment to pay for care. We can only share general information which may apply to your situation based on the information we have been given. You can contact Solicitors for the elderly (there may be a charge) for advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

When Local Authorities are assessing someone’s finances for care, only the person with dementia’s finances will be included. The Local Authority may ask for details for both members of the couple but once they have ascertained what belongs to who, the savings/income/assets belonging to the partner should be disregarded (ignored) and not included in the financial assessment ( except in rare situation where it would actually benefit them to be assessed together)

If someone has jointly named savings in an account the Care and Support Statutory Guidance (para 12 of Annex B) says:-

‘Where a person has joint beneficial ownership of capital, except where there is evidence that the person own an unequal share, the total value should be divided equally between the joint owners and the person should be treated as owning an equal share. Once the person is in sole possession of their actual share, they can be treated as owning that actual amount.’

If someone enters permanent care and their partner who has been continuously living in their main home will continue to live there, their home should be disregarded in the financial assessment for care. If the circumstances change in the future, for example they die before their partner or enter care themselves, the house value may then be available for care home fees from that date forward.

For more information on the financial assessment for care, including respite, contact our dementia support line on 0333 150 3456 or see our 'Paying for Care and Support in England' factsheet: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/532lp-paying-…

Hope this helps, Penny.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

We own our own home , mortgage free, my wife is on pip I am her carer,her father has Alzheimer's and still lives at home with carers coming in 3 times a day, my wife and I would like to move in with him to look after his care,we would sell our home ,if he had to go into a care home, would we still be allowed to live there as my wife has a disability? or would the house have to be sold to pay for his care? Thanks Paul

This is helpful
0

Hi Paul, thanks for your comment.

Unfortunately we cannot give legal or financial advice based on your individual circumstances. This is because small details can make a big difference when it comes to the assessment to pay for care. We can only share general information which may apply to your situation based on the information we have been given. You can contact Solicitors for the elderly (there may be a charge) for advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

A property may be disregarded (ignored) in the financial assessment when someone enters permanent care if a qualifying person will continue to live there. This can include someone who is classed as ‘Incapacitated’. The Care and Support Statutory Guidance states;

‘For the purposes of the disregard the meaning of ‘incapacitated’ is not closely defined. However, it will be reasonable to conclude that a relative is incapacitated if one of the following conditions apply:

(a) the relative is receiving one (or more) of the following benefits: incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, disability living allowance, personal independence payments, armed forces independence payments, attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance, or a similar benefit
(b) the relative does not receive any disability related benefit but their degree of incapacity is equivalent to that required to qualify for such a benefit. Medical or other evidence may be needed before a decision is reached’

If the Local Authority are satisfied the above applies to the situation, and someone hasn’t moved into the property for the purpose of depriving assets, a mandatory property disregard will be applied and it will be disregarded in the financial assessment. If they don’t feel the criteria for a mandatory disregard was satisfied they could choose to apply a discretionary property disregard instead, which they may do if someone gives up their home to care for someone. However as this is discretionary, not mandatory, they don’t have to do this.

Your Local Authority can provide or signpost to information and guidance on ways to pay for care if you need more information. The guidance states ‘Local authorities should seek to give information that would be particularly pertinent to a person’s individual circumstances and facilitate access to an independent source of information or advice where relevant’

Hope this is helpful, Paul - apologies again that we can't give individual legal or financial advice.

Thanks,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

My parent has got dementia and does not wish to be in a care home and we want to care for them with their family, can the house be sold and the parent buys another home where there children can live and them so there altogether as one unit, we both names attached to the property

This is helpful
0

Hi Lyd, thanks for getting in touch.

It's difficult to say from your comment, but if you call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456 a trained dementia adviser will be able to give information, advice and support: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/national-dementia-helpline

You can also email us [email protected], if you prefer.

Hope this is helpful,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

what is the new law coming in 2020 regading alhzeimers care home fees. My mother has alhzeimers as if that is not enough of a worry I now have the fear that I will have to sell her house to pay care home fees. She has no savings just her home and pension. It is very unfair. Nobody should have to pay for care she has worked full time all her life .and paid all contributions now when she needs help she has to pay again .How is that fair. I am at my wits end .

This is helpful
1

Hi Edwin,
Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear about this situation with your mother.
Regarding the new law - have you seen this referenced somewhere? I'm not sure what you could be referring to exactly, but I can check with the relevant teams here to find out more detail.
In terms of getting more support for your mother, you may find it helpful to speak to one of our dementia advisers - they can give you information and advice tailored to your circumstances. If this sounds helpful, please call our support line on 0333 150 3456. More details about this (including opening hours) can be found here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/national-dementia-helpline
Hope this helps,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

Hi there my mother is in a care home therefore her home is being sold to fund her care. Am I entitled to any funds from the sale of her home or should it all be used for her care ?

This is helpful
0

Hi Louise, thanks for your comment.

Unfortunately, we cannot give legal advice and a lot depends on individual circumstances.

Generally if the vacant property solely belongs to the person entering care, most of the proceeds from the sale can be used for their care fees as they will be classed as a self-funder.

Once their savings drop to £23,250, the Local Authority may start to contribute to their care fees alongside their savings and income.

Once their savings drop to £14,250, your mum will retain all her savings and will only be expected to contribute to her fees from her income alone. The Local Authority should make up any shortfall.

The above rules are applied regardless of what is contained in a person’s will, as a will only comes into force when someone dies, it doesn’t protect money from being used while they are alive.

If you have some sort of legal interest or share in the property, you may wish to discuss this with the Local Authority and/or seek legal advice.

Hope this is helpful,

Alzheimer's Society knowledge team

This is helpful
0

My uncle has Alzhelmer's which for the time being is just about manageable. He lived with my Mother who both had 50% share in the house. My mother has since died and she left her share to myself and my sister. Neither of us live their and we wondering if the local council would be able to take into account the house in the financial assessment even though my uncle owns only 50% of it and neither myself or my sister want to sell.

This is helpful
0

Hi Kurtis,

Thanks for your comment.

The local authority can include part shares of property in the financial assessment for residential care. The amount taken into account will need to reflect the current market value, which is the price a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller. In some areas and for some properties the value of a part share may be very little, whereas in other places there is demand. If someone’s share is deemed to be above £23.250 they will be classed as a self-funder and expected to pay their own care fees for residential care.

You can find out more information regarding the process for determining market value for property shares in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance Annex B paragraphs 14-18:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/…

You may wish to ask for information and advice from your local authority and/or seek independent legal advice.

Hope this is helpful.

Alzheimer's Society knowledge team

This is helpful
0

my dad owns his own home but my sister feels she cannot cope any more as she has more or less become his full time carer. Do we approach private care homes about deferring payments until the need arises? Do they all offer this?

This is helpful
0

Hi there,
Thank you for getting in touch.
We contacted the author of this article - a Welfare and Social Care expert from our Knowledge team - to help provide answers to your questions:
'If your dad is currently being cared for at home by your sister, they are both entitled to having their needs assessed by the Local Authority (LA). They should be able to support your sister in her caring role and, if she cannot continue, meet any eligible needs your dad is assessed as having (subject to his financial assessment).
If care is needed at home to meet your dad's assessed needs, his main property is not included in the financial assessment. However, they will include most types of capital and income, see our 'Paying for care and support in England' factsheet for more details: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/532lp-paying-…
If your dad's needs can only be met in a care home, his property may be included in the financial assessment if there is no qualifying person living in it. For example, a spouse or a close relative over 60.
A deferred payment scheme is not available for homecare. It is only available for when care is needed in a care home, as that is when someone’s main property is included in the financial assessment.
Deferred payment agreements are arranged through the Local Authority and you/your dad can contact them to discuss, if he does not wish to sell his home at this stage. Deferred payment Agreements do only delay paying the costs of care and there are additional charges such as compound interest. They are completely different from a property disregard. You can find the eligibility criteria along with additional information in Chapter 9 of the statutory guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/…) but your Local Authority should give or signpost you to more personalised information on the options to pay for dad’s care.'
We hope this is helpful.
-
Alzheimer's Society digital team

This is helpful
0

i got told that when my dad got sectioned he was not aloud back
home but then people in clock view said he was not a risk so we had to find a nursing now they want 40/000 thuosand pound but we got told just to pay the top i dont no what to do

This is helpful
12

Hello David,
Thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like you're going through a very challenging time. We would recommend speaking with one of dementia advisers for advice and support. They can discuss the situation with your dad and provide information about residential care. Please call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456. (More information on opening times: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/dementia-connect-support-line)
Wishing you all the best, David.
-
Alzheimer's Society digital team

This is helpful
11
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.