Paying for care in Northern Ireland

8. Frequently asked questions

My husband is going into a home. We have savings in a joint account and own our own property. What should we do?

When you complete the financial assessment form, remember that the HSC trust is assessing your spouse for care, not you. Split the savings in two and set up separate bank accounts. This is because the HSC trust may keep dividing the money in the joint account for assessment purposes, regardless of how much of it has been spent on your partner's care, leaving you with less than your original half. You may wish to advise the trust of your intention to split the assets in advance to ensure that the reasons for doing so are documented. While you still live in the property, the trust should not suggest that you move to free up some cash.

I sold my own home to live with and care for my mum, who is now going into residential accommodation. What will happen to my mum's house now?

Your mother's house may automatically be disregarded by the HSC trust when it assesses her financial situation (for instance, if your father still lives there). However, even if the property is not automatically disregarded, the HSC trust can still decide to disregard it, since you have given up your own home to live there and be a carer.

I own half the property in which my grandmother resides, but she is going into care now. What will happen to my share of the property?

This is very complex and will depend upon your individual circumstances. For some, the whole property will not be considered in the financial assessments, whereas for others, half of the property will. In carrying out the financial assessment, the HSC trust will need to consider whether your grandmother can legally sell her share of the property, whether there is a willing buyer for it, and how much they would pay for her share. If the property is sold, you will get half of the proceeds, less the cost of the sale and any outstanding money owed on the mortgage. The HSC trust will then reassess your grandmother, taking into account her half of the money. As this is complex, you may wish to get independent legal advice about your rights (see 'Other useful organisations' below).

My dad is going into care and they say he needs to sell his house. Can we buy it from him for less than it is worth?

A sale for less than the property is worth may be treated as a 'deprivation of capital'. This means that the HSC trust may think that your father has deliberately tried to reduce the value of his assets so that he qualifies for care funded by the HSC trust. However, you could rent the property out if the rent meets the cost of the weekly care home bills. Many carers prefer to do this if they want to keep the property in the family.