We’re going to look at whether your local authority can force you to sell your home to pay for care costs. One of the questions I’m asked all of the time is, is my home safe, because quite often your home is the biggest asset that you’re going to pass on to your family and your loved ones. There is a real fear that your house is going to be taken by the local authority to pay for care costs, or by the revenue to pay for taxes after your death. With the right Will, you can make sure these things don’t happen. In reality, it’s quite rare for homes to be sold at the insistence of a local authority, but it can happen if you’ve got assets more than £23,000 pounds and you go into care. Your local authority isn’t responsible for paying for your care, you are.
At £23,500 pounds, your care costs are met entirely by you or your estate. And at that point, your local authority may well put a legal charge against your property. Now, if you’ve got a surviving spouse who is living in the property, that won’t happen and the property has to be ignored for those purposes. If you haven’t got a surviving spouse, your family could perhaps rent the house out to try and provide a little bit of income, but ultimately, a legal charge may well be put against that property. When it is sold after your death the local authority will get their share, but they’re not going to force you to sell it whilst it’s still being used. If it’s left empty or it’s left on unused, then they may well ask for a sale to be made. I hope this basic overview helps, but it’s a really complex subject. So if you want more information, I really urge you to get in touch.