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Part 3: Case - Mrs Yule

The Disturbing Case of Mrs Yule

In 1995, a 78 year old lady living in Rutherglen, Mrs Yule, decided to make a gift of her house to her granddaughter. At the time, Mrs Yule was in good health, and was living happily at home with no intention of going into care.

Some 9 months later, the poor lady fell and broke her arm, and her health rapidly deteriorated, ending up with Mrs Yule being admitted to a care home about 16 months after the date of the house transfer.

South Lanarkshire Council decided that the gifting of Mrs Yule’s house to her granddaughter was carried out deliberately to avoid having to pay for the cost of her care in the nursing home, and after a contested court case, the Council were successful in their action to have the value of the house treated as an asset of Mrs Yule when assessing her ability to pay for her own care.

This year, if you have assets/savings valued at more than £27,250 when you are admitted into a residential, or care home, you are expected to use your assets to pay for the cost of your care. For a large number of us, this can end up with the family home having to be sold in order to pay care home fees, although it is important to point out that the family home is not taken into account so long as it is required for use by the spouse who is not in care.

What happens however, if the person admitted to care has already lost his/her partner, or if the partner of the person in care passes away?

In the majority of cases, the house will end up being sold and the sale proceeds applied to pay for care home fees. Yet another example of families who have been encouraged to save for their retirement and to buy their own home having their children’s inheritance taken back into the public purse to pay for a service that is provided free of charge to others.

The decision in the case of Mrs Yule would suggest that for home-owners, there is nothing much that can be done to protect the family’s inheritance.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and there are practical steps that can be taken now to ensure that you do everything that you can legally to pass on the family home to the next generation.

This area of the law is hugely complex, however, and the precise course of action to be followed is unique to the circumstances of each family group. With an ageing population, and the failure of the Scottish government to grasp the nettle of how to fund properly the care of the elderly, this is an issue that is likely to affect most home-owners in the years to come.

As local experts in family law with a particular knowledge in the complex and difficult area of care home fees, Cullen Kilshaw can undertake appropriate action now to keep any care costs incurred as low as possible.

Read on, paying for the cost of residential care.  Comments from David Kilshaw »