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Your home, your assets and your residential care or nursing home fees

If you have to spend some time in a residential care or nursing home, you will have to pay part of your fees. However, this doesn’t always mean that you will have to sell your home and other assets.

If you live in Northern Ireland and have over £23,250 in capital (savings, investments and property including the value of your home), your local Health and Social Care Trust will assess you as being able to meet the full cost of your residential care or nursing home.

If you plan ahead, you can make sure you still have something of value left to leave in your will.

If you own your home, it may be counted as capital 12 weeks after you move into a residential care or nursing home on a permanent basis. However, your home won’t be counted as capital if any of the following people still live there:

• your husband, wife, partner or civil partner
• a close relative who is 60 or over, or incapacitated
• a close relative under the age of 16 who you’re legally liable to support
• your ex-husband, ex-wife, ex-civil partner or ex-partner if they are a lone parent

Keeping your home and assets

Setting up a family trust

Setting up a family trust is one way of transferring the ownership of your home or other assets to someone else while you’re still alive.

Giving money or property to other people

You may choose to give money or assets to your children or grandchildren. There is no monetary limit on gifts to your children, grandchildren or other relatives, but they may have to pay tax on any interest or income they receive.
If you give an asset to someone within the seven years before you die, the person who receives the gift may have to pay Inheritance Tax on it.

It is against the law to transfer ownership of an asset to another person specifically to avoid paying your care home fees. The Trust may consider that you have deprived yourself of a capital asset in order to reduce your accommodation charge. If this is found to be the case, the Trust may treat you as still possessing the asset and can recover the cost of your care from you or the person(s) who received the gift.

Inheritance planning

Before you move into a care home permanently, you should plan your inheritance and make a will if you haven’t already done so.


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