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Property Ownership Problems

The cost of social care, family disagreements, or inheritance problems could put your property at risk

Here’s information on how your property could be at risk. Scroll down to find out how we can help or keep on reading about property ownership problems.

Property Ownership Problems

Property owners have legal rights and responsibilities but they’re not always easy to recognise. Jointly owning property can result in complex situations. The potential problems increase with the number of individuals who own a property or have invested money in it.

People who own their properties jointly are affected by special rules, such as about:

  • who can inherit the property
  • who has the right to sell or mortgage it
  • what happens when someone has to move into residential care
  • who has to pay tax on it

Couples usually buy their homes jointly but they don’t always supply the purchase money equally. If this isn’t properly recorded they could find they are wrongly assessed for social care funding or their relatives might lose out when an owner dies.

Many people are aware they can own their property jointly as tenants in common but they don’t know whether they should or what else they need to do to really achieve the outcome they want.

Some families get together to buy a property they can all share as one household. If they disagree later on it can be difficult to get out of the arrangement unless their individual rights have been protected.

Failing to find out about property rights and responsibilities or ignoring them can lead to expensive and upsetting mistakes.

Property and Social Care

Many people worry their property will have to be sold to pay for their care. It’s true that the way in which you own your property could have a major impact on whether you qualify for social care funding. Some financial assessments are carried out incorrectly because there’s not enough documentation to show the true property ownership picture. The good news is you can prevent property ownership problems relating to social care by getting the right advice and taking effective action.

Business and Trust Properties

It’s not just families who can experience property problems. Many businesses occupy premises owned by an individual business owner; this is often the case in family-run businesses. If the property owner dies or loses mental capacity or the business owners fall out, it could lead to problems.

Trustees are often the owners of the legal title of a property if they are holding it on behalf of beneficiaries of the trust. They are responsible for the property and anything that happens to it. The trustees may have to rent the property out to produce income for the beneficiaries or they might decide to allow a beneficiary to occupy the property. Each of those situations can lead to problems unless the trustees take proper legal advice.

Whether you own your own home or own property that is occupied by someone else or have business premises, it’s important to consider what will happen to the property if you should die or become mentally or physically unable to manage it and how the property is to be protected if you should find yourself in relationship, business or financial difficulties.

Don’t rely on estate agents or conveyancers to tell you the risks

Information and advice about the inheritance rights and legal responsibilities of owning property will not usually be supplied by estate agents, mortgage advisers, banks or even conveyancers. It’s a specialist area of the law. Members of Solicitors For The Elderly are lawyers trained to advise on these issues.

Here’s how we can help…

  • Advise you on social care funding rules if you have a family member going into care (or has recently gone in to care)
  • Advise you about acting as a trustee or if you’re appointed as an Attorney or a Deputy by the Court of Protection
  • Help if a deceased relative was in care and was incorrectly made to self-fund their care prior to their death
  • Help you or relatives who have high-level care needs explore NHS Continuing Healthcare or Social Services funding options;
  • Advise you if you are thinking of  making a gift or leaving assets to someone who you believe will go into care;
  • Advise you if who own or are buying a property jointly and think that you or your joint-owner will go into care;
  • Help with disputes about the beneficial ownership of property that is being assessed by Social Services in relation to paying for care
  • Advise families and business owners on the options available for property ownership.
  • Help you decide whether to change from joint tenants in equity to joint tenants in common.

We’ll help you to get to grips with property ownership rules and help you to protect your rights and interests.

Use the contact form below to send us your property ownership query