In our Ask The Le­gal Ex­pert col­umn we get the lat­est spe­cial­ist ad­vice from the Car­marthen-based ru­ral prac­tice team at JCP Solic­i­tors.

Carmarthen Journal - - West Wales -

This month Sean Boucher, an As­so­ciate Solic­i­tors in Life­time Plan­ning, based in Car­marthen, tack­les an is­sue around putting your farm es­tate in trust.

I have been ap­proached by a wealth man­age­ment firm who say they can help me pre­vent my farm be­ing sold to fund long-term care, by way of a trust. Should I con­sider this op­tion to safe­guard my daugh­ter’s in­her­i­tance? A grow­ing in­dus­try has sprung up around the sale of schemes such as this – one firm in par­tic­u­lar hit the head­lines a few months ago be­cause they are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for fraud.

Mov­ing into a care home can be ex­pen­sive and many peo­ple are forced to sell as­sets to pay for such care. Help with care costs is avail­able from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, but it is means-tested and your sav­ings and prop­erty will be taken into ac­count when de­ter­min­ing whether you qual­ify.

So, it isn’t sur­pris­ing that peo­ple are look­ing for ways to avoid sell­ing as­sets to fund care. Putting your prop­erty into a trust can be a sen­si­ble op­tion in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, but it isn’t with­out risks. If you take this route the as­set is no longer in your le­gal pos­ses­sion so it isn’t part of your cap­i­tal, and you may not then be re­quired to use it to fund your care.

How­ever, it is cru­cial to seek tai­lored le­gal ad­vice to in­ves­ti­gate whether this is the best op­tion for you.

Bear in mind that schemes like th­ese are, in gen­eral, be­ing pro­moted by sales staff, not by legally qual­i­fied peo­ple.

A le­gal spe­cial­ist will help you with the le­gal com­plex­i­ties and risks, tak­ing into ac­count your fam­ily cir­cum­stances, health, and fi­nances. It is pos­si­ble for a lo­cal au­thor­ity to chal­lenge your ex­emp­tion from care fees un­der some con­di­tions, so you must be care­ful.

It may be the case that a trust ar­range­ment would suit you.

Th­ese schemes al­low you to gift own­er­ship of the farm dur­ing your life­time into a trust, giv­ing you the right to live in the prop­erty rent free for as long as you like. If you then need to move into care, your trus­tees can de­cide what hap­pens with the farm. You can draw up a doc­u­ment de­tail­ing your wishes, which your trus­tees can be guided by.

How­ever, there may be other op­tions avail­able to you which would be more ad­van­ta­geous in your cir­cum­stances.

JCP’s Life­time Plan­ning team is al­ways on hand for tai­lored le­gal sup­port. For spe­cial­ist le­gal ad­vice, call Sean Boucher on: 01267 266944 or: Sean. [email protected]­so­lic­i­

Welsh is spo­ken at JCP Solic­i­tors’ Car­marthen of­fice.

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